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Episode 39 – Gary Bredow of Start Up

Gary Bredow
Posted: October 10, 2019 at 6:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Not Just About Business, About the Person

During the recession of 2008, Gary Bredow saw his town of Detriot start to shut down but he also saw something else, businesses surviving. He decided to investigate this further to see why certain businesses were making it in an economy where others were failing. Learning their reasons for success inspired him to share their stories with the world and light a spark for anyone wondering if they could make a business work. That's where the vision for the show Start Up came from. “When you eliminate excuses it shows you that it is possible for anyone,” Gary says, “and that's what we try to do on the show.”

Gary had experience making video and documentaries and had the idea to do a local access show, but when he took it to PBS they thought it could be larger. They sent it to PBS Plus and within a few weeks, they had an agreement for national distribution. Although this was surprising, Gary knew he was up for it. PBS felt like the right space to land. They gave him the space to learn and then to have control. He feels strongly about remaining educational and inspirational and says, “network television truly does not have an interest in inspirational programming.” He knows that PBS has high standards and that fits.

Gary and his team at Start Up love to focus on small-town America. They do that through the TV show Start Up and they have a book called Start Up Stories that will be out next spring. They are also launching a podcast called Before the Business, about the struggles and hardships businesses have had to go through to get where they are.

Gary admits he still has doubts. His advice to himself and others is to not be worried about everything, calm down and take it easy. He feels like this has been a journey but when he is intentional about it he knows it makes a difference. Take a walk. Take a breath. “As entrepreneurs, we all feel that [stress] when you don't have the security of a 9 to 5 job but on the flip side there are cons to having someone have control over you,” he says.

Gary's mother was an entrepreneur and he remembers watching this in his youth. His mother had a hair salon and he watched his mom have freedom and she enjoyed her work. He knew he wanted to make people smile and laugh. He was an early enrtrepreneur and sold golf balls he collected from a nearby golf course. He remembers learning at an early age, “if I work, I make money, and I can have what I want,” he says.

Gary feels his most worthwhile risk was to turn down a job with a media company for a 6 figure salary to chase the Start Up dream. His wife believed in him and encouraged him to follow his passion and live his dream. Motivated by this he created an app that then supported his family while he created Start Up. It worked out, “sometimes you just need to take a deep breath and calm down, and it will appear before you.”

When asked about what advice he'd give anyone considering their own business he said, “be honest with yourself on how you handle challenges. Not everyone can be an entrepreneur, not everyone can emotionally handle being a business owner. If it's going to ruin and sink you then this isn't for you.” He advises us all to realize it's not just the end result, it's the journey.

Season 7 is available nationwide on PBS World Channel starting this month. Oswald Service is episode 7 of season 7 and will air on November 24th. Over the air channel 10.4, Sparklight 046 and broadcast TV channel 10.4.


For more information on the TV show Start Up, check out the website at

Thank you to Disruptive Productions for editing the show. Check out the website and see what James can do for you and your business at