Medin Gebrezgier and his business partner Jonathan Santos pitched their product, Game Bag on Steve Harvey’s Funderdome TV show. The founders are banking their success on their invention—a stylish bag for carrying around basketballs. Black Enterprise contributor Brandon Andrews of Values Partnerships sat down with Gebrezgier after they appeared on the show.
(The Game Bag. Image: ABC/Lisa Rose)
Brandon Andrews: “Wake Up and Win” is a mantra for your company. What does it mean?
Medin Gebrezgier: “Wake Up and Win” means pushing yourself to positively impact the world as much as you can while having a blast!
How does the Game Bag help your customers “Wake Up and Win?” How did you come up with the idea?
The Game Bag makes carrying your basketball much easier. Throw it over your shoulder or clip it to your backpack! Now our customers can play the game they love with less hassle and a bit of a confident edge stepping on the court. This will help them “Wake Up and WIN!!!”
How did you feel pitching your business in the Funderdome?
It was absolutely nerve-racking until we stepped on stage. In that moment we knew all we had to do was OWN it. I feel we did that. The audience saw that and we WON!(Medin Gebrezgier, Steve Harvey, and Steve McLaughlin. Image: ABC/Lisa Rose)
Give us a post-show update. How do you plan to grow your business in 2017?
We are aiming to grow a full-fledged sports apparel company that will provide unique and valuable products that last. The Game Bag is the beginning; we are currently selling at basketball events around the country. We are making the product available for teams and leagues with logos and team colors.
Most importantly, the Wake Up and Win movement has begun and we believe it will change the world! Everyone who hears the message is changed. So we have a social media challenge available on our site in which people buy our Wake up and Win shirt then post a selfie doing something positive that makes them WAKE UP AND WIN! Join the challenge!
What do entrepreneurs like you need to succeed?
First of all, you need to have faith in God. Also, a support system or network that understands your goals and will help you; family and friends are good. They will keep you alive in the game when you are really down. Sometimes just hearing one of them say “keep going” or “I am proud of you” gives you the boost you need to continue.
Most importantly, you need to be working on something you believe in and enjoy. This helps you see the venture through to success. Even when my partners and I are completely broke we still enjoy each other’s company. Finally, a sense of humor that will help you put things in perspective and not take yourself so seriously is very important.