Tag Archives: entrepreneurship

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.

HBCU Money™ Business Book Feature – The 10% Entrepreneur: Live Your Startup Dream Without Quitting Your Day Job


Choosing between the stability of a traditional career and the upside of entrepreneurship?
Why not have both?

Becoming a full-time entrepreneur can look glamorous from the outside. Who doesn’t want to chase their dreams, be their own boss, and do what they love? But the truth is that entrepreneurship is often a slog, with no regular hours, no job security, and very little pay.

What if there was a way to have the stability of a day job with the excitement of a startup? All of the benefits of entrepreneurship with none of the pitfalls? In The 10% Entrepreneur, Patrick McGinnis shows you how, by investing just 10% of your time and resources, you can become an entrepreneur without losing a steady paycheck.

McGinnis details a step-by-step plan that takes you from identifying your first entrepreneurial project to figuring out the smartest way to commit resources to it. He shows you how to select and engage in projects that will provide you with upside outside the office while making your better at your day job. He also profiles real-world 10% Entrepreneurs such as…
•Luke Holden, a cash-strapped recent college graduate, who started his own lobster-roll empire and oversaw much of its first year of operations, all while working full time in corporate America
•Dipali Patwa, a designer and mom whose side project designing and selling infant clothing is now a sensation.
•A group of friends who met at a 6am Bible study class and went on to start a brewery that now generates millions in sales .

A successful 10% Entrepreneur himself, McGinnis explains the multiple paths you can follow to invest your cash, time, and expertise in a start-up—including as a founder, angel, adviser, or aficionado. Most importantly, you don’t have to have millions in disposable income to become a 10% Entrepreneur. When you put McGinnis’s 10% principles into action, you’ll quickly start racking up small wins, then watch as they snowball into your new (and far more entrepreneurial) life.

The HBCUpreneur Corner – Howard University’s Michiel Perry & Black Southern Belle


Name: Michiel Perry

Alma Mater: Howard University

Business Name & Description:  Black Southern Belle, Lifestyle Brand Focused on Showcasing Weddings, Fashion, Home Decor, Food and all things Southern!

What year did you found your company? 2015

What has been the most exciting and/or fearful moment during your HBCUpreneur career?  Deciding to do Black Southern Belle full time versus part time. I knew this was something that needed a full time role, but I also had a mortgage and a husband. It all worked out, but not without some serious scary days.

What made you want to start your own company? I was planning my wedding in Charleston, SC where I am from and decorating my home in Maryland and looking for lifestyle inspiration that was both African American and Southern. After looking with little success I realized this needed to exist and started Black Southern Belle.

Who was the most influential person/people for you during your time in college? I had a constitutional law professor who went above and beyond. He let me miss classes for internship interviews and even passed along my information to senior level executives. From him I learned the value of helping people who aren’t even asking.

How do you handle complex problems? As I am a hot head, I often handle complex problems by first relaxing and then reaching out to my mom or husband who are much more calm than I am and often view something very differently than I would.

What is something you wish you had known prior to starting your company? To reach out to my personal contacts more. I built a large network from my past careers but was afraid to reach out as to seem like an opportunist, but so many people I reach out to want to help even more than I ever thought they would. If you are genuine about your business and really want to make the relationship mutual most people want to help you row.

Some would say that today’s playing field is more leveled with media companies like yours not having to focus on print and being able to be exclusively digital. Do you think that is true and do you have any plans to do anything with print? I would agree. You can grow your brand digitally pretty quickly, you don’t even need a website at this stage, just a large Facebook or Instagram following can help you grow. Just build an audience and the business will come. I have a tech/digital background. The main print I deal with is stationery. If I did something print it would be a partnership, not just myself. I love paper but not enough to launch a magazine but I appreciate those who fulfill that goal as I have more subscriptions than I like to tell my husband.

Pinterest has had a significant impact on lifestyle sharing and your company is very active there. What do you think has allowed that platform to set itself apart from all others in that respect? I think it grabs your attention and is beautiful. It’s first focus was the beauty and then technology which is rare to see.  Often times tech comes first then aesthetics but Pinterest took a different approach.


We often talk about the need for African Americans to manufacture more products. Being a lifestyle company affords you all to potentially engage a myriad of products with your own brand attached. Do you think this is something your company will pursue? Or are there other avenues of opportunity that you feel are unexplored by lifestyle companies? I love products and I love supporting small businesses. I currently have a signature product line of select items and would love to grow that business more with partners. I think there are so many opportunities and I am all about partnering to help not only myself but other brands grow.

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 say they can develop mentoring programs for students who want to be entrepreneurs. Like develop an alum system for entrepreneurs like myself to help current students. I also think adding it to the curriculum is an important thing. We already have the network, just need to utilize it more.

How do you deal with rejection? I have always had roles building partnerships and relationships. Most of the time you hear no. I am very used to it. Often times no is temporary and not because of you but because of other factors. I say no is just for now, not permanent so there is really no true rejection in my opinion just bad timing.

When you have down time how do you like to spend it? Antique shopping and watching historical documentaries. I am a serious history buff.

What was your most memorable HBCU memory? Having a Howard Alum find me on the first day of my internship on Capitol Hill. Howard Alum are crazy and will always find you. I do that now and I hope it makes the students feel as special as I did that day.

In leaving is there any advice you have for budding HBCUpreneurs? Take the risk and do full time if you can. If you can’t, don’t be afraid to outsource some work to keep your business growing. Just because you can’t do it full time doesn’t mean it can’t be done but you should find the resources to move forward.


