Tag Archives: entrepreneurship

Love & Entrepreneurship: Relationship Therapist Misha Granado On How Spouses & Relationships Impact Entrepreneurs


If you have ever been in a relationship with someone who is an entrepreneur, then you know it can have its fair share of ups and downs. Although most relationships do, there is something unique about those ups and downs when it comes to being with an entrepreneur. We were able to catch up with Misha Granado, an alumnae of Florida A&M University and Prairie View A&M University, who is herself and entrepreneur through her company Love Grows, a relationship consulting firm, to discuss what all comes with loving and living a life with an entrepreneur.

A relationship with an entrepreneur is not for everyone, what “warning” label would you put on entrepreneurs for those considering dating or getting into a relationship with one?

As an entrepreneur you are the only one who truly knows yours schedule, goals and needs for both your professional and personal life. It is imperative to be extremely clear on who you are and the characteristics and qualities that compliment and constrict both you and your goals. Reflect on your previous relationships (historical markers) to identify what does and does not work for you. Also, it is important to be honest with yourself about where you are on your journey.

If you are interested in a relationship, ask yourself, “What type of partner complements me?

  • A fellow entrepreneur? If so, what type of entrepreneur? Someone at the beginning stages (idea)? Growing? Established?
  • An entrepreneur who also has a corporate gig?
  • Someone with a demanding corporate career requiring significant time and dedication outside of the house?
  • Someone with a career with a traditional schedule (M-F) but has an active personal life who is self-sufficient?
  • Someone who is artsy and a free spirit who does not require much ‘hand-holding’ from you?
  • Someone with traditional relationship expectations?

Do you have the resources (time, energy, emotional and mental bandwidth) to co-create and co-nurture a relationship or is a social, casual dynamic more feasible? There is no universal right or wrong answer, only the only right for you. Once you are clear on who you are and your needs have honest, unapologetic conversations with potential partners.

All entrepreneurs are not the same, but what are some baseline ways you believe spouses and significant others can be supportive to their entrepreneur partner?

Significant others and spouses can be supportive to their entrepreneur partner by:

  • Holding the vision of the overall goal(s) – Being an entrepreneur is not easy and there will be many moments where the stress, loses, delays, frustration, fear, anger, despair, panic, etc obscure the vision of your entrepreneur spouse. Having the skill and ability to hold the vision for him/her at all times, but especially in these moments are key. Remind them of their why, the reason they embarked on this journey and all of the ways they will succeed.
  • Informative – Are you knowledgeable about their entrepreneurial endeavors? You do not need to be an expert in the field but showing real interest is very supportive. By having a bit of knowledge of the industry, goals, challenges coupled with knowing your spouse you become a wonderful asset because you can help with troubleshooting, be an empathetic ear, strategize and/or provide support. Of course this varies per entrepreneur. However, some entrepreneurs desire a ‘mental break’ from their work and prefer not to speak business with their spouse, which is okay as well. Knowing your s/o and what they need is another way to be informative.
  • Patient – The entrepreneur life does not follow the trajectory of other fields nor does it provide the ‘comfort and safety.’  On this journey income may vary significantly depending on project, climate, acquisition of clients, etc. Traditional hours do not exist. Sacrifices are the norm. Questioning self seems to be scheduled on the calendar daily. Therefore a s/o who is patient is a welcomed reprieve. Patience varies for each couple.

What are some common issues you see that arise between spouses and entrepreneurs in relationships? How do you believe couples can get ahead of them or best deal with them?

One of the most common issues between spouses and entrepreneurs is unspoken expectations. Each partner has expectations in their head for the other but has never articulated it to each other. As a result, needs go unmet and resentment silently builds meanwhile the partner is oblivious. It is similar to your employer setting goals for you without telling you only for you to discover you did not meet these benchmarks during your annual review. Unspoken expectations are a set up for failure. This is unfair.

The best tool for any relationship is transparency, vulnerability and honesty. For both partners to articulate to each other their expectations, needs and areas where they desire more support. If you do not feel emotionally safe to be vulnerable with your significant other, seek therapy to identify the barriers that serve as a hindrance and gain the tools and healing needed to overcome this barrier.

An entrepreneur sees the world in a very different way than most people. What are the ways spouses can impact how an entrepreneur sees the world?

