Monthly Archives: July 2014

The HBCUpreneur Corner™ – Florida A&M’s Makya Renée & Mareta Creations


Name: Makya Renée

Alma Mater: Florida A&M University

Business Name & Description: Mareta Creations; specializing in Fine Invitations, Corporate Design, Photography, and Graphic Snob® Apparel


What year did you found your company? 2005

What has been the most exciting and/or fearful moment during your HBCUpreneur career? Most exciting AND fearful moment was participating in my first bridal show. It was the first time I took samples of my work out of my home and exposed them to complete strangers. Although I was hand-selected to participate in the show, I wasn’t sure how the public would react to my work. I was in awe of and honored by the caliber of other participating vendors and the fact the show’s executives believed I was on their same level.

What made you want to start your own company? An internal desire to create while calling my own shot. To pursue what I was passionate about without any restrictions. To see my clients smile and know that I had a part in that. This is happiness to me.

Who was the most influential person/people for you during your time in college? My mentor Wallace W. Johnson, the first person to give me a job and expose me to the field of graphic design.

How do you handle complex problems? I always strive to have a plan – and a plan to back-up the back-up plan. I remain calm, pray without ceasing, research, and take things one day at a time. I demand more of myself than anyone else, but recognize when I need help and humble myself to accept it. I don’t tolerate stress or drama, so once addressed, I keep it moving.

What is something you wish you had known prior to starting your company? I wish I knew that although you should be passionate about your profession and have a desire to serve others, you must also have a desire to serve and protect yourself. Several people will take advantage of you if you allow them to, so it is extremely important to establish business policies, practices, and boundaries that allow you to serve your clients while protecting yourself. Business relationships are a lot like personal relationships and if you don’t ensure that you receive a return on your investment of time, talent, effort, and energy, you will get burned out and be unable to serve anyone.

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 believe each program offered at HBCUs should offer business-centered courses that align with their respective fields. Learning and practicing how to develop contracts; research industry rates and set pricing; interact with clients, vendors, sub-contractors; network with other industry professionals and professional organizations; brand and market company services; and apply ethics to ensure longevity as it relates to that field will spur more innovation and entrepreneurship among HBCU college students. Successful entrepreneurial alumni should be encouraged to return and address students on a consistent basis to provide insight and exposure. Unfortunately, black students as a whole aren’t encouraged to work for themselves as much as students of other cultures and don’t have the opportunity to observe many successful black-owned business. If we don’t pass these experiences down and encourage this option for our children, this cultural and economic divide will continue for generations to come.

African American banks struggle to attract African American small and start-up businesses. Is there something you believe that can be done to improve the relationships between African American business institutions? Exposure and marketing. African-American banks should establish relationships with HBCUs and target entrepreneurially- minded students through speaker series and event sponsorship. People can’t seek relationships and opportunities they don’t know exist. You have to meet people where they are, and HBCUs are the best breeding grounds for future entrepreneurs of color.

How do you deal with rejection? As an Architecture major (initially) and a Graphic Design major, critiques were a daily part of my training in undergrad. I learned at a young age how to separate my personal value from the opinions of others. Everyone has different taste and I put more emphasis in trying to capture my clients’ style than trying to force my own upon them. Therefore “rejection” to me isn’t personal, its merely a statement that I need to do a better job of learning my client and communicating their vision.

When you have down time how do you like to spend it? Travel and spend time with friends. I hardly ever watch TV or go the movies, so a day of vegging out and catching up on Scandal is always nice as well.


What was your most memorable HBCU memory? SGA Bus Trips! FAMU’s SGA, Presidential Ambassadors, and Royal Court traveling to cities all over the country to support our football team, host recruitment fairs, and represent our beloved university to prospective students. These trips bonded us for life and gave me the best network an HBCU graduate could ever have -Priceless!

In leaving is there any advice you have for budding HBCUpreneurs?Do your research, align yourself with other entrepreneurs, build plans knowing there is always a “subject to change” footnote. Pray about your passions and ask the Lord to guide you where He wants you to be. He will place people in your path who will help you get there and you will have joy working in your purpose. Remain humble and accept help from people who have a genuine desire to help you. No one makes it to where they need to be alone. Be patient with yourself and your dream, but set milestones to encourage yourself along the way. Be slow to take offense, but know when to end the pursuit of certain opportunities and clients that drain you. A sinking ship saves no one.

Fear will be something you constantly have to overcome. Don’t be afraid to make a “wrong” decision as long as you know how to follow up with a decision to correct it…for this is how you learn what works and doesn’t work. Not everyone has the stomach for entrepreneurship life, but you have to learn how to listen to and follow your gut. There will be periods of discomfort, but as long as you apply commonsense and wisdom, they won’t last forever. Align your sights as best you can and pull the trigger. The only way to test your wings is to jump, but make sure your wings are in the best condition before you do.