The HBCUpreneur Corner™ – North Carolina A&T’s La’Tisha Price & EducateDancer

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Name: La’Tisha Price

Alma Mater: North Carolina A&T State University

Business Name & Description: EducateDancer Studio, Dance studio and apparel for ages 2-Adult

What year did you found your company? My company was founded June 20, 2014.

What has been the most exciting and/or fearful moment during your HBCUpreneur career? The most exciting moment of my HBCUpreneur career has been the opening of my studio. It has been 3 months and God has blessed this studio with amazing things! The most fearful moment would have to again be the opening of my studio. It takes a lot to make sure you stay relevant and constantly growing your clientele as well as challenging your students so that they continue to grow.

What made you want to start your own company? I have always wanted a dance studio. Dance is is something that I love whether I am the performer or behind the scenes. I also love education and the growth and development of people. These two things combined make me the happiest woman on Earth. I believe in having multiple sources of income as well as working for myself. I always knew I would go into business for myself, I just wasn’t sure what it would be.

Who was the most influential person/people for you during your time in college? The most influential people for me throughout college has to be my 3 mentors, Dr. Kenneth Ruff, Ms. Tiffany Brown, and Ms. Akua Matherson. My mother put me in the best hands possible and these three people truly molded me into a wonderful performer and woman. I struggled with balancing school and dance, I struggled with social ridicule from others, and these three kept me focused. They pushed me to my full potential and I am forever grateful for them.


How do you handle complex problems?  I am faced with complex problems all that time. I first take a second to breathe and think things through. I always keep a positive mindset because negative thinking will limit you. I like to include the thoughts and perspectives of my closest friends so that I can have something to compare my thoughts to and then I make my decision. Honestly, “you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do” as they say! As long as the ending result is ethical and moral, I make sure I solve the problem so I can move on to the next.

What is something you wish you had known prior to starting your company? I wish I would have known more of the legal information. I think that is the hardest part to figure out because it’s a lot of phone calls, paperwork, trademarking, it can get hectic. Starting out most business owners don’t have the money for lawyers, accountants, etc. I don’t want to take out any loans because I am still paying student loans. So I had to figure out a lot of information on my own and some stuff I learned late, but better now than never.

How do you see Misty Copeland’s presence on the ballet landscape impacting your business? and African American participation both as participants and viewers in ballet overall? I think every black dancer has an admiration for Misty Copeland. It’s the same with education, our hair, our actresses, our culture! Whenever we see an African American woman accomplishing a major goal we automatically idolize them. Its beautiful! Ballet is French and a lot of African American woman don’t receive the acknowledgement that they should for excelling in the field. I work really hard to make sure that my young dancers are not simply “whipping and hitting the quan”. It’s okay because I appreciate our culture of fun dances, but to be a well-rounded dancer they need training, ballet training!! We have a lot of black dance studio’s that train African American ballet dancers, for example; Debbie Allen has a dance studio that is packed with African American (young) ballet students. It’s a beautiful thing to witness and I am so happy to be a part of the contribution with my own studio.

Being both an instructor and CEO/President of the company has to come with some challenges. What has been your biggest help in managing both roles? The biggest challenge is having time for me. Outside of being the CEO and an instructor, I also have a full-time job as an EC Assistant and Job Coach at a high school. I am also engaged to be married. I have a lot of things going on and sometimes it is overwhelming for me to juggle all of these different things. However, I enjoy being a woman that wears many hats.

What do you believe are some of the biggest headwinds facing the ballet industry as a whole in the coming decade? I’m not sure what some of the biggest issues are facing ballet, I am more invested in HBCU Dance.

Where do you see your company in ten years?  In 10 years, I would like to see about 4-5 EducateDancer Studios around North Carolina with a structured curriculum! I would like to provide dance scholarships and send more dancers and students to HBCU’s.

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? It would be great to bring more entrepreneurs to HBCUs to speak, hold conferences, workshops, etc. I have nothing against corporate America and working a 9-5; However, I feel as if that is the ONLY thing you do, you are limiting yourself. Someone is in charge of your paycheck, someone is in control of your promotion. We have so many discrimination issues towards women and race, I don’t even feel comfortable working for someone and honestly believing that I would grow within that company. We should push for more entrepreneurs, even if you do work a 9-5. Have something to call your own.

How do you deal with rejection? I handle rejection very well. I’m a dancer and I am used to criticism and rejection because that happens in this business. I also have a close enough connection with God to know that he will give me what I need and he won’t let me walk into something that is not for me.

When you have down time how do you like to spend it? When I have down time I love to spend it with my fiancé! He is honestly the best person I have ever met in my life! We have so much fun together and I am so in love that I just can’t think of anyone else that I would want to be around. We both love to have fun, so it’s a guaranteed fun time when I’m with him.

What was your most memorable HBCU memory? My most memorable HBCU memory was dancing with Golden Delight throughout my entire college career.

In leaving is there any advice you have for budding HBCUpreneurs?The best advice that I can give is “Don’t Quit!” I often have to tell myself the same thing. When I had the opening of my studio I asked all my friends that attended to write a special note to me and to put it inside of this little box. Whenever I get sad, or feel like I cant make it anymore I read one of their notes about “how proud they are” or “how this is so amazing for so many little girls” and I keep going. So if anything, DO NOT QUIT!

HBCU Money™ Business Book Feature – The Educated Franchisee: The How-To Book for Choosing a Winning Franchise


The Educated Franchisee will show you:

-How owning a franchise can create wealth

-Where to find quality franchisors

-What qualities franchisors look for

-How to gather information from franchisees

-How to make sure the franchise makes money

-How to confidently select the best franchise

-The five keys to success in owning a franchise