Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Entrepreneurs make strategic deposit in Black-owned bank

(TriceEdneyWire.com)—In a strategic effort to continue the movement of “Black-on-Black economics”±circulating dollars in the Black community to every extent possible—a group of Black male entrepreneurs led by the U.S. Black Chambers Inc. has opened accounts with the D.C.-based Black-owned Industrial Bank.

“In order for there to be a strong Black America, you must have strong Black businesses. In order for there to be strong Black businesses, we must have strong Black banks. So, from my standpoint, this is just a reciprocation for what Industrial Bank has done for our communities for the last 80 years,” said USBC CEO Ron Busby Sr. “There’s a trillion dollars of spending power in our community and we want to make sure that dollar stays within our community. Twenty-eight days a dollar stays in the Asian community, twenty-one days a dollar stays in the Hispanic community. In our community, our dollar leaves within six hours. We have got to change that…Until we have total control of how we circulate our money, our power and respect will continue to be marginalized.”

The 15 young men who gathered in the lobby of the historic Industrial Bank are members of the Black Male Entrepreneurship Institute, which is in partnership with the USBC. The meeting took on a celebratory mode as Industrial President/CEO Doyle Mitchell congratulated Busby for his influence.
“I’m just humbled at the presence of mind that you have displayed since you first came to town and started taking a leadership role with the Chamber of Commerce and came to Industrial Bank and made a $5,000 deposit. You put your money where your mouth is,“ said Mitchell. “Our only solution for us to get out of the situation that we are in as Black people is Black on Black economics. I love and appreciate the way you have taken that forward with this effort.”

Busby recalled that when he made that $5,000 deposit five years ago, he was intentionally choosing Black businesses in every area of his life. Buying a house at the time, he said he made sure he had a Black mortgage company, title company, home inspector, pest control company, and moving company. “Everybody that touched the transaction was a Black firm. The service was superior and the price was right.” Since then, Busby has become a leading advocate for support of Black banks and Black-owned businesses. In that regard, USBC has now launched an ongoing fundraising effort for the BMEI, co-founded by Randall Keith Benjamin, Jr. and Howard R. Jean, who accompanied the young entrepreneurs to the bank.

Source: http://newpittsburghcourieronline.com/2015/12/24/entrepreneurs-make-strategic-deposit-in-black-owned-bank/

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Homeless at Age 13 to a College Graduate: An Autobiography


In this autobiography, Anthony takes the reader through his harrowing past of ending up homeless at age 13 in Washington, D.C. after the death of his grandmother and escaping being murdered by his mother with a meat cleaver one night due to her habitual drug use. Despite not being able to attend high school because the need to feed and clothe himself at such a young age, he was able to earn his GED and leave a homeless shelter behind after getting accepted into a University in North Carolina in 2009. From being a 4.0 student and apart of numerous honor societies since freshmen year, Anthony prepares the reader to experience what it was like being homeless at age 13, to becoming one out of 14 homeless students in the country recognized by the United States of America's Interagency Council on Homelessness and being elected Student Body President of the university his junior year all while graduating Magna Cum Laude in the top percentile of his graduating class in year 2013. This is his story.

Friday, February 19, 2016

5 POWERFUL AFRICAN QUEENS WHO SHOULD ALWAYS BE ACKNOWLEDGED IN HISTORY


There have been several women who have risen to power and greatness in Africa. These women led troops to victory and protected their land. Here is a list of 5 incredible African leaders who gained the respect of both women and men during their reign.


Amina-the-Queen-of-Zaria

1.  Amina-The Queen of Zaria, Nigeria, in the 15th Century





Amina is credited as the architect who created the strong earthen walls around the city of Zaria, which was the prototype for the fortifications used in all Hausa states. Amina was 16 years old when her mother became queen, and she was given the traditional title of magajiya. Amina honed her military skills and became famous for her bravery and military exploits, as she is celebrated in song as “Amina daughter of Nikatau, a woman as capable as a man.”

ethio

2. Candace-The Empress of Ethiopia, 332



Candace is noted as being one of the strongest female military tacticians who had excellent skills at commanding a military. It has been told that King Alexander pulled back his army from attempting to invade Ethiopia during 332 BC because of the fear of the great African Empress.




Nef

3. Nefertiti-Queen of Ancient Kemet from 1292 BC to 1225 BC



Nefertiti along with her husband was responsible for the creation of a whole new religion which changed the ways of religion within Egypt. She reigned at what was arguably the wealthiest period of Ancient Egyptian history.