HBCU MONEY™ wants to sincerely thank Ms. Makya Renée for taking the time with us here at The HBCUpreneur Corner™. 

HBCU Money™ Business Book Feature – The Buy Side: A Wall Street Trader’s Tale of Spectacular Excess


The Buy Side, by former Galleon Group trader Turney Duff, portrays an after-hours Wall Street culture where drugs and sex are rampant and billions in trading commissions flow to those who dangle the most enticements.  A remarkable writing debut, filled with indelible moments, The Buy Side shows as no book ever has the rewards – and dizzying temptations – of making a living on the Street.

Growing up in the 1980’s Turney Duff was your average kid from Kennebunk, Maine, eager to expand his horizons. After trying – and failing – to land a job as a journalist, he secured a trainee position at Morgan Stanley and got his first feel for the pecking order that exists in the trading pits.  Those on the “buy side,” the traders who make large bets on whether a stock will rise or fall, are the “alphas” and those on the “sell side,” the brokers who handle their business, are eager to please.

How eager to please was brought home stunningly to Turney in 1999 when he arrived at the Galleon Group, a colossal hedge-fund management firm run by secretive founder Raj Rajaratnam.  Finally in a position to trade on his own, Turney was encouraged to socialize with the sell side and siphon from his new broker friends as much information as possible.  Soon he was not just vacuuming up valuable tips but also being lured into a variety of hedonistic pursuits.  Naïve enough to believe he could keep up the lifestyle without paying a price, he managed to keep an eye on his buy-and-sell charts and, meanwhile, pondered the strange goings on at Galleon, where tens of millions were being made each week in sometimes mysterious ways.

At his next positions, at Argus Partners and J.L. Berkowitz, Turney climbed to even higher heights – and, as it turned out, plummeted to even lower depths – as, by day, he solidified his reputation one of the Street’s most powerful healthcare traders, and by night, he blazed a path through the city’s nightclubs, showing off his social genius and voraciously inhaling any drug that would fill the void he felt inside.

A mesmerizingly immersive journey through Wall Street’s first millennial decade, and a poignant self portrait by a young man who surely would have destroyed himself were it not for his decision to walk away from a seven-figure annual income, The Buy Side is one of the best coming-of-age-on-the-Street books ever written.

HBCU Money™ Dozen 7/21 – 7/25


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.


Inside the quantum experiment that splits reality l New Scientist

California sees IT shifting to IBM-built cloud l Computerworld

5 Ways to Use Social Media to Boost Your Career Prospects l CIOonline

Apple is losing its grip as the top tablet company l Computerworld

Business Leaders Know: Let in the Smartphones, Tablets, Laptops l CIOonline

Once a National Security Mandate, Now a National Asset, too l Livermore Lab

Federal Reserve, Central Banks, & Financial Departments

Read about opportunities and challenges for U.S. businesses in Latin America l St. Louis Fed

Lifting ban on crude oil exports could lower U.S. pump prices l Dallas Fed

Want to know more about prepaid cards? Read this Personal Finance 101 l Econ Lowdown

Federal Reserve Payments Study Provides Further Details on Domestic Payments l Federal Reserve

1 in 6 homes still seriously underwater as home price growth slows l Housing Wire

Personal finance and economics teachers: We have lessons, videos and more l Econ Lowdown

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

The HBCU Money™ Weekly Market Watch

Our Money Matters /\ July 25, 2014

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


African American Publicly Traded Companies

Citizens Bancshares Georgia (CZBS) $8.78 (0.92% UP)

M&F Bancorp (MFBP) $5.00 (2.04% UP)

Radio One (ROIA) $4.75 (2.06% DN)

African Stock Exchanges

Bourse Regionale des Valeurs Mobilieres (BRVM)  237.26 (0.48% DN)

Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE)  9 223.87 (0.09% UP)

Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE)  2 294.03 (6.94% UP)*

Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE)  151.42 (N/A)

Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) 51 550.17 (0.14% DN)

International Stock Exchanges

New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) 10 982.51 (0.51% DN)

London Stock Exchange (LSE)  3 619.34 (0.42% DN)

Tokyo Stock Exchange (TOPIX)  1 281.35 (0.90% UP)


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10 People We Wish Were HBCU Presidents

With so many HBCU presidents resigning and retiring we thought it would be a good idea to put together a list of people we here at HBCU Money would like to see take the helm as an HBCU president. HBCUs have been notorious for recycling presidents and thinking very inside the box when it comes to choosing leadership. Our list is anything but inside the box. The criteria for our list included a mixture of strong organization leadership and management, network access that they could tap into for fundraising and policy influence, high achievement background, and ultimately the ability to take our institutions to new plateaus of connectivity to the African Diaspora. Who are some that you would like to see lead an HBCU and why?