The relationship one has with self, determines and influences all relationships in their life. In a partnership, especially a romantic relationship due to the intimacy of the space, both parties have the ability to impact each other in a negative or positive manner and this can influence the way partners view self and the world. This is such a delicate space because of the direct access to the heart and mind. A spouse who has unmet/unspoken expectations, resentment, frustrations, etc will knowingly or unknowingly begin to engage in behavior (i.e. passive aggressive, argumentative, petty) that constricts both their partner and the relationship. This behavior increases the entrepreneur’s stress level impacting business, creativity, productivity etc. Whereas, a spouse who is happy with self, articulates their needs and wants, feels fulfilled, supported, loved will demonstrate behaviors (i.e. encouragement, support, joy, happiness, consideration, patience, kindness, etc.) that complement the relationship and their partner. The latter has the ability to change perspectives. When we feel seen, heard and validated we feel inspired, energized and creative all of which are excellent for business.

Women entrepreneurs have an even tougher road ahead of them typically. So for the men/women/partners who love them, what advice would you give specifically to the support and love that will be needed?

Whether it is the entrepreneurial, corporate, artistic or the academic route, unfortunately women are not treated equitably. This adds another layer of stress to the already taxing entrepreneur life. As the partner behind the scenes supporting a woman entrepreneur, perhaps the best way you can support her is by knowing her, implementing and executing what she needs when you know she is stressed, excited, hopeful, disappointed, etc. If you do not know what she needs during these various spaces, ask her directly (when she is not in it). For example:

  • How can I support you when you are scared?
  • What can I do when you are stressed?
  • How do you like to celebrate your wins?
  • What would make your daily routine run smoothly?
  • How can I support your business?

When she needs/wants to vent about something before she begins ask: What do you need from me in this moment? A sympathetic ear? To help strategize a solution? To serve as your hype man? Knowing which role she needs from you is important, because she does not always need you to fix it. Sometimes she just needs to vent to effectively move that stagnant energy through her. Other times she just wants you to listen and validate her feelings.

A relationship is not all about the entrepreneur and in that respect reciprocation is important. How can entrepreneurs, who are often demanding a lot of their significant other/spouse, ensure that they themselves are being good partners?

Make your significant other a priority. The business will always be there. There is always something to do. You can always fill each minute with something for the business. Place weekly dates on the calendar and be fully present. Inquire about your significant other and their life and developments. This is a no business/dumping zone, instead it is a place to renew, restore and reciprocate all of the love and support your partner has and continues to give to you. Invest in your partner as well. Show up for your partner and be fully present. If you are attending an event as his/her/their date, be engaging, light, and attentive. Implement a cut off time where you disconnect from gadgets and connect with each other.  This is also applicable if children are involved. Time is one of your most precious commodities; invest it intentionally with your loved ones.

How can relationship counseling help a spouse and entrepreneur keep a happy and loving relationship?

Therapy always begins with the individual even if you are in a partnership. This is because individuals bring everything with them into the relationship (experiences, values, culture, perspective, emotional wounds, isms, insecurities, fears, family dynamics, beliefs, etc.) and all of these influences and determines the quality of the partnership. Now add the stress of an entrepreneurial journey to the equation and there is plenty of material here for therapy *wink*.

The benefit of therapy is having an objective person who provides a safe space for both parties to explore their emotions, identify expectations, stressors, goals and tools to address each. Therapy allows each person to speak, be heard, seen and validated. Also, therapy provides strategies; tools and techniques the couple can implement to help cultivate a relationship that is nurturing for both parties. Additionally, therapy provides different perspectives which are extremely beneficial in those times where a couple cannot agree. This alternative option may be the very catalyst to re-establishing or establishing a healthy relationship baseline.

You can follow and contact Ms. Granado:

www.mishaNgranado.com

Twitter & Instagram: @lovegrows_misha

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Brother To Brother: Sorry Jarrett, Athletics Can Not Save Us, But Research & Entrepreneurship Can


“And this is going to piss Will off when I say this, but go get a football coach.” – Jarrett Carter

I open this “letter” to my dear brother saying that we have known each other for many years and this debate maybe as old as our friendship. Even I will admit that at one point I too believed that if HBCUs could return to obtainment of our community’s physical talent on the football field and basketball courts that our schools would reap the financial rewards they so desperately need. Unfortunately, Michael Vick, LeBron James nor his son, or the likes of Zion Williamson is walking through our doors anytime soon. Instead, we are going to have to rely on what truly drives the economics and finances of higher education institutions and that is research, entrepreneurship, and good old fashioned Afro-Brain Power.