Makeda

4. Makeda-The Queen of Sheba, 960 B C



The story of Makeda is the most interesting because it entails the meeting between her and the biblical King Solomon. She has always been described as the epitome of beauty and power. She had a series of great achievements recorded in the Glory -of-Kings and the Kebar Nagast

Yaa

5. Yaa Asantewa-Ashanti Kingdom, Ghana



Yaa Asantewa exerted great power as Queen Mother and warrior queen of the Asante Empire. She was known as the woman who fearlessly fought against the British colonialist to her exile. Queen Mother Yaa Asantewa was the last woman ever to lead a major war against the colonist.

Source:

http://www.suppressedhistories.net/articles/africanqueens.html

Friday, February 12, 2016

Nas is like...half man, half venture capitalist


@nas

In the world of hip-hop, rappers turned businessmen — Shawn "Jay Z" Carter, Andre "Dr. Dre" Young and Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson being the most recognizable names — have become fairly commonplace. Nowadays, most artists have side ventures in music (of course), apparel, food and beverages. Yet however impressive their individual business prowess, few of them are able to call themselves full-fledged investors in Silicon Valley start-ups.

Count Nasir Jones, the multiplatinum-selling rapper better known by his stage moniker "Nas," among that elite group. The Queens, New York-bred artist who first hit the charts more than 20 years ago has quietly metamorphosed into a prolific angel investor — founding the venture capital firm QueensBridge Venture Partners. The firm (not to be confused with the hip-hop supergroup Jones fronted back in the '90s) funnels cash into start-ups as varied as health care, financial technology and Bitcoin.

QueensBridge, based in Los Angeles, invests in more than 40 start-ups across a range of sectors like financial technology, health care and music production. That has helped put Jones in the same strata as Ashton Kutcher and U2 frontman Bono as the tech world's most influential celebrity investors.

Read MoreChina's tech elite like a new asset class: Start-ups

So in a complex sector where billions are harvested — and cash hungry start-ups are born and buried in the blink of an eye — how does one of rap's living legends define his investment philosophy? Jones' answer is surprisingly simple.

"People. That is the absolute No. 1," Jones told CNBC via email. "I love to bet on great people that inspire me and make me think or see things differently."

A big part of that has to do with the management team, Jones added, which "makes a huge difference in the kinds of companies that will stick out to me."

Some of the companies that have grabbed the artist's attention include Silicon Valley darlings like Lyft, Dropbox, Coinbase and Tradesy, all of which are part of QueensBridge's investment bailiwick.

The ride-sharing service and online storage provider are among technology's biggest "unicorns" — private startups valued at least $1 billion — and are poised to become publicly-traded companies once the current downturn subsides. One of QueensBridge's latest investments is LANDR, a start-up that uses big data and artificial intelligence to produce music. LANDR has raised more than $8 million from various sources in the last few years, including Jones' firm.

Silicon Valley is a long way from the rough and tumble world of the New York City neighborhood that's interwoven in the lore of Jones' musical mythology. The 42-year-old artist, an autodidact who dropped out of school after the eighth grade, told CNBC his affinity for learning led him to technology investing.

"I've always wanted to be surrounded by the smartest people in the world, and didn't want to limit that to just music," he wrote to CNBC.

"I want to meet the people who are innovating in all different fields, and investing lets me do that," Jones said. "I meet the people that are changing the game across all different industries, and I get to be there first at the ground level. It's helped me to progress tremendously in my business."


"It's not easy to find the projects that are going to generate a return, and you have to invest your time and energy — not just your money — into researching the companies that are going to do big things."
-Nasir "Nas" Jones, Rapper and angel investor
Despite the recent downturn in the market, it's been a lucrative time to be a technology investor. Last year was a record for venture capital, with more than $128 billion finding their way to a range of companies worldwide, according to data from KPMG Enterprise and CB Insights. Funds for small start-ups, otherwise known as angel investments, have boomed into a $24 billion market by itself, the Center for Venture Research says.

QueensBridge is pitched by more than 100 companies per month, and invests in only a small fraction of them. Anthony Saleh, Jones' manager and partner at QueensBridge, told CNBC in a recent interview that the firm invests from $100,000 to $500,000 in a company, and has done more than 100 deals in the last six years.

Overall, QueensBridge invests in about 20 per year, Saleh said, adding that the firm is "much more top-down than bottom-up as investors. We concentrate on idea or the product, how big the market is and how the founding team is."

Read MoreTech firms face funding 'Hunger Games'

The due diligence process, Saleh told CNBC, can be at least as qualitative as quantitative. Investing in a potential company can include intangibles like "experience, grit, life motivation … those are keys to what we look at. Then we look at how those things kind of mesh."

Even in the freewheeling world of tech companies, corporate governance is a critical ingredient, he added.

"Nas' biggest fear is investing in a company" where the leadership may be unethical, Saleh told CNBC. "He tends to ask more questions about that."

