Monthly Archives: January 2014

The HBCUpreneur Corner – Virginia State University’s Koren Underdue & KU Real Estate

KU Real Estate Logo

Name: Koren Underdue

Alma Mater: Virginia State University

Business Name & Description: KU Real Estate, specializing in selling residential real estate in the Triangle Area of North Carolina

What year did you found your company? 2011

What was the most exciting and/or fearful moment during your HBCUpreneur career? Taking the first step of starting my own business was both exciting and fearful at the same time. It was like having a baby. You are excited because you know what you just created is a blessing; however, you also know that you are the most vital player in its success. You must feed it, nurture it, and help it grow with leadership, integrity, and humility.

What made you want to start your own company? Prior to starting my own business I was managing for one of the largest banks in America and worked in their subprime market. With the failing economy, I soon realized that I needed to find something fast due to the uncertainty of our department and its future. Instead of looking for another job, I took the opportunity to begin real estate investing which lead to me starting my own brokerage company, KU Real Estate.

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Who was the most influential person/people for you during your time in college? My peers, it was incredible to be around “like minded” individuals who all brought something different to the table. Not only did we share ideas, goals, and aspirations, but we also challenged each other for greatness and encouraged each other to pursue our dreams.

How do you handle complex problems? That’s easy, simplify them. In general, problems are only as complex as we make them. I am learning through my experiences not to focus on the problem, yet focus on the solution.

What is something you wish you had known prior to starting your company? Honestly, I just wish that I was instilled with the “principals of success” at an early age. As a mother of three now, it is essential that I instill habits of success and leadership. I want them to know that they can aspire to do whatever their hearts desire; however, they must not be afraid of hard-work and dedication. As an entrepreneur, I strive to help them understand free enterprise and how it can provide more control of their financial future as they live their American Dream.

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? I would love to see HBCUs encourage students to step out more and challenge them to find their passion, their why, and assist them in starting their own business even while in school. Not only should HBCUs provide the fundamentals, but provide them with hands-on tools and resources to develop action plans. It would be great to see more business mentorships and also develop mastermind groups within the student body. Bill Gates was 20 when he started Microsoft, and Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook from his dormitory of Harvard University also at the age of 20. I bring this up to state they were both young individuals with bright ideas and took a chance. Why can’t our young HBCU students do the same? They can and I can’t wait see the new movement of our HBCU community!

How do you deal with rejection? I accept rejection, and it does not discourage me, it motivates me. In business you will find many times someone telling you no or an opportunity you were hoping for fails. The great thing is it’s not the end of the world. I learned to accept it for what it is and embrace it. I never take it personally, but I do however examine the rejection. What was the reason why I was rejected? Is this something I can overcome? If so, I am developing my plan of action immediately to do so. What can I learn from this experience? Please note: Every rejection is an opportunity for a learning experience which will benefit the growth of your business no matter the outcome.

When you have down time how do you like to spend it? I love to spend time with my family, relax, and travel the world.

What was your most memorable HBCU memory? My most memorable HBCU memory was my graduation. That day represented accomplishment from years of hard work and dedication. It was a day to reflect on friendship, leadership, and how I was truly proud to be a VSU Trojan Alumni.

In leaving is there any advice you have for budding HBCUpreneurs? Just do it and don’t quit. Most businesses fail because they quit. Fail forward and never let go of your dream!

CALM DOWN: African America’s $1 Trillion In Buying Power Is Only 6 Percent of America’s Buying Power

Progressiveness is looking forward intelligently, looking within critically, and moving on incessantly. – Waldo Pondray Warren

I think if I hear that African America has over $1 trillion in buying power one more time from another person I might just lose it. It is usually coming from some well meaning liberal or African American “conscious” type trying to show that if only we harness our buying power, then all of our economic ails would be fixed. YACHTS for everyone! The problem is they throw this number around with absolutely no context. In reality, African America’s buying power is not even equal to the size of its population and highlights the daunting income disparity for African Americans.

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To put it another way, Asian America has 8.2 million employed citizens with a buying power of $718 billion. African America has 16.2 million employed citizens with a buying power of $1.1 trillion. That essentially means, Asian Americans have two-thirds of the buying power of African American with only half the population. This is possible because the median income for Asian Americans is approximately $66 000, but for African Americans it is $34 000. So while Asian Americans only comprise 4.8 percent of the population, they control 5 percent of the country’s buying power.

