Monthly Archives: January 2015

HBCU Money™ Dozen 1/12 – 1/16


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.


Largest-Ever Study Quantifies Value Of Rooftop Solar l Clean Technica

This walking fish could overturn how we think about evolution l New Scientist

Solar Funding Saw Massive Growth In 2014 l Clean Technica

Cooler than cubicles: 18 new designs for the office l Network World

Scientific Report Shows Strong Connection between Wetlands, Streams, Rivers and Estuaries l EPA Research

U.S. awards $40 million for Great Lakes conservation projects l IL-IN Sea Grant

Federal Reserve, Central Banks, & Financial Departments

Cash home sales continue decline, falling 38.7% YOY l Housing Wire

Americans Still Love Cash — And Plenty Of It l PYMNTS

What important role do minority depository institutions play in US financial system? l SF Fed

9 tips for waking up earlier and being more productive l World Economic Forum

Egypt surprises markets by cutting rate 50 bps l Central Bank News

How do startups finance themselves? New survey data finds out. l Atlanta 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.

The HBCU Money™ Weekly Market Watch

Our Money Matters /\ January 16, 2015

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) $8.85 (0.00% UNCH)

M&F Bancorp (MFBP) $4.45 (0.00% UNCH)

Radio One (ROIA) $1.63 (3.16% UP)

African Stock Exchanges

Bourse Regionale des Valeurs Mobilieres (BRVM)  248.73 (0.18% UP)

Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE)  9 525.82 (0.03% DN)

Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE)  2 233.39 (1.22% DN)*

Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE)  166.81 (N/A)

Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) 48 458.25 (0.14% DN)

International Stock Exchanges

New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) 10 609.47 (0.90% UP)

London Stock Exchange (LSE)  3 520.23 (0.65% UP)

Tokyo Stock Exchange (TOPIX)  1 363.73 (0.93% DN)


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The HBCUpreneur Corner™ – Spelman College’s Morgan France-Johnson & Aesthetically Spoken; Lux Creative

AestheticallySpokenLogo2013 LuxLogo

Name: Morgan France-Johnson

Alma Mater: Spelman College C’07

Business Name & Description: Aesthetically Spoken, LLC is a greeting card line that caters to the LGBTQ community; Lux Creative, LLC is a graphic design company that specializes in branding development and marketing materials.

What year did you found your company? Aesthetically Spoken, LLC – January 2012; Lux Creative, LLC – November 2012

What has been the most exciting and/or fearful moment during your HBCUpreneur career? It’s hard for me to list just one moment, as the entrepreneurial journey is one of the most exhilarating roller coasters I have ever been on! However, if I were forced to pick just one exciting moment for Lux Creative, it would be when I secured a business deal with an international brand while living in Dubai, UAE. This accomplishment affirmed that I am as good as I know and believe I am.

Exciting moments for Aesthetically Spoken are centered around the positive feedback I receive from other members of the LGBTQ community whenever they are able to share the perfect heartfelt greeting. As my overarching purpose is to positively impact lives, knowing that people truly appreciate what I do is very exciting for me.

Fear, like excitement, pokes its head up every once in a while. The most fearful moments always occur before my team and I made our most pivotal changes. The common reminder that fear projects lies in the basic concept of Newton’s Law of Relativity: For every action, there is an equal but opposite reaction. At times, we have found that increased vision is met with low visibility, growth with set backs, and opportunity with void. However, the converse is also true— opposition is met with formidability, loss precedes gain and most importantly fear is met with faith!

What made you want to start your own company? Since I could remember I wanted to “start something.” I distinctly remember at the age of 6, watching a news story with my mother about homelessness in Baltimore and afterwards saying, “Mommy, I’m going to ask God to bless me with money so I can build a place for all of the homeless people to live.”

At 6, I knew my purpose. I didn’t know what that was called back then, but I knew I was going to change the world with my ideas. Spelman cultivated my seed and honed the skills that I would need to make my mark on the world.

Who was the most influential person/people for you during your time in college? Honestly, all of my Spelman Sisters. As a native of Baltimore, I had very few experiences with African-Americans with such diverse perspectives and experiences; they gave me glasses to see a world I never knew existed. I’m forever grateful to Spelman and the women I call “Sister.”

How do you handle complex problems? I spend 20% of my effort on the problem. What’s the real issue here? What other areas does this problem affect? And so on. Then I spend 80% of my effort on the solution. I call mentors, read books, search the web, call my attorney. I do what’s necessary to ensure I’ve neutralized the problem and do my best to prevent any recurrences.

What is something you wish you had known prior to starting your company? This journey isn’t for the faint hearted, expect opposition. Stay vigilant and build your personal networks wisely as you’ll need a support system outside of business to ease the disappointments that will occur along the way.

You are the first HBCUpreneur we have had that is operating not one, but two companies at the same time. As an HBCUpreneur operating multiple companies at the same time and those considering it; what can you tell us about the experience, challenges, and advantages of being a multi-CEO? Balancing the complexities of “normal” life while owning and operating one business is difficult. Two businesses requires an intense level of focus, having great teams in place, and having a good support system. I’m reminded of the Shonda Rhimes Stanford graduation speech in which she stated: when you are in charge of multiple entities, home/multiple businesses, you will have to sacrifice. Everything can’t have your attention 100% of the time. You will mess up. You will make mistakes. But it’s all worth it.

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? As a freshman at Spelman, I attended a seminar that prompted me to change my major from Child Development to Economics. That one seminar ultimately changed my entire life. I believe that HBCUs can spur innovation and entrepreneurship by hosting meaningful events that spark creativity while simultaneously educating and supporting individuals who are considering entrepreneurship.