Let me first address why we have absolutely no chance in sports savings us. I do not mean we have a little chance, I mean we have no chance. None. Zero. Negative zero even. Unfortunately, HBCUs even if LeBron James had gone to one can not fight the shiny uniforms that billionaire boosters like Nike’s Phil Knight rolls out to the University of Oregon every other week or the tens of millions that Kevin Plank the founder of Under Armour has poured into the University of Maryland’s athletic facilities. The former has so much influence in the state of Oregon that when he wanted to build a headquarters dedicated just to football that apparently ran afoul with the state building process – the state changed it. Yes, the state changed it. Both of these programs mentioned until these billionaire boosters got involved were marginal programs at best and are now most would agree significantly better, but by no means powerhouses. Essentially, Knight and Plank have poured over $500 million into these programs combined to take them from the basement of Division 1 college athletics to middle of the pack and sometime contenders. Between these two men, they are worth a combined almost $40 billion. It is safe to say the interest on their wealth alone allows for eight and nine figure donations to their alma maters in perpetuity if they so choose. Ironically or not, both of these men were college athletes who became entrepreneurs and not professional athletes and whose products were essentially developed in their time on campus, but more on this later.

Secondly, the ROI on athletes going pro or schools turning a profit on athletics is just not even worth a paragraph so I will keep this short. The NFL, NBA, and NCAA continues to squeeze HBCUs out of professional sports. HBCUers in the NBA is more a historic statement than current or future one. This year’s list of HBCU alumni in the NFL and their earnings: 22 players representing 16 HBCUs and combining for almost $40 million in earnings, which is the lowest earnings figure since HBCU Money started tracking the data. For perspective, that $40 million is 0.1 percent of Knight and Plank’s combined net worth. To further drive the point home, if Knight and Plank put all of their wealth into a savings account paying 1 percent, it would earn $400 million – ten times what all HBCU players will earn in 2018. Further to the point, because these careers are so short, major donations from these players who have tasted professional glory have been few and far between. I am still waiting on Jerry Rice to make a public donation of the seven figure variety – not a pledge, Jerry – to Mississippi Valley State University. Yet, schools like Prairie View A&M University spend $60 million on a new stadium that struggles to sellout. Lest we forget the almost disaster dome Jackson State University wanted to build at $200 million. If your school does not have access to a major TV network contract, the chances of you making money is almost slim to none and networks offer those contracts because they want to sell advertisements – networks I might add that are not African American owned and represent a media that shows a consistent disdain for our institutions. How do you sell that level of advertisements? Large fan bases, pure and simple math. The University of Michigan or Alabama on any given Saturday can put 100,000 fans in the seats and probably another million plus eyeballs glued to the television screen. HBCUs (individually) do not have that kind of scale nor the means to create it. So much for a short paragraph, but the problem is deep and the solution even deeper. The solution to building sustainable institutions lies in a holistic and committed approach to research and entrepreneurship on HBCU campuses.

HBCUs (and our alumni) for whatever reason have never really committed to research. Even during the days of George Washington Carver at Tuskegee Institute there were rumors that his research was looked at more in passing than integral to the future of the institution. I dare imagine what Tuskegee would be like had Carver or the institution had the patent on peanut butter. The global peanut butter industry is worth an estimated $3 billion as of 2017 and demand is growing at 6 percent annually according to CAGR. An article in the New Yorker reported, “In 2012, American universities earned $2.6 billion from patent royalties, according to the Association of University Technology Managers. The tech-transfer model is entrenched in medical schools and in biotech development.” As noted in our piece about HBCUs and patents, the University of Wisconsin and Carnegie-Mellon University garnered patent settlements in their favor to the tune of $1.2 billion, an amount that is virtually half of all HBCU endowments combined and almost three times what HBCU spend on research.

HBCUs combined have research expenditures of approximately $520.1 million as of 2017 according to the National Science Foundation data, an amount that is 0.7 percent of the $75.3 billion colleges and universities totaled in R&D expenditures. A number that has been declining every year for the past four years and off dramatically from 2014 when expenditures were a combined $547.1 million at HBCUs, a decline of almost 5 percent over the period while the top ten R&D colleges/universities have seen their expenditures rise by almost 20 percent in the same period. There are now 46 individual colleges and universities whose research and expenditures exceed $520 million per year, 12 of them exceeding $1 billion annually, and then there is John Hopkins University that lords over everyone with its $2.5 billion annually in research expenditures. But what does all this investment in research mean to sustainability? For one, it means these schools are institutions that are integral to the intellectual advancement of the nation in every aspect of industry, government, and military. A charge that HBCUs could take on in a very similar fashion for African America and the African Diaspora at large if it wanted to really be aggressive. However, it also takes on the commercialization of research, which ultimately leads to answering the question you my dear brother asked – Can HBCUs Create Billionaires?

