Editor’s Note: Sonja Ebron is the founder and CEO of Courtroom5.  This post is one portion of a WRAL TechWire series on gratitude, published in November 2021.  

DURHAM – I try to stay in a place of gratitude.  It’s just easier to make progress that way, because mindset is everything.  Positive mindset makes purposeful progress.

I celebrate my health.  It’s a privilege I recognize more and more as I age.  I’m grateful for the use of all my senses and the ability to get up and take a walk whenever I want.

I celebrate my family and the health and welfare of close relatives.  I’ve learned to be a better human through long relationships with people I cherish, and I give thanks for them daily.

I’m grateful for the work I’m privileged to do every day, building software to help people represent themselves in court when they aren’t able to hire a lawyer.  I celebrate the good hardworking people with whom I work, all passionately committed to our justice mission.

Durham legal tech startup Courtroom5 is 2021 Founders of Color Showcase finalist

I celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit here in North Carolina and in the U.S. more broadly.  My work is made possible by our nation’s commitment to fostering innovation in all areas of life.

As a Triangle-area entrepreneur, I am grateful for the ecosystem we’ve grown here.  There are resources for people just thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, as well as for those preparing to sell their third or fourth company.  There are resources available for entrepreneurs opening a restaurant or a barbershop, and for those creating the next unicorn tech startup.  I’m especially grateful for the work of NC IDEA and the Center for Entrepreneurial Development, for Helius and other nonprofits incubating small businesses, and for HQ Raleigh and American Underground.  I’m grateful for political leaders who recognize the value of a strong entrepreneurial culture.

It’s not widely recognized, but we also have ample sources of capital here in the Triangle, and I’m grateful for that.  Some of it is quiet; you may not know these organizations and individuals exist until they want you to.  But good ideas can find funding at early stages right here in North Carolina, whether it’s debt finance, angel investors, or venture capital.  There’s no need to visit Silicon Valley, Boston, or Austin to launch the next billion-dollar business.

Black-owned Courtroom5 is one of 5 firms to receive backing from women’s investment community SheEO

There’s also tremendous talent in the Triangle, from software engineers to business managers.  Three of the best universities in the country are right here. We have a dynamic and genteel culture that is drawing the best people from around the country and around the world.  I’m grateful that Courtroom5 has been able to source our team from North Carolina talent. We are confident our future hires are being groomed by local ventures at all stages.

I am grateful that I can find the essential elements of any successful startup—an entrepreneurial ecosystem, ample capital, and talented people—right here in the Triangle.