Given the LGBTQ community has an estimated $830 billion in buying power; what are some of the blooming opportunities you believe are on the horizon to HBCUpreneurs looking to provide goods or services to the LGBTQ community in particular? I believe that it is the responsibility of those in the LGBTQ community to assess the market for needs and meet them. Aesthetically Spoken, a card line created specifically for the LGBTQ community was born simply out of need. I found myself in need of a Valentine’s Day greeting card fitting for my same sex significant other. Heteronormative pronouns and insinuations were not fitting; and, as a graphic designer, the inspiration to create an LGBTQ greeting card company derived from this disheartening deficit.

How do you deal with rejection? (chuckle) I keep moving. The year I graduated from Spelman, I joined a network marketing company. (Pre-Paid Legal. Now, Legal Shield) Network marketing is FULL of rejection. We were taught to not take it personally. Once you realize you can take a no and keep moving. You can do anything.

When you have down time how do you like to spend it? Down time?!?! What’s that? I really enjoy spending time with my girlfriend, friends, and family. I enjoy the outdoors, traveling, being active, yet I also enjoy staying in and reading a good book. You’re liable to catch me enjoying life in a variety of ways.


What was your most memorable HBCU memory? Again, there are so many. Most memorable would have to go to standing on the grass on the Spelman Oval, holding the hands of my other Spelman Sisters and speaking my name to the Universe like so many other Spelman Women before me. It was a spiritual experience. That’s when I knew I had made the right choice.

In leaving is there any advice you have for budding HBCUpreneurs? Don’t quit.

African America’s December Jobs Report – 10.4%


Overall Unemployment: 5.6% (5.8%)

African America Unemployment: 10.4% (11.1%)

Latino America Unemployment: 6.5% (6.6%)

European America Unemployment: 4.8% (4.9%)

Asian America Unemployment: 4.2% (4.8%)

Previous month in parentheses.

Analysis: The overall unemployment rate saw a 20 basis point decline. All groups saw declines in their unemployment rates last month with African America experiencing the largest drop of 70 basis points. African America continues to be the only group with double digit unemployment.

African American Male Unemployment: 11.0% (11.2%)

African American Female Unemployment: 8.2% (9.6%)

African American Teenage Unemployment: 33.2% (28.1%)

African American Male Participation: 67.8% (67.1%)

African American Female Participation: 61.2% (62.0%)

African American Teenage Participation: 29.0% (30.3%)

Previous month in parentheses.

Analysis: African American males got a rare combination of declining unemployment and rising participation as the former dropped 20 basis points while the latter rose 70 basis points, respectively. African American females received good news/bad news. Their unemployment rate dropped by 140 basis points, but the more important participation rate also dropped by 80 basis points. African American teenagers suffered a double blow of rising unemployment rate and declining participation rate with the former rising 510 basis points and the latter dropping 130 basis points, respectively.

CONCLUSION: The overall economy added 252 000 jobs in December and brought a close the best year of job growth the country has had in 15 years. African American picked up 93 000 jobs in December to close out 2014 and bringing the total job gains for the year to 812 000. An average of almost 68 000 jobs gained per month. African American females in the labor force showed a significant drop, but number of employed is at its highest in five months, which explains the significant drop in the unemployment rate for the women. African American women continue to be the key driver of economic health in African American households and as they go so goes the African American economy. The Teenage group has seen its ranks of employed drop to its second lowest number in the past five months after rare multi-month run of job gains. A fragile group that remains in crisis. Wages have remained stagnant, but with the collapse in oil prices many non-energy businesses and households are reaping extra income. Just how long they remain low is still up for debate, but could be an opportune time for households to catch up on bills, save some, and buffer for the coming end to seasonal work. African America now needs 101 000 jobs to reach the elusive single digit unemployment rate.

HBCU Money™ Business Book Feature – The Little Book of Common Sense Investing


Investing is all about common sense. Owning a diversified portfolio of stocks and holding it for the long term is a winner’s game. Trying to beat the stock market is theoretically a zero-sum game (for every winner, there must be a loser), but after the substantial costs of investing are deducted, it becomes a loser’s game. Common sense tells us—and history confirms—that the simplest and most efficient investment strategy is to buy and hold all of the nation’s publicly held businesses at very low cost. The classic index fund that owns this market portfolio is the only investment that guarantees you with your fair share of stock market returns.

To learn how to make index investing work for you, there’s no better mentor than legendary mutual fund industry veteran John C. Bogle. Over the course of his long career, Bogle—founder of the Vanguard Group and creator of the world’s first index mutual fund—has relied primarily on index investing to help Vanguard’s clients build substantial wealth. Now, with The Little Book of Common Sense Investing, he wants to help you do the same.

Filled with in-depth insights and practical advice, The Little Book of Common Sense Investing will show you how to incorporate this proven investment strategy into your portfolio. It will also change the very way you think about investing. Successful investing is not easy. (It requires discipline and patience.) But it is simple. For it’s all about common sense.

With The Little Book of Common Sense Investing as your guide, you’ll discover how to make investing a winner’s game:

  • Why business reality—dividend yields and earnings growth—is more important than market expectations
  • How to overcome the powerful impact of investment costs, taxes, and inflation
  • How the magic of compounding returns is overwhelmed by the tyranny of compounding costs
  • What expert investors and brilliant academics—from Warren Buffett and Benjamin Graham to Paul Samuelson and Burton Malkiel—have to say about index investing
  • And much more

You’ll also find warnings about investment fads and fashions, including the recent stampede into exchange traded funds and the rise of indexing gimmickry. The real formula for investment success is to own the entire market, while significantly minimizing the costs of financial intermediation. That’s what index investing is all about. And that’s what this book is all about.