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/

Monday, November 23, 2015

Chess for Success: Using an Old Game to Build New Strengths in Children and Teens


Maurice Ashley immigrated to New York from Jamaica at the age of twelve, only to be confronted with the harsh realities of urban life. But he found his inspiration for a better life after stumbling upon a chess book and becoming hypnotized by the game. He would eventually break the chess world's color lines by becoming an International Grandmaster in 1999.

Ashley realized that chess strategies could be used as an educational tool to help children avoid the pitfalls often associated with growing up. In this book, he serves up compelling anecdotes about how chess has positively affected young players. He also offers tips on technique, how to make the game fun for children of all ages and levels, and how to overcome the myth that chess isn't cool. Through his guidance, readers will understand how chess strategies can improve a child's mental agility, creativity, and problem-solving skills. Chess for Success is a much-anticipated resource for parents, teachers, counselors, youth workers, and chess lovers.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Maurice Ashley: INTERNATIONAL GRANDMASTER

Maurice Ashley lives his passion. Through his love for chess, he not only made history as the first African-American International Grandmaster in the annals of the game, but he has translated his love to others as a three-time national championship coach, two-time author, ESPN commentator, iPhone app designer, puzzle inventor, and motivational speaker. He is now working as a Joint Fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center and MIT’s Media Lab to bring the benefits of chess and other classic games to a wider educational audience through the innovative use of technology.

Maurice has traveled the world as an ardent spokesperson of the character-building effects of chess. Coming from the rough and tough streets of Kingston, Jamaica and Brooklyn, New York, Maurice has tirelessly shared his compelling story with young people in places such as the crime-ridden neighborhoods of Detroit, the townships of Cape Town, South Africa and the poverty-stricken jungles of Belize. His book, Chess for Success (Broadway Books, 2005) crystallizes his vision of the many benefits of chess, particularly for at-risk youth, and he continuously spreads his message of living one’s dream to universities, businesses, chess clubs and non-profit organizations around the globe.

His app, Learn Chess! With Maurice Ashley, has been sold in over 30 countries, and he has received multiple community service awards from city governments, universities, and community groups for his work. His drive and enthusiasm always have him on the go. In the fall of 2011, Maurice toured six Caribbean nations to bringing chess, books, and technology to kids in the region.

WHAT MAURICE DOES

  • Speaking Engagements
  • Teaching Life Strategy
  • Chess Strategy Teaching
  • Tournament Host

Friday, October 30, 2015

Top 10 Minority Scholarships

Being a minority poses certain challenges that other individuals might not have to endure. When it comes to education, poverty, geographic region, and access to tutors and other opportunities may limit the potential for some.

In the United States and around the world there are private and public organizations that strive to provide more and better opportunities for minority students. One way to help these young individuals achieve their dreams is by helping them further their education. That’s where scholarships can be incredibly important.

There are many different scholarships available (more than 3 million in total), between private universities and colleges and those for which only a select few are even eligible. For minorities, whether they are African-American, Native American, or another heritage, earning a scholarship can be the difference between success in life and watching those dreams pass them by.

Here are the top 10 minority scholarships that are available on the national level (meaning they can be applied for by any minority, regardless of which state they live or where they plan to attend college).

National Achievement Scholarship Program.

This scholarship is made available through National Merit Scholarship Corporation. This organization has been a consistent leader in providing scholarships for thousands of students through the years and offers this particular one to deserving and ambitious Black American youth.

The main goal of the National Achievement Scholarship Program is to “increase educations opportunities for academically accomplished Black American students and encourage colleges to broaden their recruiting efforts.”

This particular scholarship is transitioning to the Achievement Capstone Program in 2016. Black American students interested in this scholarship need to be highly achieved in school with strong community service and ambition.

Learn more about this scholarship and its future through National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

CHCI Scholarship Program.

This scholarship is available for Latino college students. It is designed to help provide critical financial assistance to Latino students who are already enrolled in college. In order to qualify, the student needs to be in good academic standing and have a history of performing public service oriented activities throughout their communities.

The awards are: $1,000 for a community college or AA/AS granting institution, $2,500 for a 4 year academic institution, and $5,000 for a graduate level institution.

The scholarships are intended to provide financial support for tuition, room and board, books, and other direct educational purposes.

To learn more about this scholarship, visit CHCI.

Ford Foundation Fellowship Programs.

The purpose of the Ford Foundation Fellowship Programs is to help increase diversity in the nation’s colleges and universities. In order to achieve this, a more racially diverse student body is necessary.