In an oldie but goodie article that I published at HBCU Money many years ago called “The University of Power & Wealth”, I asked the question, “What do Google, Time Warner, FedEx, Microsoft, Facebook, and Dell have in common? They were all founded on college campuses. Google founded at Stanford, Time Warner & FedEx at Yale, Microsoft and Facebook at Harvard, and Dell at the University of Texas.” The value of all those firms as of this publication are a combined almost $2.2 trillion. Yes, that is trillion with a T. In addition, the founders of all these companies, except for the now defunct Time Warner which was sold for $85 billion to AT&T, have a combined net worth over $320 billion as of this publication. Some would argue that even the world’s move valuable company, Apple, is the result of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak’s proximity to Silicon Valley, basically a development creation that sprung out of Stanford’s research. Stanford and MIT maybe the nation’s most entrepreneurial colleges and it is no secret that their endowments reflect their innovation.

MIT is a monster or model all in and of itself. The school located in the heart of Boston, MA. has a student population of a little over 11,000 students. It is ranked 14th in the country with $950 million in R&D expenditures and that research combined with entrepreneurial DNA and cultivation shows up in a major way. “A new report estimates that, as of 2014, MIT alumni have launched 30,200 active companies, employing roughly 4.6 million people, and generating roughly $1.9 trillion in annual revenues.” If HBCU entrepreneurs employed 4.6 million African Americans it would be equivalent to employing almost 1 in 4 African Americans that are employed and the $1.9 trillion in revenue would be 50 percent greater than all of African America’s current buying power. MIT is so committed to its entrepreneurial culture in fact that it has even created an accelerator called The Engine to fund these ventures. “Just months after its launch, MIT’s new startup accelerator The Engine yesterday closed its first investment fund for over $150 million, which will support startups developing breakthrough scientific and technological innovations with potential for societal impact.” Can anyone imagine what would come of the ingenuity that our students possess if we had access to startup capital at even a fraction of that amount? Unfortunately, some in leadership want to spend more time bickering about why Michael Bloomberg, John Hopkins alumni and founder of Bloomberg L.P. and net worth of $45 billion, should have given the $1.8 billion he recently donated and some of the $3 billion overall he has donated to John Hopkins to schools who need it more than actually making the investments they can make into their own students, alumni, faculty, and staff so that they can create the next Bloomberg.

Let me also be clear in that last point that this onus is not all, not even remotely the responsibility of administrations who may come and go ultimately, but on alumni. Our alumni and their deference to administrations is part of the problem. Most HBCUs and the communities and towns they are in are underdeveloped and therefore there is millions of dollars that flow from our HBCUs every year from students and the like that could be circulated back. If alumni would invest in the dirt and build infrastructure so that small businesses, entrepreneurship, and capital was available intimately to their own HBCU, it would go a long way in creating communities, businesses, jobs, internships, opportunity, and more.

In closing my dear brother, I say this to you. It is indeed Afro-Brain and intellect that is our key not only to survival but success. Yes, sports pull at our heart strings, but it is not putting anything into our purse strings. Bowie State University obtaining their first patent is amazing, but it needs to go from breaking news to common news. HBCUs can be at the forefront of the new space race, the cure for Alzheimer’s, solving the water crisis in Flint, or the latest best selling apps for smartphones and the like if we truly believe that we can and invest in it like we mean it.

In HBCUs We Trust,

William A. Foster, IV

Houston Super Trainer & HBCU Advocate Marcus Walker Discusses Fitness, Entrepreneurship, And His Staunch Support For HBCUs


To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear. – Buddha

Recent years have seen a boom in the fitness industry among those 40 and under. A desire to be fit, not develop dad bods, and live active lifestyles has seen small gyms popping up all over the country, especially in urban centers. Looking at the numbers of the fitness industry that seems to be just scratching the surface it is not hard to understand the lure for entrepreneurs and investors. According to Statista, “The global fitness and health club industry generates more than 80 billion U.S. dollars in revenue per year. The North American market had an estimated size of more than 28 billion U.S. dollars in 2015, of which 90 percent, around 25.8 billion U.S. dollars, was attributable to the United States. The U.S. is the single biggest market worldwide not only in terms of revenue but in regards to the number of members in health & fitness clubs as well.” This booming industry seems to be just scratching the surface as people’s desire to live longer and more quality lives becomes more and more a societal norm and value. HBCU Money caught up with Marcus Walker, one of Houston, Texas’ premier trainers, who we caught up with in between sessions to talk fitness, the business side, and why he supports HBCUs despite having not attended one.

