A Humble Beginning
CandidWorks was born during the 2008-09 Sub-Prime Mortgage Crisis. As a result of the fallen economy, founder Nick Brown was unable to continue funding his higher education, and returned home from college his freshman year. Only a year later, news broke on the BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster. As an able bodied construction worker at the time, images of devastation on the Gulf became a call to action, and he set his sights on traveling to the coast to do his part in the clean-up. After being approved for time-off and carefully planning a budget for food, gas, and lodging; however, he came to find it wasn't his living expenses that would hold him back - only his student loan debt. Watching as thousands of paid temp workers were shipped-in to facilitate the clean-up, and finding his student debt had not only prevented him from completing college, but also volunteering for the causes he cared about, he set his sights on how to reverse the impact the cost of college has on our ability to provide for ourselves and others. From the wake of the BP Oil Spill to the beginning of the Student debt crisis came the idea for CandidWorks: an innovative new platform that provides students and graduates the ability to source funding to their student debt, so they can give back to the causes that impact us all. Through nearly a decade of hard work, Nick made it back to college in 2017 to complete a BS and MS where he teamed with the VCU da Vinci Center and Unstuck Labs Start-Up Accelerator to make that dream a reality.
Nicholas Brown; Founder & CEO
CandidWorks Founder; Business Strategy at Genworth
VCU; MS of Product Innovation; BS of Mass Comm
Nicholas is an experienced entrepreneur and project management professional with a history of successful product/service launches across multiple industries. Nick has a passion for improving our humanitarian and environmental conditions, and founded CandidWorks in 2019 with the mission of making higher education more accessible to those with limited means while providing support to the causes they care about.
Wa’il Ashshowwaf, Partner & Strategist
CEO and Cofounder of Unstuck Labs; Founder of Reyets
Harvard; Ex. Ed – Strategy, Georgetown; MS of Business Leadership, CSU BS of MKTG
Wa’il is an impact driven leader, entrepreneur, tech guru, UI/UX designer, and creative startup strategist. His professional experience spans a range of industries including roles at Walt Disney World, Pepsi, HSBC, and cofounding numerous startups. As of Fall 2019, Wa’il and Unstuck Labs partnered with CandidWorks to accelerate the business and tech development of the current CandidWorks user interface.
Charles Castelly, Finance & Partnership
Director of Business and Partnerships at Unstuck Labs
Mary Washington; BS of Leadership and Management
Charles Castelly has a long history of service spanning from his role in the military, to providing business development assistance for over 50 start-ups through his work at Unstuck Labs. Charles is an experienced entrepreneur, and with extensive experience in business finance and expansion. Since partnering with CandidWorks this Fall, Charles has been integral in model development and networking.
CandidWorks is a current partner of UnStuck Labs in Rosslyn Virginia. Unstuck Labs is a multidimensional start-up accelerator that assists in taking big ideas to a deliverable level. Unstuck Labs is a digital agency that specializing in providing companies with a variety of technical services, including website and mobile app development. And the founders are entrepreneurs and dreamers in their own right: They believe in, and invest in other products and companies, as well.
Virginia Commonwealth University da Vinci Center
CandidWorks is a current partner of Virginia Commonwealth University’s da Vinci Center. The VCU da Vinci Center provides cutting edge, innovation-based programs focused on merging the study of arts, business, and engineering into real world problem solving and entrepreneurship. The VCU da Vinci Center has been a support platform for entrepreneurial education, networking, and planning for our projects early stage development.
Become a partner in supporting the social, environmental, and educational causes you care about.
As a start-up focused on social impact, we are constantly looking to connect with any and all entities who are interested in our social, environmental, and educational improvement. If you are part of a charity / non-profit that could use support - a commercial venture looking to give back and support the community while supporting education – or even have a bright new idea for service, contact CandidWorks at CandideWorks@gmail.com! We look forward to hearing from you, and, as always – wish you and all those you impact the best in all your endeavors!