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Steve Radley, President and CEO of NetWork Kansas Aims to Help State’s Entrepreneurs

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Steve Radley, President and CEO of NetWork Kansas Aims to Help State’s Entrepreneurs

Steve Radley was selected as NetWork Kansas ‘ president and CEO in 2006. As vice president of innovation, Erik Pederson followed him. They and their team raised capital to establish and develop small businesses, by creating an entrepreneurial climate in Kansas.
NetWork Kansas describes itself as “a nationwide network of company-building, non-profit tools that support entrepreneurs and small business owners launch and develop successful businesses.”

NetWork Kansas quickly recognized that there were already assets around the state to help small businesses. One of the first steps was to develop a partner network in order to make it easier and more successful for entrepreneurs to connect to those tools.

NetWork Kansas has several loan programs and an investment fund to support small rural companies with direct financial assistance. Both projects have supported Kansas companies with loans and investments of over $40 million. These funds were also used to raise more than $400 million in additional assets.

There’s a saying it’s all local politics. Maybe all entrepreneurship also begins locally. In 2007, NetWork Kansas initiated a project under the leadership of Erik Pederson to improve local-based support for entrepreneurs. It was named the Alliance of the Entrepreneurship Group. Individual communities or counties that apply to be designated as E-Communities to finance, train, and other services.

The Entrepreneurship Center and its co-founder, Don Macke, joined the Kansas Network team during 2019. The e2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems is named this new section.

In the past, NetWork Kansas has always focused on profit-making companies. In 2019, the group branched out to create the Kansas Community Investment Fund in conjunction with the Kansas Health Foundation, which funded non-profit agencies and local government health-related projects.

NetWork Kansas has sponsored local community competitions between young aspiring business people with creative ideas to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs. In 2019, across 40 local competitions, the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge Series recruited 865 students from 48 communities. The Kansas State finals are held. For next year, the top youth entrepreneurs will earn a combined $75,000 in prizes.

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Celebrity Stylist Launches Shapewear Collections to Enhance Women Bodies

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After discovering that there are no products that help improve and correctly portray women’s bodies, Celebrity fashion designer, Angela Dean has launched a product (shaped by an Angel) to address this issue. Shaped by an Angel is a creative line of body shapers. Dean, who has recorded remarkable feats in the past two or more decades of her life, is a stylist that is on the want list of many persons. She has worked side by side with Halle Berry, Oprah Winfrey, and many other renowned persons.

Her work has been celebrated on the pages of renowned and popular publications such as The Oprah Magazine and Essence & O. The dress she made for Jazz legend Nancy Wilson, which she wore to the 2007 Grammy Award, is being preserved at the National Museum of American History in Washington.

During her successful career in the fashion industry, she observed a problem faced by many women irrespective of who they are, whether celebrity or not.

She said helping women achieve their desired shape and look is the source of her inspiration and passion. Hence she has put all of that inspiration and energy to produce Shaped by an angel. The mission statement of the brand is giving women the opportunity to enhance their natural form while minimizing trouble spots.

The outfit was produced with a post-surgical compression fabric that breaks cellulite and improves the flow of blood. The body shaper, which is custom-made to five different body shapes, offer both immediate and long term benefits. The innovative body shaper is available in various lengths and has been claimed to reduce a woman’s shape by an average of one dress size.

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Check Out the Only Black Woman-owned Beef Jerky Producer

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Michelle Timberlake founded Marjorie’s Beef Jerky, it is the only company owned by a black woman that produces, distributes, and retail beef jerky in the U.S.

According to Michelle, the meat she uses for beef jerky is priceless, has no MSG, or preservatives aside the soy sauce, rich in protein and high quality. Also, it delivers only 150 calories per bag.

Hundreds of thousands of Marjorie’s Beef Jerky cases have been sold, and the products were distributed through the National Football League and Major League Baseball.

Michelle always tries to persuade people to taste her product even if they aren’t the beef jerky type. She said she had gotten new customers after giving them a bite of her desiccated meat.

The picture on every bag of Marjorie’s Beef Jerky is that of late Marjorie Leona Dawson, the mother of Michelle. She said her mother was her hero, coach, and the one who inspired her to start her beef jerky business.

Since the demise of her mother, her father, James Timberlake, has been the one supporting her in the business. In the future, she is even thinking of replacing her jerky products with her father’s BBQ sauce recipe.

