Women in Tech Tampa Bay: April Caldwell, CEO of fayVen
In celebration of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, Embarc Collective is excited to introduce you to Women in Tech Tampa Bay — a content series profiling women who are building at Embarc Collective and how they’ve built their careers.
Meet more women tech founders and investors across the state of Florida here.
Meet April Caldwell, CEO at fayVen.
What pivotal points in your career led to your current role?
Serving in the Air Force for ten years really helped me develop as a leader — it taught me how to serve selflessly, work with integrity, and communicate with others in order to achieve a mutual goal. I believe that the military helped me fine tune skills and forced me to step out of my comfort zone time after time, creating the desire, confidence, and assurance to know that I could keep stepping out, without worrying about the specifics of HOW all the time.
My first business was owning and operating a gourmet popcorn company, because we made our popcorn from home, I had to get creative with where I could sell it. Farmers’ markets just weren’t cutting it and decided to start going to local businesses to see if they’d allow me to sell out front of their stores… from those experiences and talking with other vendors like me, fayVen was born — a dual-sided marketplace for vendors and venues to connect.
What do you wish you had known earlier in your career?
I wish I had known that entrepreneurship was a possibility for me sooner… once I decided that I was going to start a business, all these amazing resources started pouring into my life. I realized that there was this whole other world full of entrepreneurs just like me, willing to share their knowledge, experiences, and resources. I wish I knew that there was an alternate to the corporate world, the 9–5. I feel like I lost a few years off of my life doing things that didn’t serve me — ultimately, they led me to where I’m at now, so I know those years served a purpose… I just wish that I had figured that out sooner.
What communities, networks, or resources have helped you build in your career?
SO MANY! I have such an amazing network… I started with SCORE, SEED SPOT, Bunker Labs, IVMF, InLab at HCC, Action Zone, TWO39 Labs, SCF Incubator, FGCU, AMSE, Embarc Collective, Synapse, Babe Crafted, TheVentureCity, FAVOB, Veterans Florida, JULO Strategy, 1 Million Cups, ECC, WBEC, TBWBC, TBBJ, Tampa Bay Inno Business Made Simple University, MasterClass, the list goes on and on!
What is one piece of tactical advice that you would give to another woman considering your career path?
Starting a business isn’t for everyone. I would tell someone getting started on the same path as me, that resiliency and tenacity are imperative to becoming an entrepreneur. If you don’t have the heart to be told no or turned down around every corner… this may not be for you. I call it the entrepreneuracoaster because there are so many highs, lows, twists, and unexpected turns. It’s exhilarating but it can also be very stressful and disappointing at times. You really need to do a heart-check before you start down this path that is taxing on your time, energy, finances, relationships, etc. But once you decide that it is for you — go ALL in!
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