Monthly Archives: December 2013

HBCU Money™ Dozen 12/9 – 12/13


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Did you miss HBCU Money™ Dozen via Twitter? No worry. We are now putting them on the site for you to visit at your leisure. We have made some changes here at HBCU Money™ Dozen. We are now solely focused on research and central bank articles from the previous week.

Research

It’s Time to Force Wireless Carriers to Crack Down on Smartphone Theft l CIOonline http://trib.al/8BpzeS7

How to Win the IT Infrastructure and Operations Talent War l CIOonline http://trib.al/8EdXvOu

IRENA Launches Global Renewable Energy Cost Analysis Program l CleanTechnica http://dlvr.it/4VT8f1

Save $10,000 By Riding a Bike Instead of Driving l CleanTechnica http://dlvr.it/4VSr0Q

Livermore scientists discover how explosives respond to shockwaves l Livermore Lab http://1.usa.gov/1bZFM1D

Were the first ever animals on Earth made of jelly, not sponge? This is no trifling question l New Scientist http://ow.ly/rITYE

Federal Reserve, Central Banks, & Financial Departments

House approves budget deal, handing major victory to Boehner l House Action http://bit.ly/1jUBiLp

Cash Survey: How much cash do you have in your wallet? l San Fran Fed http://ow.ly/rIUmA

Five Ingredients Entrepreneurs Need to Succeed l Council 4 Econ Ed http://ow.ly/rIUL1

Is Mississippi poised to meet the workforce needs of the future? l Atlanta Fed http://goo.gl/xrgrtM

Websites soon to end in .mortgage or .home l Housing Wire http://hwi.re/4VT7kY

High school students: Watch these short videos to learn economics basics l St. Louis Fed http://bit.ly/14wQuVW

Thank you as always for joining us on Saturday for HBCU Money™ Dozen. The 12 most important research and finance articles of the week

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The HBCU Money™ Weekly Market Watch


Our Money Matters /\ December 13, 2013

A weekly snapshot of African American owned public companies and HBCU Money™ tracked African stock exchanges.

NAME TICKER PRICE (GAIN/LOSS %)

African American Publicly Traded Companies

Citizens Bancshares Georgia (CZBS) $5.80 (0.0o% UNCH)

M&F Bancorp (MFBP) $3.00 (0.00% UNCH)

Radio One (ROIA) $3.33 (1.19% DN)

African Stock Exchanges

Bourse Regionale des Valeurs Mobilieres (BRVM)  225.10 (1.42% UP)

Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE)  8 947.38 (0.63% UP)

Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE)  2 130.87 (77.19% UP)*

Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE)  133.92 (N/A)

Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) 43 185.73 (0.00% UNCH)

International Stock Exchanges

New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) 9 954.84 (0.05% UP)

London Stock Exchange (LSE)  3 447.49 (0.04% DN)

Tokyo Stock Exchange (TOPIX)  1 238.88 (0.27% DN)

Commodities

Gold 1 224.90 (1.05% UP)

Oil 96.49 (1.02% DN)

*Ghana Stock Exchange shows current year to date movement. All others daily.

All quotes reported as of 2:00 PM Eastern Time Zone

DRONES – The Answer To The United States Postal Service Problems?


There is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor. – Albert Camus

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Amazon decided that it needed to not only dominate retail for the weekend after Thanksgiving, but it needed to dominate headlines as well. The $180 billion dollar company announced that in a few years it will start delivering customer packages via Amazon drones. No, the NSA and CIA have not taken over Jeff Bezos body. The coming of drones for commercial use has been a badly kept secret for a few years now, but it appears Amazon has emerged as the company who will bring it to the mainstream. If you were wondering when the Jetsons era was going to be upon us. It is here. Drones could will change transportation in the way email changed communication. The latter has almost brought the United States Postal Service to its knees, and the former could become its saving grace.