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All Stocks Exhausted Within Few Hours of Launching the Only Black-owned Craft Brewery in New Orleans

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The only Black-owned craft brewery in New Orleans’ was released to the market for the first time during Thanksgiving. Though there was no promotion or media announcement about the release, yet the much anticipated Cajun Fire beers were exhausted within 72 hours of the release.

Brewmaster Jon Renthrope founded Cajun Fire Brewing Co. in 2011. The Big Chief Créme Stout and Honey Ale brands were never available for sale at shops except on special tasting events or festive occasions. When beer lovers of Greater New Orleans eventually saw the drinks at their local stores, they collaborated to buy the entire stock.

Immediately after the beer hit the market, there have been unbelievable posters about the beer. Renthrope, who grew up in New Orleans, had always had the dream of starting a brewery in New Orleans East. Many of the beer lovers and those who follow the news around the brewery industry had still received up –to date information about the progress of the brewery. They were surprised by the quiet lunch of the beer.

The launching of the beer coincides with the addition of two new members to the list of microbreweries in New Orleans. The microbreweries are All Relation in Central City and Zony Mash off South Broad.
The operations of breweries are capital intensive, and it’s difficult to secure grants. Renthrope founded the company while he was 31-year-old, which is about eight years ago, and he couldn’t help but laugh as he remembers all he had gone through to secure business loans.

On Thursday Renthrope hosted a parley for black beer entrepreneurs at the New Orleans Jazz Market, where they discussed how to improve equity in the sector and gets quick access to funds.

At the moment, Cajun Fire is still outsourcing the production of their beer to Virginia-based brewery, which is mostly used by brewers to brew small qty of beer. Renthrope developed the recipe for the beer. A little qty of the beer was sold at the Pacific Northwest for which another brewery was contracted for the production of the brewery. Even then, it wasn’t sold at New Orleans.

The beers are now permanently available in New Orleans and Jefferson parishes.

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Entrepreneurs

Check Out North Carolinian Ex-Felon Who Owns the First Black-owned Barbershop in Walmart

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40-year-old Shaun “Lucky” Corbett, an ex-felon who hails from Charlotte in North Carolina, has launched a barbershop inside of Walmart.

With the feat achieved by Corbett, he becomes the first black man to own and run a barbershop in Walmart. Corbett has put his life on a new path by starting his barbershop, which he named Da Lucky Spot Barbershop. The business hit the ground running on the 26th of September, 2019 at the Walmart located on 3240 Wilkinson Boulevard.

Corbett was arrested for hiding weapons at the age of 18, at the age of 19, was charged for illegal entering, and again at age 21, was charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI). He was lucky in 2001 when he was caught stuffing cocaine in between seats during a police stop and check. The charge was dropped as the search was declared illegal.

After all this, he decided to turn a new leaf. It was not a smooth new journey as no one was ready to employ an ex-convict. Eventually, when he applied for a job with Value City, he didn’t fill the criminal history section, and hence he was able to get a call for an interview. During the interview, he confessed to the hiring manager that he was once in jail, and this time is sincerity was rewarded. He worked at Value City for two years before joining Family Dollar, after that he registered in No Grease Barber School.

He became a fulltime barber in 2006 and now had his chair and was able to afford his barbershop, which was located at North Tryon Street, and now he is a proud owner of a barbershop in a local Walmart.

He planned to have more branches of his barbershop in every corner of America. He also said that in the future, he wants the company to be known for doing free tutoring, thanksgiving feedings, bookbag drives, free haircuts, and turkey drives anywhere the company is sighted.

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Black Entrepreneur Launches Digital Community For Black-Owned Small and Medium Organizations to Collaborate

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Uhai is a Black-owned Software as a Service (SaaS) Company. In the year 2020, the company will be unveiling a permission-based messaging & linkup solution for present-day firms.

The CEO of Uhai, David Abeiku Cole Jr, stated that the innovation is designed for small to medium scale black-owned companies to create a digital community where, Black-owned profits and non-profits organizations, women club, associations etc. can linkup and communicate.

Uhai will adopt the middleware framework on the Microsoft ASP.NET developers platform to create the all-in-one solution. The software will contain; individual/group messaging, video conferencing, task assignment resource, file sharing and collaboration, searchable platform and live streaming services which can be accessed through a PC and Smartphone.
The software is currently being used by top organizations and companies such as NATO, Deutsche Telekom, Achieva Credit Union, Teoco and many others from different part of the world.