Due to a mixture of factors like a weak education infrastructure in African American communities from K-12 through college, and lack of African American owned firms with paid employees we tend to be regulated to low-wage earning jobs. This has direct implications into the buying power that a community has at its disposal. It also creates a vicious cycle of being unable to accumulate wealth building assets and forces a disproportionate of low-income families which are predominantly African Americans to file bankruptcy. So while the buying power of African Americans looks like a lot because of the “trillion” behind the number, it is more than a bit misleading.

If African America’s buying power was equivalent to our population, then it would be valued at $2.2 trillion. That is approximately 100 percent higher than what it is currently. For that to happen with the current employment situation for African America the median African American income would need to rise from approximately $34 000 to $68 000. An almost impossible task currently for a number of the reasons stated previously. However, what is clear that we must stop just taking a number and throwing it around without broader context of what is it against the entire nation’s buying power or what does that break down to per person. Otherwise, it is just a “big” number. I think?

HBCU Money™ Histronomics: Martin Luther King, Jr’s Telegram To Betty Shabazz (Malcolm X’s Death)

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Mrs. Malcolm X

Faith Temple Church


New York, New York

FEB 26 1965

I was certainly saddened by the shocking and tragic assassination of your husband. While we did not always see eye to eye on methods to solve the race problem, I always had a deep affection for Malcolm and felt that he had the great ability to put his finger on the existence and root of the problem. He was an eloquent spokesman for his point of view and no one can honestly doubt that Malcolm had a great concern for the problems that we face as a race. While I know that this is a difficult hour for you, I am sure that God will give you the strength to endure. I will certainly be remembering you in my prayers and please know you have my deepest sympathy. Always consider me a friend and if I can do anything to ease the heavy load you are forced to carry at this time, please feel free to call on me.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

HBCU Money™ Business Book Feature – The Billionaire’s Apprentice: The Rise of Indian-American Elite & Fall of Galleon Hedge Fund


Just as WASPs, Irish-Catholics and Our Crowd Jews once made the ascent from immigrants to powerbrokers, it is now the Indian-American’s turn. Citigroup, PepsiCo and Mastercard are just a handful of the Fortune 500 companies led by a group known as the “Twice Blessed.” Yet little is known about how these Indian emigres (and children of emigres) rose through the ranks. Until now…

The collapse of the Galleon Group–a hedge fund that managed more than $7 billion in assets–from criminal charges of insider trading was a sensational case that pitted prosecutor Preet Bharara, himself the son of Indian immigrants, against the best and brightest of the South Asian business community. At the center of the case was self-described King of Kings, Galleon’s founder Raj Rajaratnam, a Sri-Lankan-born, Wharton-educated billionaire. But the most shocking allegation was that the éminence grise of Indian business, Rajat Gupta, was Rajaratnam’s accomplice and mole. If not for Gupta’s nose-to-the-grindstone rise to head up McKinsey & Co and a position on the Goldman Sachs board, men like Rajaratnam would have never made it to the top of America’s moneyed elite.

Author Anita Raghavan criss-crosses the globe from Wall Street boardrooms to Delhi’s Indian Institute of Technology as she uncovers the secrets of this subculture–an incredible tale of triumph, temptation and tragedy.

HBCU Money™ Dozen 1/13 – 1/17


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.


Verizon Most Expensive, T-Mobile Cheapest – but What About Quality? l CIOonline

Obama invokes history for context in surveillance reform speech l Computerworld

10 IT Outsourcing Trends to Watch in 2014 l CIOonline

Surviving on the Foods & Water of Alaska’s Southern Shores” is back in stock. l Alaska Sea Grant

Using Cutting-Edge Science to Achieve NetZero Waste, Water and Energy l EPA Research

The hottest Chinese Internet firms you’ve never heard of l Networkworld

Federal Reserve, Central Banks, & Financial Departments

5 secrets to winning online property auctions l Housing Wire

Inflation decline may be due to cheaper durable goods and slower growth in the cost of services l St. Louis Fed

The costs of crime & violence to the #privatesector amount to significant losses in terms of GDP l World Bank

Local economies in central states are seeing modest labor gains from a boom in natural gas production l KC Fed

Does Greater Inequality Lead to More Household Borrowing? New Evidence from Household Data l Richmond Fed

21 states routinely prepare formal debt affordability studies or similar analyses l Boston Fed

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