The United States Postal Service deficit is hemorrhaging something akin to a dam that has been hit by a missile. Last year, it registered a $16 billion deficit. The situation is parallel to that of the automakers a few years ago. Only, there will be no bailout coming. UPS, FedEx, pensions, and technology have presented the USPS with unfathomable challenges and I suspect in less than a decade will be a case study for some fresh face MBA student as I was once upon a time. The latter two, pensions and technology, being their primary problem or at least within their control. USPS is currently required to prefund future retirement benefits based on current and past employees to an annual tune of $6 billion dollars or almost 40 percent of its annual deficit. This is to ensure the pension benefits of current and past postal employees, pension obligations which are currently underfunded, will eventually be able to meet its fiscal obligations to retirees. There is also the matter of Saturday delivery, which cost the USPS $2 billion in losses annually. Something the Postmaster General argued to cut, but was met with such opposition he gave up on the matter. Although, expect me to argue for it again later in this article.

It could be argued with some irony that the zenith of the USPS in terms of labor was in 1999 with its almost 800 000 postal employees, the largest number ever in its history, coincided with the birth of the internet into the mainstream. Today, the number of employees has fallen over 25 percent, but is still twice the size of UPS and FedEx in terms of labor. Patrick Donahoe, the Postmaster General, had plans to reduce the workforce in line with UPS and FedEx, but it could be argued that it simply might not be enough. Primarily, there is the advantage of UPS/FedEx not having to deliver daily mail. Something that could make it difficult for USPS to ever match UPS/FedEx numbers. Unless, there is a way to deliver the daily mail without actual mail carriers. Enter the drone.

In Amazon’s world, drones would leave their distribution centers and deliver packages within a 30 minute window after purchase to the customer. Similarly, the United States Postal Service could use its postal centers as distribution centers as it already does and the field office for its drone flights. First, the drone helps you reduce the mail carrier labor force of 240 000 mail carriers or 41 percent of the USPS entire labor force and their salary, which ranges between $40,470 to $56,720, down to an almost negligible size keeping only large package truck drivers comparable to UPS/FedEx. Assuming the median salary range ($48,595), it would represent a cut of almost $11.7 billion in labor cost from the USPS books without a loss in production. If the USPS was even more aggressive (assuming no legal stipulations) it could contract out the pilot program for the drones and eliminate pension liability all together for this new part of its labor force, but let us not get ahead of ourselves here. Secondly, it would allow a massive reduction in the USPS 212 530 fleet of vehicles, one of the largest civilian fleets in the world. Forget going electric or natural gas, with drones you can just get rid of them period. According to the Federal Times in 2009, USPS spent $524 million in maintenance cost and $1.7 billion in 2010 for fuel cost. Another $2.2 billion off the books and bringing the total savings to $13.9 billion or almost 87 percent of the annual deficit. Just from the use of drones to deliver the daily mail.

Obviously, there are still some hurdles with the USPS even with the implementation of drones. For one, the FAA would have to approve it, which I believe the USPS would have an easier time pushing through than Amazon if they use the government agency to government agency buddy system. The next step would be to certainly to continue to reduce the workforce although the unions will probably have a lot to say about that in (my) theory and reality. Even with an elimination of the mail carrier force they would still be employing almost 350 000 people, which is still over 100 000 more than FedEx/UPS. Arguably, this number could be held if congress would agree to eliminate the Saturday delivery which again according to the Postmaster General would add an additional $2 billion in savings. In turn, it would bring the total savings via cuts and technology implementation to $16 billion, completely eliminating the deficit. It was technology that brought the postal service to its knees and it could very well be technology that helps the phoenix rise from the ashes.

The HBCUpreneur Corner – Prairie View A&M and Florida A&M’s Misha Granado & Love Grows


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Name: Misha N. Granado, MPH,MS

Alma Mater: Prairie View A&M University (1998), Florida A&M University (2004/2007)

Business Name & Description: Love Grows: The Relationship Consultants is a boutique firm specializing in improving all relationships, beginning with the relationship one has with self. We use a strength-based, love centered approach and offer services: Bringing Love into Existence (counseling, interactive workshops), Speaking Love into Existence (lectures) and Writing Love into Existence (books & editorials) to help our clients heal their emotional wounds in order to experience an amazing life and relationships.

