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The Homeless Entrepreneur: Jason Mercado, CEO of JUSTCOOKIES

  • Broadcast in Entertainment
Mixed Race Radio

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What's Your Recipe for Success? "When people taste Jason Mercado's cookies, they often say the budding entrepreneur should have started selling them a long time ago.

That sentiment is not lost on Mercado, a Salem, N.J. native who baked his first batch of Toll House when he was 11 and never stopped cooking for his family. Before food blogs and Epicurious there was only The Food Network, and in the mid-to-late 1990s, Mercado watched all the time, learning as much as his mother's kitchen would allow.

But something happened on the way to cookie paradise. Mercado eschewed culinary school – he got stuck on the more complex math – and followed some friends to Austin, TX, spending 17 years working the restaurant circuit and the party scene, developing a self-described functional drug addiction that saw him spend time in jail and drain his modest finances.

It wasn't until Mercado returned north to Philadelphia, where he was laid off from Starbucks, that he was homeless, and at long last, an entrepreneur.

Mercado's circuitous path to Philadelphia and business ownership isn't a tale of entrepreneurship's power to overcome homelessness, as tempting as that might be. Rather, it's a testament to Mercado's fortitude and Philadelphia's entrepreneurial ecosystem, which he took advantage of at every opportunity to lift himself up the ladder of redemption.

Now Jason is dedicated to teaching other homeless individuals baking skills that can translate into real jobs and real opportunities. You can be a part of Jason's success by ordering cookies from Just Cookies or joining any one of his campaigns to help him raise money for business and marketing expenses.

You can Learn more about Jason AND his cookies by friending him on Facebook! Look for JUST COOKIES!