There are numerous scholarships for minorities available to students through this program at all levels of college careers. In order to qualify, the student must be a legal citizen or resident of the United State, show proof of superior academic achievement, and be committed to teaching and research at the college or university level.

Learn more about these scholarship opportunities through the Ford Foundation.

The Hispanic Scholarship Fund.

This organization is dedicated to providing financial support to Hispanic students throughout the United States. In order to qualify, the student needs to be of Hispanic descent, either directly or through family lineage.

There are different scholarships for students to consider applying for, so any Hispanic student wishing to take advantage of this opportunity should check out the Hispanic Scholarship Fund website directly.

The Korean American Scholarship Foundation.

Students who have Korean ancestry may be eligible for any one of the scholarships available through this organization. The Foundation offers private scholarships for Korean American students, focuses on promoting community and civic service among students, and nurtures pride in Korean cultural heritage and tradition.

In order to qualify, the student needs to show a clear financial need for assistance, possess strong scholastic achievement, have recommendation letters, compose an essay, and show extracurricular activities.

Learn more about these scholarships through the Korean American Scholarship Foundation.

American Bar Foundation Summer Research Grants.

The American Bar Foundation provides summer research grants for minority students, up to $3,000 that can be used to pay for some aspect of their college educational expenses. Each grant is provided to a different school, and they can change from one year to the next so it’s a good idea to check with the college or university about availability.

In order to quality, seniors cannot apply for the summer months following graduation. Only one grant is available to students each academic calendar. Learn about these grants by viewing Northwestern University’s page devoted to this minority based grant.

National Association of Black Journalists.

There are several scholarships available to Black students who are actively pursuing a degree in journalism. The Allison E. Fisher Scholarship, Carole Simpson Scholarship, and Larry Whiteside Scholarship are just a sampling of what’s available.

Students must be members of the National Association of Black Journalists, must be enrolled full-time in an accredited college or university, must have a major in journalism or communications related discipline, and must meet certain GPA requirements.

Learn about specific requirements at the NABJ Scholarships page.

National Medical Fellowships.

The mission of National Medical Fellowships is to provide scholarships to underrepresented minorities in medicine and health professions. There are a number of scholarships available to a wide range of minority students.

Learn more about these opportunities through the National Medical Fellowships website.

Xerox Minority Scholarships.

The company Xerox provides some great scholarships for minorities, from $1,000 to $10,000. All minority students are eligible to apply if they are enrolled in an accredited four year college or university and pursuing a technical degree.

To learn about specific GPA and other requirements, visit Xerox’s scholarships page.

William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fellowship for Minority Students.

This particular fellowship is made available three times per year for the Aspen Institute Program on Philanthropy and Social Innovation in Washington, D.C. Research, writing, and other requirements are necessary for minority students to be considered for this fellowship.

The students must exhibit an interest in nonprofit work and philanthropy. To learn more and apply, visit the Aspen Institute Program’s page dedicated to this minority fellowship program.

http://scholarshipsecretary.com/top-10-minority-scholarships/

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Black Girl Nerds

Black Girl Nerds is a place for women of color with various eccentricities to express themselves freely and embrace who they are.  This is not a site exclusively for Black women.  It’s for ALL women who are just as nerdy as we are and the men who love and appreciate us.  I named this site Black Girl Nerds because the concept of Black women as geeky-dorky beings is somewhat of an anomaly.  It’s against the order of things in the “Black Girl” world.  We represent a wide array of diverse women who embrace all cultures and refuse to conform to the status quo.
This community does not have an exclusionary purpose.  The term “Black Girl Nerd” is not intended to be derogatory nor is it racially biased.  It is a term of endearment to all women like me who have been attached to a stigma that is not an accurate representation of my personality or my idiosyncratic behaviors.

This is a website for every nerdy girl that can finally come out of the closet and tell the world that they are PROUD to be who they are—no matter what anyone says, does, or think.  This is a place where you can truly be yourself and not be judged by others.  This site welcomes girls of all races, but it was called Black Girl Nerds because it is a term that is so unique and extraordinary, that even Google couldn’t find a crawl for the phrase and its imprint in the world of cyberspace.  The mission is to put an end to that and know that many Black Girl Nerds exist on this planet.

This community encourages other bloggers, web creators, and the like to create niche sites such as this one to spread to the world that being a nerd is a lovely thing.  In fact, being a nerd is a gift and should be highly revered.  It is not often that you will find an unsuccessful nerd.  Therefore be nice to your fellow nerds—you never know, you may be working for them one day.

Source: http://blackgirlnerds.com