We had the good fortune of connecting with Mike Simpson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mike, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I would love to share with you! When I began HERO Kids Sports, my thought process was to bring fun, affordable, organized sports programming to preschools and elementary schools. In particular, for schools or areas in our community that do not have or are unable to provide sports programming or physical education to kids ages 2-12 years old. The values I learned from my experience in participating in sports growing up were life changing – from the physical skill aspect, to the mentorship I received from coaches and the camaraderie with my teammates. I believe all kids should be provided the opportunity to learn and play sports in an encouraging, fun, safe environment. This is the belief that I created HERO.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
HERO Kids Sports is an innovative specialized sports program for children ages 2-12 years old. We teach the fundamentals of 11 different sports and the values of teamwork, supporting one another, sharing and trying our best! Our unique multi-sport program encourages and inspires children to feel confident in learning a variety of sports from a young age, one step at a time! Before the impact of the pandemic much of our programming took place in partnership with preschools, elementary schools and local organizations. We still operate our school based programming, of course, though our team has tapped into our innovative process to create new, safe sports programming to serve the current needs of our community. Our team has curated sports options for families that follow state and local guidelines while also providing some normalcy for our kids right now. For instance, our team will bring our 11-sport program and all of the bells and whistles to your very own backyard or local park maintaining safety while also having a ton of HERO fun! We’re a start-up and the relationships that we build and the small successes along the way are what makes a difference for us. The relationships we have are very important to us and the foundation in which HERO is built upon such as kindness, dependability, communication and the ability to connect with the people and kids we work with are hopefully why families want their kids to be a HERO. The behind the scenes operations of HERO are of equal importance to the energy, enthusiasm and knowledge that we bring on the field. We know that our coaching and communication are both a direct reflection of how people feel their children will be taken care of when they choose HERO. We put our heart and soul into this business because we know that our families are giving us theirs by entrusting their children into our program. The meticulous curation of our program and our coaching techniques are absolutely what sets us apart from your traditional sports program – we meet kids where they are at, ensuring that they feel comfortable through our energy and goofiness while we learn important skills as a team – emphasizing the social and emotional components of learning into the process as well. It brings us so much joy when we hear from a parent that their child now loves sports because of how FUN and encouraging their experience is learning with HERO. How did I get to where I am and was it easy? I believe HERO is where it is because we believe in our mission – we believe in bringing the opportunity to play sports to every kid and that every kid has the ability to play sports. If you believe in what you’re doing, you will give it all you have to make it successful. It hasn’t been easy and every day I learn something new, which is the exciting part of a start-up! I have to be willing to take risks. Every day we’re taking risks – it’s just knowing when to regroup and change your course to a new path that will hopefully lead you to a success. Building a team of people who are reliable and communicative, innovative and can grow and change with the path of a start-up business is imperative to our success at HERO. And bringing a program to our families, schools and community that people trust in, knowing we will show up, on time, with all that we have in us to coach a high quality, fun program to their kiddos is invaluable for people and that’s what we do at HERO.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
A great place to kick it off is Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater – good music and incredible views – this is the spot! Hit the Rino district for captivating art murals, tasty restaurants, and craft breweries. Perhaps we would stop by Finn’s Manor – an indoor/outdoor venue with several food trucks and bars to choose from and when the night is right, a live DJ will be on set. Working Class may be on the itinerary – a cozy spot made out of shipping crates with unique plates. Rino borders downtown so it’s an easy flow on into Union Station, which was beautifully refurbished a few years back. Denver is known for its fantastic green parks that lookout to the city or out to the mountains. A lot of Denverites call it “going to the beach”! I like to pack a lunch, blanket, games and have a stellar picnic with good friends. I would also recommend checking out LoHi, which is another great neighborhood that looks out to the city filled with unique restaurants. If you are wearing some dunks, stopping by the basketball court where people are always throwing down some pick up basketball is always a good time – (when safe to do so of course). End the week with a trip to one of our rad mountain towns we have here in Colorado – Breckenridge is just a cool 1.5hrs drive. With over 300 sunny days per year and 9,600 ft of elevation you can’t go wrong with checking Breck off your bucket list #GoBreck. We live in a beautiful city with incredible opportunities and adventures within arms reach!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The families, schools and organizations in which we partner absolutely deserve recognition in our HERO story as it is our community partnerships and the families we serve that have allowed us to bring HERO Kids Sports to so many diverse communities and children. As I shared earlier, I created HERO out of the vision and belief that all kids should have the opportunity to learn and play sports in an encouraging, fun, safe environment. It is the people who believe with us that deserve recognition in our story. My HERO team certainly deserves a shoutout as everything we do, we do as a team. Every class we coach, we teach our kids the values of teamwork, which is one of the core values that HERO is built upon. We achieve our greatest success as a team rather than separate entities. I have a pretty awesome team — check us out on our website (www.HEROKidSports.com). I have said it from the beginning – I will always shoutout to my family, they are a big part of my life and of the journey in starting HERO.
Conor Chandler Simpson, CEO, ‘Of The Notion’