Field Center’s ‘Lunch & Learn’ panel features entrepreneur Chris Alvarez

May Khin

The Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship hosted Transcendent Enterprise owner Chris Alvarez in its latest installment of its “Lunch & Learn” panel series.

In a virtual panel on Oct. 19 titled “Learning How to Keep Your Entrepreneur Sword Sharp,” Field Center Program Coordinator Gary Smalls welcomed the guest. Alvarez shared tips on entrepreneurship and rapid growth of technology in the video production industry.

Transcendent Enterprise is a corporate video production company that Alvarez founded. Where he is the managing director, working with major brands on video production.

“It was always a dream of mine to have an office in the town,” Alvarez said. “As a minority owned production company, I really haven’t seen a lot of other business owners of color, especially having office space in the city so it was always a dream of mine to kind of have that identity.”

In addition to corporate video production, the company produces videos for conferences, healthcare and medical settings, higher education, nonprofit groups and virtual events. Transcendent Enterprise also offers editing, livestreaming and photography services.

Since its founding in 2004, the company has worked with institutions such as Carnegie Hall, Columbia University, Mount Sinai, New York University and the United Nations. He also worked with renowned brands such as Inc. and Meta Platforms Inc.- owned Facebook.

Transcendent Enterprise’s slogan is “Corporate Video Doesn’t Have to Be Boring.”

It brings a new style of marketing to the corporate world, specializing in a range of media productions through emerging technology.

“I’ve always had a knack for technology with media tools and for some reason, it came to me easily,” Alvarez said. “That’s kind of how I chose to go into the media business. Since [I was] 15 years old, I started doing media production at my church. This was in the ‘90s.”

Alvarez said that seeing offices close during the pandemic taught him not to pursue risks that may close down a business.

“From having the office in Manhattan, you get to see a lot of businesses open and those businesses close,” Alvarez said. “I never took risks that would enable me to close a business. I had to have skills to enable, to get my business off the ground in order to be here today.”

He highlighted risk evaluation as one characteristic that an entrepreneur should obtain during unstable times in business.

“I am also in situations where clients are not paying as fast as they used to,” Alvarez said. “It is about understanding the landscape, watching risks while making certain decisions.”

Alvarez further highlighted the importance of risk assessment while running his business — emphasizing how he made certain decisions in investing capital on some clients who asked to put out thousands of dollars in risks before an outcome.

“I could’ve tried to work on the job and that could’ve hurt me on so many other occasions, such as allocating capital to my payroll and other things to keep the business going,” Alvarez said.

“In a business like mine, things are changing,” Alvarez said. “Technology is changing. The needs for clients are changing. Expectations are changing. You have to be able to offer the latest services, which is one of our models, and be able to be adaptable and flexible to the market, because the market is not fair.”

Alvarez said the event title is just like the movie “Bullet Train,” in which actor Brad Pitt was fought with swords. He made a connection to how to keep the entrepreneurial sword sharp.

“In business, you’re going to go through so many challenges, and your mind has to be sharpened up to basically cut through any challenges that’s basically in front of you,” Alvarez said. “Some of the swords that are very important [are] being able to be very adaptive, be able to adjust to whatever is in front of you and kind of go from there.”

Additionally, he highlighted the importance of having mentors and networking with them in order to land opportunities.

Alvarez said using search engine optimization is very useful in starting up a business. That way, potential clients see the company appear prominently on search engine results, and they may contact the company for work.

He shared some of the literature and resources he reads and listens to on a daily basis to keep himself educated on the latest updates.

He recommended The Wall Street Journal and Morning Brew for keeping updated with financial and business news. He also said he listens to them on Audible, while driving to work every morning.

Alvarez is currently working with the National Urban League on video production for a long-form animation.