How can small businesses integrate fitness into their business to ensure they have healthier and productive employees? They can partner with a local trainer to see if they have a plan that would help make the owner and workers aware of living a healthier life. It is no secret that healthy employees call out of work less, work more efficiently, and overall are more productive. From a bottom line perspective alone it is worth small businesses who have to watch every dime to be invested in employees who are healthy and fit.

A second aspect is engaging their customers as well. They could partner with a trainer and run specials for customers who shop with their business. The latter part shows that they care not only about their customers’ business, but their well being. Be more than just a business in the community, be a community partner.

If you could meet with the mayor, governor, or president, what would be your advice on how government can help its citizens achieve healthier lifestyles? I would start by showing them the effects that fast food have on people. Obviously in a city like Houston that is geographically very spread out and has a heavy reliance on cars there is a tendency toward less activity and unhealthy eating as we spend a good deal of our days driving. I would suggest that they create a program focusing on providing favorable small business loans for vegan, gluten-free, and clean eating businesses so that we could have healthier options. The fresher the food, the better it is for you. Replacing those late night fast food chains with healthy options would be a great start.

There are a lot of different avenues to be an entrepreneur within the fitness industry. Where are some areas you feel African Americans are underrepresented or over looking that has opportunity in the industry? We are definitely underrepresented in owning gyms. There are a lot of African American trainers, but not a lot of gym owners. It’s not easy to run a gym, but its doable. It requires hard work, being hands on, and providing an atmosphere that people feel great about being committed too.

How is technology impacting the world of fitness for gyms and trainers? Technology is making gym and training experiences better for all. As a trainer you are allowed the opportunity to train people all over the world by training online. It also has made it possible to make sure clients and gym members keep correct form on certain machines that guide you in the right direction to ensure they are truly maximizing workout efforts. For trainers, it has helped keep their small business running smoothly by offering different apps that do everything from keeping up with clients to filing taxes correctly.

Despite typically being a more active time, health issues like obesity and the like are on the rise at HBCU campuses. A few years ago, Spelman College scrapped its entire athletic program in favor of a campus wise holistic wellness program for all students and Paul Quinn College eliminated pork from its cafeterias. What are some other opportunities you believe HBCUs can help their students be healthy while in college and after? They could offer free seminars on meal prepping, portion control, alternate healthier late night snacks, and drive home the importance of brain food. I also feel like an elective should be required just to bring awareness to being healthy. These students are often returning to family and communities that they can help impart that knowledge on, so it is vital that we give them the information needed.

In closing, you did not attend an HBCU, but have been a staunch advocate over the years. What brought this on and what message would you give to other African Americans who did not attend HBCUs about supporting them? I didn’t attend an HBCU as you said, but as I began to dig deep into our history, I found the importance of HBCUs. I would tell any African Americans to do their best to promote, support, and give to HBCUs. We are some amazing people and we need to support our own. We are all we have.

You can find Marcus Walker training at Houston Muscleheadz Gym. Also follow him on Instagram @MWalker357 to see his Temple Building process.

HBCU Money™ Business Book Feature – Innovation and Entrepreneurship


This is the first book to present innovation and entrepreneurship as a purposeful and systematic discipline that explains and analyzes the challenges and opportunities of America’s new entrepreneurial economy. Superbly practical, Innovation and Entrepreneurship explains what established businesses, public service institutions, and new ventures need to know and do to succeed in today’s economy.

The Vernon Johns Story: Money Is Power Scene


In the Vernon Johns story, this powerful scene shows Reverend Johns trying to explain to his congregation the economic power they can wield in building a strong and vibrant community if they build and own their own institutions. A sentiment that would later be echoed by Martin Luther King, Jr. as he directed African American to move its money into African American owned banks. He also points out the disdain that many communities had (and continue) to have for African Americans, but have no disdain in taking our money. Can we become a self-sufficient people? Just how many things can we not purchase from an African American (Diaspora) company? The scene is powerful and the message still rings as true today as it did then.