Uhai believes that the software will provide small and medium scale Black-owned companies with a secure and reliable messaging and collaboration solution that will eradicate time drain, email fatigue while enjoying increased efficiency in productivity.

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Check Out this Black-Woman Entrepreneur Who is the Founder of a Truck Company in Houston

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Fourth Holdings is one of the few Black-owned truck firms in Houston. The company was co-founded by Kristi L. Jackson and Kevin Muhammed and offers transportation and freight logistics within the U.S.

Reports have it that Black women are the most successful entrepreneurs in the U.S. hence, we can say that Kristi is making history by being a female truck business owner and also confirming the reports stated above.

Kristi hails from Alexandria in Louisiana but now based in the same city as her business which is in Houston. She is also the founder of the Woman CEO project, a company that creates new ideas or advice on how to carry out new ideas and also assist in the development of business primarily for women entrepreneurs. The organization anchors over 40 courses on business yearly.

Jackson has also consulted/affiliated for significant firms such as IBM, JP Morgan & Chase, The White House, Wells Fargo, Capital One, Google, and Apple. She has Major Awards to her name such as the “22012 Humanitarian of the year “award and the “2013 Women’s Organization of the year.

The truck company is currently in need of drivers as it plans to increase its fleet to expand its operation.

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Check the First Black-owned Food Delivery Service in Philadelphia

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David Cabello has made history by creating that which wasn’t in existence.
Cabello and his twin brother Aaron spent only three semesters at Shippensburg University before they quit school following Donald Trump’s election as president of America. The twin who hails from Bristol Borough in Pennsylvania shifted base to Philadelphia after doing thorough research on how they can make a change to the black community.

The twins co-founded the first Black-owned food delivery service in Philadelphia which they named Black and Mobile. The company accepts the Black community by only delivering food for Black-owned restaurants.

David explained that he decided to start the company when he realized he was making good money as a delivery guy for Uber Eats, Postmates, and Caviar and that there was no Black-owned delivery company. He also stated that for now they only offer their customers delivery from restaurants that do Jamaican, soul and vegan food, but hopes to add more African and Haitian soon.

For David, the major challenge for their business is that Black-owned restaurants don’t trust him even though his price is lesser compared to do competitors. He added that they would rather not have a delivery service than to partner with him.

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Entrepreneurs

Check Out Lionel Richie’s Hello Fragrance Collections

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According to reports, Lionel Richie has launched his first his-and-her collection of fragrances called Hello by Lionel Richie.

The Eau de Parfum version of Hello by Lionel Richie is a classy and sensual fruity-chypre fragrance with floral and oriental nuances. While the Eau de Toilette version is a Luscious and scintillating fougère scent with warm amber tones. The available sizes for both fragrances are 30ml, 50ml and 100ml, with a price range of $36 to $59.

black owned, black entrepreneurs, gig, side hustles

The fragrance collection was named after one of Lionel’s most famous love ballads, “Hello,” which was his third single from the album Can’t Slow Down (1983). After the song was released in 1984, it hit number one spot on three different Billboard music charts: the pop chart, it maintained number one spot there for two weeks, it retained the top spot for three weeks on the R&B chart, and six weeks on the adult contemporary chart.

Richie started as the lead singer of the Commodores, went on to pursue a solo career after leaving the group. In his later career, he sold more than 90 million records worldwide and won Grammy Award for Album of the year for Can’t Slow Down, Producer of the Year 1985 (Non-Classical), 1983 Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for “Truly.”

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Check Out the First Black-Owned Coworking Space in Wilmington

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There is a new shared workspace and incubator at 300 Martin Luther King Blvd., Wilmington. The coworking space is called Win Factory, and it has a slogan “When one wins, we all win.”

Win Factory houses the Win Factory Wealth League (WFWL), which commenced its operation at CoIN Loft coworking space that is no longer inexistent. The founders of WFWL, led by Tamara Varella have tried in the past one year to create a society that provides support, ideas and expertise to create a level playing ground for entrepreneurs who doesn’t have adequate representation.

The new coworking space used to be the office of Delaware 87ers and was also used as a slaughterhouse before then. This is the first of its kind in Wilmington which is owned by black entrepreneurs. Though the new space isn’t meant for just black entrepreneurs, the goal is to have a community of equal support for entrepreneurs who are not privileged to have inherited wealth and connection to influential persons.