Helping musicians make music

QueensBridge, along with a clutch of other firms such as Warner Music Group, Real Ventures and YUL Ventures, recently invested in LANDR, where CEO Pascal Pilon fused his training in software engineering with business.

LANDR is Pilon's second start-up, and the post music-production service helps master music for more than 300,000 musicians. Mastering is the final step in music production that happens after you record all of the parts and mix them together.

"We felt there was lots of room for musicians to embrace this thing," Pilon told CNBC in a recent interview.

Given the expense and cumbersome effort involved in creating music masters, "Some musicians have never felt the instant gratification of completing a song, and don't have the money to release more songs," and LANDR helps them get there.

That argument cuts to the heart of the notion embraced by Jones and his team at QueensBridge: that a start-up investment is more than just about financial gain.

"I think anyone can be involved with investing if they have the means, but I'd advise anyone who wants to invest to be careful. You have to study it," Jones said. "It's not easy to find the projects that are going to generate a return, and you have to invest your time and energy — not just your money — into researching the companies that are going to do big things."

Source: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/02/06/nas-is-likehalf-man-half-venture-capitalist.html

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

This Black Entrepreneur’s Tech Start-Up Could Disrupt the Entire Wireless Industry

Tens of thousands of music fans flocked to Philadelphia this Labor Day weekend for Budweiser’s patriotic “Made In America” festival, where a star studded line-up of musicians, from BeyoncĂ© to De La Soul, took center stage. The  explosion of live music spilling on to the Benjamin Franklin parkway, a mixture of iconic voices, electric beats and a roaring crowd, made for an unforgettable outdoor concert experience– but it was the sounds the audience could not hear, a flurry of tones too low for the human ear to detect, that set this year’s festival apart.

“As you approached the festival you received a welcome message. If you were near certain stages, you received reminders for certain events. If you were waiting too long in a certain area you got a free coupon for Budweiser,” says Rodney Williams, co-founder and CEO of LISNR, a mobile communications app that uses inaudible sound waves to send notifications to mobile devices. All of Budweiser’s targeted notifications during the festival, from pop-up coupons to Uber rides, were powered by his communications service .

Imagine shopping and receiving a coupon via text while standing in front of a particular product, or while at a sporting event, receiving a play-by-play of the action  you missed while away from your seat. When LISNR’s  “smart tones” are emitted in retail spaces, during live events and television broadcasts,  the ultrasonic signals trigger mobile devices, which then deliver relevant, hyper-targeted messages  based on the users location and activity. Brands like Budweiser, Live Nation, AT&T  and the Dallas Cowboys are using LISNR’s revolutionary “smart tone” technology to create one-of-a-kind, interactive fan experiences.

But the real revolution exists within communications technology, an industry that LISNR is poised to disrupt, potentially dethroning Bluetooth as the superior mechanism for wireless transmission.
“Everyone is familiar with Bluetooth, and Bluetooth is light  that you can’t see. LISNR is audio that you can’t hear,” Williams explains.

Both Bluetooth, and LISNR, transmit data across devices, but LISNR  does so faster, synchronized within 1/10 of a second, and without the need for any additional hardware. Recognizing this potential shift in wireless, from light to sound, CNBC recently ranked LISNR number twelve on its annual Disruptor 50 list.

“We were above Spotify,” Williams notes, citing CNBC’s recognition as his start-up’s greatest milestone to date. They were also listed above Snapchat.

Adding to his list of accomplishments, Williams also received an invitation to speak at the White House for the first annual Demo Day in August of 2015. President Obama hosted the event to showcase the role of entrepreneurship in the U.S. economy. Williams also won the “Gold Lion” at the International Festival of Creativity in Cannes.

Williams’ former role in brand management at Procter & Gamble provided him with unique insights about the challenges that brands face connecting with consumers.

“The holy grail of marketing is to create a technology that can touch consumers where they are,” he says.

Though Williams has always been “obsessed with technology”, his professional background is largely in branding. Williams earned  an MBA and a masters in marketing, both by the age of 24. Still, his knack for ideas was evident even at P&G,  where he says he was the first marketer to co-write a patent.

“I probably would have been on my thirtieth patent right now, if I was there,” he remarks.

But instead, Williams left P&G to create LISNR in 2012, with four other co-founders.  In three years, the startup has raised over $4 million in venture capital funding, a tremendous feat.  Less than 1 percent of venture capital backed start-ups are headed by African-American founders.

LISNR is headquartered in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio, an area undergoing an extensive economic revitalization, due in part to the presence of high-octane start-ups like LISNR.  It’s not a traditional location for a tech company but it has its perks.
“We have some advantages for the type of talent we can attract out of the Midwest and the cost we’re paying for that talent,” he says.