MR. KOFI ANNAN – The former secretary general of the United Nations from Ghana served two full terms as the man in charge of the organization that oversees the world’s nations. Needless to say he has the pedigree and connections that an HBCU would drool over. It takes a powerful and humble person to balance the needs, interest, and egos of countries. He would instantly raise the global profile of any HBCU he took the helm of and his strong connections on the continent of Africa would be an amazing asset for building the institutional bridge for HBCUs to Africa.

MS. KIMBERLY BRYANT  – If the early 20th century was the industrial revolution, then the early 21st century will be known as the technological revolution. In an effort to ensure African Americans do not miss out on it there might not be a more important voice than the founder of Black Girls Code. Teach the babies is always a resounding mantra among African American activist, but this is real activism. The doer she is has African American girls coding and engaging the STEM field on a level unmatched. Her connections and understanding of building a strong organization from the ground up and technology connections make her a powerful leader than an HBCU could use.

MR. FRED SWANIKER – Another Ghanian making waves. His pedigree alone as a McKinsey alum makes means he could probably fix or accelerate any HBCU in five minutes (hyperbole intended). Coming from arguably the world’s most prominent consulting firm he is use to solving problems and implementing sound long-term strategy. He has also been a serial entrepreneur and founded the African Leadership Academy, a boarding school in South Africa. Did we mention he is only 34?

DR. CONDOLEEZA RICE – By far the most controversial choice on our list. She was HBCU Digest founder J.L. Carter, Sr’s choice for the next president of Howard in an editorial piece for the publication. Whether it is Howard or another HBCU there is no denying Dr. Rice’s network. Put the politics aside, she is a brilliant woman who has ascended to powerful positions in ways that very few African Americans have under not one, but two presidents. She has a global profile and is an expert on Russia, which would come in handy for any HBCU looking to develop its international programs.

MRS. TERI WILLIAMS COHEE – The co-founder, chief operating office and senior vice president at the nation’s largest African American owned bank. After taking over a small Boston bank she helped build OneUnited bank into the only African American bank with a national footprint. She understands the importance of tying African American institutions together. Currently, there are only two HBCUs (Roxbury Community College & Florida Memorial University – both with OneUnited) that bank with African American owned banks. We are sure this would change in a hurry with Mrs. Cohee at the helm of an HBCU. She has a rich financial background and would certainly have any HBCU she is at the reigns of in top financial shape – even the financial aid department.

DR. NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON – STEM here, STEM there, STEM everywhere. We have already mentioned how important STEM has become and there might not be a higher profile African American in STEM than Dr. Tyson. He has spoken before congress on numerous occasions to increase funding to NASA programs and other STEM R&D programs. An opportunity to create an elite research program, recruit and develop strong STEM faculty, and develop cutting edge programs would definitely be to any HBCU’s favor.

MR. DAVID LAMMY – Here come the British. The first of two Afro-Britons make our list. In 2008, he was considered the eighth most powerful Afro-Briton male. At one point he was the UK’s Minister for Innovation, Universities, and Skills. He could open up recruitment for an HBCU to tap into the recruitment of Afro-Briton pipeline. Also, he founded and chairs programs to address improvement and development of black fatherhood initiatives. Bringing such an initiative here with his connections could bring in much needed research funding to an HBCU focused on community and social development.

LADY PATRICIA SCOTLAND – Our second Afro-Briton on the list and at one time the Guardian’s most powerful black woman in the UK. She has strong connections in the Caribbean where her family has a rich land ownership history. Her background as a family law attorney and judge in the UK has allowed her to rub elbows with Britain’s affluent, which would bring in much needed funding to an HBCU that she presided over. Her time as a minister of state like the aforementioned Mr. Lammy gives her strong organizational management skills to oversee a college and give it direction.

LT. GENERAL THOMAS BOSTICK – The head of almost 37 000 civilian and military engineers just may know how to run a high pressured organization. That is what Lt. General Bostick does as the head of Army Corps Engineers. The ACE has a R&D division meaning it is constantly trying to remain at the cutting edge of engineering development. Any HBCU with a strong engineering history or wanting to develop one should put in a call. Having access to funding from the department of defense would not hurt either.

DR. MICHAEL BLAKEY – Having oversaw the African Burial Ground National Monument project where they discovered the remains of 400 men and women and traditions associated with West Africa while at Howard University. He knows, loves, and appreciates the HBCU culture, but recognizes that there are changes that need and must be made to ensure HBCUs are at the forefront of the next generation.