What year did you found your company? 2010

What was the most exciting and/or fearful moment during your HBCUpreneur career? Love Grows is more than a business, it is a lifestyle, my purpose and life work therefore the opportunity to make a sustainable living and life doing what I love, which is to grow love is absolutely amazing. Love is one of the most sustainable, renewable resources we have and unfortunately many people are not maximizing their potential because of the various blocks (unhealed emotional wounds) that prohibit the movement of love through their life. Love Grows is doing our part to help people heal their emotional wounds in order to love self fully and others better; and in that way we are an environmental company as well, making the world a better place one relationship at a time.

In my life and as an entrepreneur, I learned quite quickly that there is no room for fear which affects my vision and critical thinking because valuable time and energy is spent thinking about the worst case scenario instead of possible solutions. Although unexpected situations may occur, I now choose to view them as opportunities to be creative, to find the most optimal solution to this new challenge. A ‘challenging situation’ presented itself during the late summer when I received word that the building where I had my office had been sold (I did not know it was on the market) and myself (along with the other tenants) had to find a new space. I had only been in the office for 5 months and had invested a great amount of resources to convert the space (wood floors, painted, new fixtures, etc.). I had acquired new clients and now needed to find a new space that was inside the loop, artsy, offered 24/7 access and had beautiful energy (yes, energy is very important to my business).

Although Houston is a large city, it is somewhat challenging to locate a ‘non-traditional’ office space inside the loop that is artsy and would allow me to renovate the space to my specifications all under $1000 and this was the challenge, to locate such a space without disrupting my clients. Since I no longer operate from fear, I was able to view this as a challenge and began to explore various ‘non-traditional’ spaces to determine if any of them would work for Love Grows. During this exploration time, I also contacted the property manager at a beautiful location that was significantly out of my budget when I inquired earlier this year. Well I was in luck, this magnificent space had expanded and the new space also carried a lower price tag than the original space and Love Grows had a new home. If I would have operated in fear, I would not have thought to contact the property manager and I may have made compromises to what I wanted and needed from a space.

What made you want to start your own company? Prior to beginning Love Grows, I had 10 years counseling experience which included an adjunct professorship. I implemented a ’10 minute freestyle session’ in my Introduction to Psychology class, which provided the students with the opportunity to discuss current events or any other topic of interest. This was implemented as a way to unite the diverse student body that ranged from freshman to seniors. Trust and rapport was quickly established and these 10 minute sessions, quickly turned into a ‘therapy session’ of sorts. My students revealed all type of experiences and it became evident that these young people did not have a healthy outlet to process their feelings and when given the opportunity all they wanted (and needed to do) was get it all out. This was a class that swelled to 150 students (some of whom were not registered) who showed up every session because we were able to create a safe space to grow. After the course, many students inquired if I had a book or if I was available for individual therapy sessions. This is when I knew I had a gift, the ability to establish and nurture relationships in which people felt safe to share. Life is comprised of relationships, and the relationship one has with self, determines and influences all the relationships in one’s life. Through years of professional and personal experience, I knew that the key to improving the relationships in our lives is to improve the relationship we have with self. In the summer of 2010, I established Love Grows: The Relationship Consultants with the purpose of helping others heal their emotional wounds in order to love self and others better, which would ultimately improve their relationships.

Who was the most influential person/people for you during your time in college? At Prairie View A&M University, Drs. Janet Beal and Kevin Washington and at Florida A&M Unviersity Drs. Huberta Jackson-Lowman and Cynthia Warrick.

How do you handle complex problems? As a creative being, my complex problems require open space, I literally have to get out of the building and step into nature. I take my shoes off and wiggle my toes in the grass. It is here under the blue skies, breathing natural air and the absence of gadgets (yes, I take a notebook and pen with me on these journeys) where I begin to view the situation from all angles. I identify the resources I have access to and the ones I need to obtain. I create a plan and the steps needed to execute.

What is something you wish you had known prior to starting your company? More information about the funding available to entrepreneurs.

