Unplanned hurdles and setbacks can cause even the most self-assured entrepreneurs to doubt their talents. Regardless of their sector, specialty, product, or service, there are certain fundamental concepts that each entrepreneur can use in daily business life to rise to the top and stay there. Many business masters have given us the example of being the finest entrepreneurs worldwide, and among such people is John Shen.
Shen immigrated to the United States and has since brought in hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign direct investment while reinvesting in American companies. Since 2020, his companies Sunstone Management and American Lending Center have been named on the INC 5000 list of the “Fastest Growing Private Companies in America” based on sales growth. In terms of revenue growth rate in 2021 and 2022, these two businesses have also been included on the Financial Times list of “Fastest Growing Companies in the Americas,” beating out the likes of Facebook, Tesla, Uber, Airbnb, and other digital titans. In 2017, he was named the Coleman Report’s SBA 504 Lender of the Year, a national award in the banking sector. He received the “Albert Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award” in 2022. Many aspiring entrepreneurs have approached Shen and inquired as to how he achieved success. Some, but not all, are aware that he is an immigrant to America, having arrived only three decades ago. People are amazed that he owns and operates five businesses simultaneously and want to know how he made it possible despite the obstacles and challenges.
He wrote a book, “The Era of Parallel Entrepreneurship” to share his entrepreneurial path and to provide his ideas and advice to anybody who aspires to be an entrepreneur or is in the process of establishing a new business enterprise. Throughout Shen’s 30-year career, he has learned how to build and manage profitable businesses, as well as how to recover from failure. In the book, Shen has shared his life story with everyone in the hopes of inspiring people. He wants to share the path he has been through so that people can do the same if they so wish to become successful entrepreneurs and businesspersons. Shen earned his bachelor’s degree in commercial law from Peking University in 1992 and a master’s degree in statistics and decision sciences from Duke University in 1996. He was appointed as an economic development commissioner by Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia in April 2019 and presently serves on the Innovation Council of Irvine launched by Irvine Mayor Farrah N. Khan. His objective is to share his life experiences and encourage the rising interest in entrepreneurship in the United States.
Over the last two decades, the number of entrepreneurs has increased significantly, not just in the United States, but globally. The COVID-19 pandemic fueled millions of people’s desire to quit their jobs and create their businesses either due to high unemployment rates or because of new and unique business opportunities. The need to tackle hundreds of global issues necessitates innovation, which is the job of a new class of entrepreneurs that Shen wishes to encourage.
Shen’s life as the CEO of American Lending Center (ALC), and Chairman of the Board of all five companies under his leadership is challenging, stimulating, and exciting. He works very hard with his executive teams to scope out new opportunities for their companies, each of them bringing new and innovative ideas. They share a collective commitment to service, community, and innovation.
However, Shen has developed a strong passion for helping new entrepreneurs develop and grow their businesses in the earliest stages. Since 2018, he has been building unique partnerships with local governments and academic institutions that teach innovation and entrepreneurship to grow startup communities. Sunstone Management began a multi-year partnership with California State University Long Beach (CSLB) in 2019 for its historic pitch competition program, now known as the “Sunstone Innovation Challenge.” This sponsorship cleared the stage for two groundbreaking yearly initiatives, “Sunstone CSU Startup Launch” and “CSU Demo Day powered by Sunstone,” to debut in 2022. Thus, Shen has maintained all his businesses with dedication and always creates innovation in whatever he does.
Entrepreneurship has been shown to have a positive influence on today’s global issues. Each of us may affect social change by developing and applying our abilities and skills. John Shen has created the best example of how people can think and achieve big, especially in entrepreneurship.
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