Young local business owner Caine Monroy shares story with Marshall class
With these words, professor David Belasco of the Lloyd Greif CenterÂ for Entrepreneurial Studies introduced Caine Monroy, the youngestÂ speaker the center has ever hosted for his Wednesday night class,Â Entrepreneurial Mindset: Taking the Leap.
Nine-year-old Monroy stars in a video by filmmaker Nirvan Mullick thatÂ features his homemade cardboard box arcade in the auto parts andÂ salvage yard owned by his father, George, called Smart Parts onÂ Mission Road in Los Angeles. The film went viral on April 9.
Belasco invited Monroy to speak about his startingÂ the arcade.
âCaine is the embodiment of fun and perseverance. He didnât do it toÂ make money, he did it to have fun and give people an experience,âÂ Belasco said. âIf you give people a great experience, they will come.â
The roughly 10-minute film, which now has more than 7 million viewsÂ online, outlines Monroyâs journey to success. He set up the cardboardÂ arcade outside his fatherâs shop in June where he sat outside everyÂ day waiting for customers. Finally, in August, Mullick walked into theÂ shop to get his car fixed and became Monroyâs first customer.
âCaine had spend the entire summer setting up this experience, and IÂ was the guy who to got to experience Caine acting out everything heÂ made,â Mullick said. âIt brought me back to my childhood and inspiredÂ me to make this film.â
Mullick decided to plan a flash mob to bring customers to MonroyâsÂ arcade. He made a Facebook event, and eventually, Monroyâs storyÂ appeared on the homepage of the content-sharing website Reddit. The success of theÂ flash mob and Monroyâs business became the premise of his film.
Before posting the video online, Monroyâs family and Mullick set up aÂ scholarship fund for Caine. The money raisedÂ will also go towards funding creativity and entrepreneurship for kids, Mullick said.Â The foundation has now raised almost $200,000, and the GoldhirschÂ Foundation has agreed to match the donations dollar-for-dollar up toÂ $250,000.
âIt was an insane, incredible, phenomenal response, and we wereÂ unprepared for it,â Mullick said.
Monroy said that his idea for the arcade came when his father wasÂ throwing away boxes at his business.
âI could make something out of them,â Monroy said. âI just cut them up.â
Monroyâs personal qualities have made him aÂ successful entrepreneur with a bright future ahead because, âhe likesÂ to sell, he likes to satisfy customers, and heâs creative,” Mullick said.
Monroyâs father said he has learned about the power of theÂ internet from the experience.
âI have like three friends on my Facebook. [Caine] has 107,000,âÂ George Monroy said. âHeâs making more money than I am.”
Monroy hopes to be âsomeone that invents games,â when he grows up, he said. Monroyâs drive to have fun is what has made hisÂ story so popular, Mullick said.
âThatâs whatâs exciting about Caineâs story,” he said. “Itâs inviting everybody to play.â