What do you believe HBCUs can do to spur more innovation and entrepreneurship while their students are in school either as undergraduate or graduate students? Allow more critical thinking in the classroom. Unfortunately, I think many programs are focused on teaching information and the students who have great memories are the ones who usually perform the best, repeating the information; however, I think the true key to learning is to provide a concept and allow students to build around or from it. To partner with entrepreneurs and establish a mentorship program where students have direct access to people who are actually built and are living their dream. There are infinite ways to achieve success and success varies for everyone. The opportunity to have a mentor who truly invests in his/her mentee is priceless.

How do you deal with rejection? I know I sound like I am the one repeating information now *lol* but my answer remains the same, perception. I view rejection from one as the clearing of space for another.

When you have down time how do you like to spend it? I adore art and beauty and like to spend my time engaging in both. I recently began painting (acrylic) and actually completed my first painting Dec. 1 (a great way to begin the month). I also adore traveling, especially internationally and being that relationships are my life, spending time with vintage (established) and new friends and loved ones.

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What was your most memorable HBCU memory? Oh wow, it has to be from my undergraduate years at PV, spending time with the ‘Cali homies’, the shenanigans that took place on the yard, the parties and the simple life we had back then which consisted of class, friends and beginning the journey of discovering who we were and who we were meant to become.

In leaving is there any advice you have for budding HBCUpreneurs?

  1. Do not be afraid to have astronomical dreams!
  2. Get a mentor, but do not ‘rewrite’ your dream to mirror another’s so much that it is no longer your own.
  3. Shift your perspective (unless you are a trust fund baby *lol*), becoming an entrepreneur will require you to redirect your discretionary funds into your business.
  4. Learn to delay your gratification, you may not be able to go to Miami for Memorial Day Weekend with your friends, but you can redirect those funds into revamping your website, purchasing other materials/equipment/etc. for the business, paying the office rent for a few months or investing in yourself by taking a course, attending a retreat, etc.
  5. An entrepreneur lives a very different life than the individual working for someone else because the entrepreneur has very different goals and aspirations. Your life and the investment of your time, energy and resources should reflect these differences.

African America’s November Unemployment Report – 12.5%


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Overall Unemployment: 7.0% (7.3%)

African America Unemployment: 12.5% (13.1%)

Latino America Unemployment: 8.7% (9.1%)

European America Unemployment: 6.2% (6.3%)

Asian America Unemployment: 5.3% (5.2%)

Previous month in parentheses.

Analysis: Overall unemployment dropped by 30 basis points. African and Latino American unemployment rates saw significant declines, while European America saw a negligible decline. Asian America’s unemployment rate saw a rise by 10 basis points, but remains the group with the lowest unemployment rate. African American despite its drop remains the only group with a double digit unemployment rate.

African American Male Unemployment: 12.3% (13.0%)

African American Female Unemployment: 11.1% (11.5%)

African American Teenage Unemployment: 35.8% (36.0%)

African American Male Participation: 66.6% (66.8%)

African American Female Participation: 61.4% (61.3%)

African American Teenage Participation: 26.5% (27.3%)

Previous month in parentheses.

Analysis: African American male unemployment rate drops, but their participation also continues to drop. The AAM participation rate is at a five month low. African American female unemployment rate saw a 40 basis point decline, while the second month in a row saw their participation rate tick up 10 basis points. The African American teenage group saw its unemployment rate decline by 20 points, and like the male group saw a second straight month of declines in their participation rate. Participation rate for teenagers has dropped 290 basis points off its five month high.

Conclusion: The overall economy added 203 000 jobs. African America saw its employed ranks rise by 101 000. Unfortunately, the participation rate dropped again dropping to its lowest over the past five months negating any euphoria of the job additions. Last month was a brutal month with five month lows in almost every statistical category for employment for African Americans making November a month more focused on recouping the losses. Just how much of the employment additions are seasonal hires for the holidays will not be known until February when companies will start to shed seasonal hires. The labor force also continues to shrink and is at its lowest number over the past five months as African Americans continue to feel job prospects are simply not there and are simply giving up on looking. Those not in the labor force cracked 12 million for the first time. Times are tough for the African America labor situation with no signs of improvement as 2013 crawls to a close.