Jennifer Shima had earned a Bachelor’s degree and was living in Youngstown, Ohio, but just couldn’t find a job. She got turned down from Dunkin Donuts, twice. She also tried unsuccessfully to get jobs in teaching and clerical work.
Shima decided to take that time of unemployment as an opportunity to found The Bacon, a matchmaking service for businesses and customers. She has two dozen businesses registered on the site so far.
As part of From the Ground Up, our weekly conversation with entrepreneurs, change-makers and other innovators in Louisville, I spoke with Shima at a coffee shop on Frankfort Avenue. She talks about her days in Youngstown and how hard times there led her to The Bacon.
Listen to our conversation in the audio player above.
On living in Youngstown:
“Youngstown is one of those communities that has a lot of spirit and a lot of heart that has fallen on hard times. A lot of the industry has left and things like that and it makes opportunity hard to come by. We actually started our company in Youngstown. Very, very small; just a test run. Because we wanted to see if we could create opportunity and help people to pursue their passions in spite of whatever is going on in their lives or communities.”
On what she’s sacrificed to launch The Bacon:
“What I’m doing, I feel, is an investment in myself and other people. Anytime you give someone the opportunity to do what they really, really love, that’s catching. When you wake up in the morning and you’re passionate about what you’re doing and you want to get out of bed and continue to push and it makes you happy and enlivens something in your soul. It’s something that I feel every day and I’m trying to help other people feel is as well.”