Varella is the founder of the Manifest Business Consultants, which has been in operation for two decades and recently anchored WFWL seminar on “Black Tax,” i.e. the money which black entrepreneurs/professionals usually give back to assist heir families, hence making them unable to build wealth for their next generation. The program which holds weekly invites experts from Delaware and beyond to the program. This is one of the benefits of WFWL.

Other benefits that members will enjoy from 2020 include a crowdfunding session with Pedro Moore. With this, entrepreneurs can showcase their business plans to the various investors and community members. There will also be a tour of GGA Construction work to be anchored by the company’s president Lorri Grayson.

The six founders of Win Factory are – Pynk Print founder Linda Watson, Malcolm Coley, Kenyon Wilson, Newdy Felton of Influencers Lab Media, Alfred Campbell and Varella. They comprise a group of entrepreneurs who has what it takes to assist upcoming entrepreneurs to raise funds, design or do social media marketing. Fifteen businesses have currently joined the coworking space, and there is still space to accommodate more business owner who needs a personal work table. Soon they will unveil a common workplace.

The opening ceremony was held on Dec. 3, and the Mayor was in attendance as well as other guests.

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Entrepreneurs

Black Entrepreneur Launches Board Game that Teaches Aspiring Entrepreneurs How to Run a Successful Business

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A black entrepreneur, Elliott Eddie, who won more than five state and two international public speaking awards have invented a board game that will teach children and adults how to begin and run a successful business from the solace of their house. The game is called The Entrepreneur Game and created by Elliot’s company EEspeaks.

Elliot, who runs over five thriving black companies, has put all his experience and passion from public speaking, teaching, and entrepreneurship in a board game. He hopes it will broaden the knowledge and trust of anyone who would plan to be the top player in the industry, especially those in underserved and abandoned communities.

The brilliant invention by Elliot has attracted the attention of many persons all over the globe. In September 2018, Elliot took the idea to crowd funding on Kickstarter, and in less than five hours, The Entrepreneur Game had been fully funded. Within two and a half week of being on the crowd funding platform, the amount raised for the game was like three times the estimated budget from more than 350 people from 8 different countries. Toys R Us in Canada is also about to procure the French version of the game for its 180 stores.

The game is developed for persons between the ages of 12 and above. The game is fun, interactive and educative. The game can be played with 2-6 players and require you to start your home-based business, run and develop it into an empire by budgeting, investing, marketing, deals negotiation and decision making all in a bid to avoid bankruptcy.

For every game, you play the scenarios and challenges are different, so you can play as much as possible to sharpen your skills and become a successful business person. At the end of the game, the person with the highest cash and non-cash assets wins. When you become a millionaire, every other person will say your name and also say; “You are an incredible entrepreneur, please teach me your wisdom.

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Check Out the Cruelty-Free Beauty Products Launched by this Black-Owned Company

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Mademoiselle Ayanna and Ayanna Beauty is one of few Black-owned companies to unveil a line of beauty products without inhumane testing on animals. Also, the products don’t contain; parabens, talc, sulfate, are vegan, parabens and silicon.

According to the CEO and founder of the Company, Ayanna Henderson, she said the products capitalize on expertise, science and nature to produce the most effective products in the skincare and beauty industry. Also, the products are made from the highest quality of ingredients gotten from different part of the world and her very safe for use.

The products of Mademoiselle Ayanna are J’Adore L’Amor Biotin Boost Hair Serum, Le Blanc Eye Corrector Serum, Le Noir Detoxifying Charcoal Mask, Le Rose Wrinkle Recovery Serum, and Le Rouge CC Serum with Vitamin C.

The Products are suitable for increasing moisture and improving elasticity while reducing wrinkle, and replenishing lost nutrients. They can be used for skins detox, exfoliation, dry scalp, dark circles and puffiness around the eyes.

Ayanna was born in one of the most poverty-stricken cities in the Los Angeles area, precisely Compton in California. But she is now based in Santa Monica, which is where she also runs her business. Aside from being into skin and beauty product, she is also a professor teaching business and advertising in colleges, and a thriving digital marketer.

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Black-owned Firm launches Financial Literacy Curriculum to Reduce Wealth Gap For Future Generations

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A black-owned firm, Black Wallstreeter Consultation Services is rendering a financial education curriculum for young lads. The primary purpose of the course is to make youth financial literate and disciplined, hence reducing the wealth gap for the coming generations. The course is named “Junior Wallstreeters: Empowering youth with Financial Wellness.”