While his start-up serves as local economic engine,  Ohio is  a world away from Silicon Valley. That means the company is a world away from top-tier investors with the power and purse strings to turn LISNR into a global brand.

“It’s difficult to get in front of those investors,”he admits. “I’ve had investors tell me if you were to talk to [top-tier investors] you would be in a different place. The reality is it’s difficult.”

Williams is frank about the hurdles in his path, but he remains steadfast in his determination to propel LISNR to the forefront of mobile innovation.

“Anytime I raised any amount of money, I had to talk to 40 investors before I reached the three or four that invested,” he reflects. “I think if you really believes in the idea you should be prepared to talk to 100.”

His advice for budding entrepreneurs is simple.

“Move fast,” he says, “learn and grow.”

To keep up with Rodney Williams and LISNR, follow the start-up on Twitter and Instagram @LISNR.

Source: http://atlantablackstar.com/2015/09/25/black-entrepreneurs-tech-start-disrupt-entire-wireless-industry/

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Teen Mogul Opens Spa & Boutique Exclusively for Children, Tweens, and Teens

Passaic, NJ — Youth entrepreneur Essynce Moore began her career at just 6 years old. Now, as a teenager, she is currently the owner of Essynce Couture, LLC, Essynce Couture University (ECU), Essynce Couture Publishing, and the center of growing channels of branding that includes careers in motivational speaking, acting, writing, and fashion. Essynce is also the author of the recently released 6th Grade Middle School Chronicles.

She has proven that she has the “magic touch” once again as she prepares for the exclusive November 1st grand opening of her newest business venture, Essynce Couture Spa & Boutique with her 16 year-old cousin, Kalani Gomez. The Bomb Digz are special invited guests to the grand opening event.
The spa will specialize in trendy services for both boys and girls that include, but aren’t limited to manicures, pedicures, hair styles, private birthday celebrations, and more. Also, it will host powerful workshops that teach children about entrepreneurship, self-esteem, fashion, and real life experiences.

Essynce says she “works hard and plays even harder”, but says that “balance is necessary” when you are an honor student, actress and entrepreneur. She loves to recharge at the spa, or have a mobile spa party experience with her closest friends. Therefore, it is only right that she expands her brand to include an upscale oasis just for younger ones to enjoy a fun and rejuvenating spa experience, while checking out the latest fashion trends by Essynce Couture and other designers.

The spa is located at:
Essynce Couture Spa & Boutique
71 Market Street
Passaic, NJ 07055

For more details about the spa or her other ventures, visit www.essyncecouture.com

About Essynce Moore
Teenpreneur, children, tweens and teens stylist/fashion designer, actress, motivational speaker, and author Essynce Moore has been in various fashion shows, pageants, and karate tournaments. She was showcased in NY Fashion Week, and Atlanta Kids Fashion Week, featured in several interviews in magazines, TV, news, print, conferences, and is a member of the New York Youth Chamber of Commerce.



PRESS CONTACT:
Starr Barrett, Essynce Couture
(908) 977-6898
starrbarrett@gmail.com

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

7-Year-Old Natalie McGriff Wins $16,000 for Comic Book About Natural Hair

Natalie McGriff is the 7 year old author of The Adventures of Moxie Girl. Her new comic book tells the tale of a little black girl who hates her natural hair texture. After cleansing her Afro puffs with some magical shampoo, however, her textured coils take on super powers that have the ability to save Jacksonville, Florida’s public libraries from being eaten by monsters.

McGriff presented The Adventures of Moxie Girl at One Spark, the world’s largest crowdfunding festival designed to connect creators with the resources they need to bring their ideas to life. Her comic book was a win, as the young author took home a check for $16,423.69.

Angie Nixon, McGriff’s mother, helped to author the book upon realizing that her daughter suffered with self-esteem issues and hated reading. “‘She now realizes how powerful and awesome her hair is and that in order for her to write a cool book, she needs to read more books and learn different word,’” Nixon says.

McGriff is the winner of One Spark’s Education category. Over 530 projects reportedly competed at One Spark and 300,000 people attended.

At the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit in Atlanta, May 13-16, we will host several sessions that further explore the topics of entrepreneurship. Sessions like Finding Support for Your Business and Suppliers & Millennials Building Brands in the Digital Space may prove to be of benefit if your children have an entrepreneurial spirit like 7-year-old McGriff. The panels will discuss financing arrangements to jumpstart your business and how successful millennials landed partnerships with the world’s largest retailers, respectively.

Source: http://www.blackenterprise.com/event/natalie-mcgriff-comic-book-natural-hair/