The class being offered by Wallstreeter is unique from that being provided by other firms. Wallstreeter’s financial literacy class will cover, introduction to financial literacy concepts, tools on starting and running an investment club, and investing in the stock market. One of the topics above will integrate Kevon and Kamari Chisolm’s ebook title Financial Legacy: Building Wealth Through Investment Clubs.

The Investment club aspect is what stand Wallstreeter literacy classes out from that of others. With this aspect, the participants will be able to practically apply the financial knowledge from the course in stock markets investment. Hence, participants become equipped with the resources they need to become investors of top brands such as McDonald’s, Nike etc. Vance High School in Charlotte, North Carolina has adopted the curriculum.

Wallstreeter is organizing Junior Wallstreeter camps during the summer of next year, with the adoption of the same curriculum discussed above.

Visit the Wallstreeter website for further information.

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Check out this 13-Years Old Black Teenager Whose Clothing Line is Taking Over Philly’s Fashion Industry

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A black teenage boy, Trey Brown already have a company of his own at age thirteen, and he is sure enjoying his life. Brown is the founder and CEO of SPERGO, a clothing line with about 30,000 followers on Instagram. He has had contact with various celebrities and has been on a Times Square billboard. The amount the company has made in the first year is enough to take care of his mom retirement.

SPERGO was launched in January 2018. The brand focuses on stylish shirts, hoodies, flip flops and sweatshirts. Brown explained that the violence in Philadelphia inspired him to start the company; he wanted to prove and inspire other youths that they could do great things without been violent or touching drugs.

SPERGO started as a small business. With permission from his mum, Brown designed his first few shirts with his birthday money that he has been saving and also marketed and sold them via Instagram. Even at that time, he goes to barbershop around his locality to sell. In a short while, he was able to exhaust his stock. After then, he started his online store and began sending his designs to cities in Africa, Bermuda, and even Germany.

Brown admitted that at the beginning, he wasn’t sure the brand would launch or even make wave but now that it has gotten to this level, he is very optimistic about the future.

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Alumna of Howard University Opens First Creative Space in Mount Rainier For Black-Owned Businesses

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Distinctly Creative was opened in September in a 1947 three-story brick building, which is situated at 3510 Rhode Island Ave., Mount Rainier. The building is currently under renovation by Daniel Simon, owner of Hyattsville’s Palmer Building, where you have Vigilante Coffee and other prominent businesses.

The owner/founder of Distinctly Creative, Morgan Davis, is a business strategist, graphic, and fashion designer. She has worked with Google’s AdWords team and assisted big corporations such as George Mason University, the University of Maryland, and the National Trust of Historic Preservation to handle their branding and creative tasks. She founded Distinctly Creative in 2016, aside from offering branding and creative service, she also give coaching and advice to entrepreneurs and other business owners.

According to Davis, the new creative space will be a hub where black entrepreneurs can network, hold seminars, exhibitions, and also sell their goods.

The space will also have a coworking center, called Goldn Roots, where black entrepreneurs in the creative line can meet with clients and work outside their house/dorm. It has a ‘marketplace’ which consists of fifteen black-owned brands, mostly from the fashion, skin and hair care, home goods, and visual arts sectors. She already has her line of apparel in the marketplace called “Black Creatives Matter.”

Davis Morgan moved from Michigan to D.C. when she got admission into Howard University. She recently relocated from Hyattsville to College Park.

Distinctly Creative is the first creative space in Mount Rainer, and it’s akin to other coworking and events places like Five Points Business Center in Woodridge, CAMPSpaces, and Dream Village in Hyattsville.
The new creative space will be opened on Thursdays through Sundays from 2 to 7 pm.

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The First Black-Owned Beauty Supply Opens in Harrisburg

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On the 23rd of November 2019, the door to L&L Beauty Supply opened for business on 310, Reily Street, Harrisburg. According to the founders, it is the first beauty supply store in Harrisburg owned by blacks.

The owners of the shops are Lynnae Armstrong, her husband Leroy Armstrong, and her mother, Anita Holmes. The setting up of the shop was fast, as the team only started putting the shop in order in September.

Armstrong revealed her readiness to collaborate with other small businesses to develop new business in the community by assisting other black-American entrepreneurs.

The owners of L&L Beauty Salon are working on producing a documentary show about black-owned businesses.
Lynnae Armstrong is working on gathering money that will help see her through trade school education in the future.

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