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Black News Channel’s Chairman J.C. Watts Discusses BNC’s Deep HBCU Ties & FAMU Partnership


In a recent interview with Bold TV, Chairman of Black News Channel, J.C. Watts, discusses his plans for the coming launch of the new television channel that seeks to focus on a myriad of topics from culture, religion, politics, economics, and more that cover the diverse range of African America’s views on topics. Chairman Watts emphasizes that this will be a channel for African Americans and by African Americans. Just how far that is to go though we will discuss later on in the article.

Starting at the 8:50 mark in the video, Chairman Watts discusses with Ms. Sheffield, Founder of Bold TV, the important relationship that Black News Channel will seek to build with HBCUs and just how much content there is available within those institutions alone. A statement that should be not underappreciated given that BNC is going to attempt to be a 24/7 news channel. While the plan a few years ago was for BCN to be housed on the campus of Florida A&M University, the company has shifted its focus on making the FAMU School of Journalism a target school for BCN with internships, curriculum engagement, and employment opportunities upon graduation.

The company features a host of Rattler alumnae. Mr. Amir Windom, a rising star in media circles will be the Director of Creative Services. It also features Ms. Georgia Dawkins, who will serve as Director of HBCU Services. Lastly, the Director of Corporate Business Development is Ms. Erika Littles.

Ms. Sheffield brings up just some of the larger outlets in the landscape that currently stands in African American targeted media like The Root, Black Entertainment Television, NBC Black, OWN, TV One, and questions aloud where BCN will find its place among the field.

However, a point that was not brought up and should always be at the forefront of our minds when new products are launched that target African America is who actually is profiting from our eyeballs. We are often providing the labor and the viewership in many instances while reaping none of the economic rewards that comes with ownership and ultimately the control of the narrative. BET is owned by Viacom, NBC is owned by Comcast, The Root is owned by Univision, which itself is owned by very Eurocentric private equity firms, and even OWN, the channel beloved by Oprah followers, is majority owned by Discovery Communications. On the website for Black News Channel, while Chairman J.C. Watts is listed as a co-founder, the other co-founder is Bob Brillante. What is the potential ownership split? There are seven other owner/investors listed on the company’s website, but what each individuals stake is remains unclear. As a private company, they are certainly not required by any means to disclose this information, but it would certainly go a long way to endorsing just how much of an African American “owned” media asset this actually is.

There is a harsh reality that the majority of sizeable media assets focusing on African Americans is not in the ownership hands of African Americans. The Washington Post reported that in 2013, “African American ownership remains particularly low, hovering at less than one percent of all television properties, and less than 2 percent of radio.” This is certainly not to say that Black News Channel will not have an impact. It is projected to employ almost 100 people, many of them being HBCU alumni and students as we have already seen in key positions, but we must push the envelope further. We need more investment in publications that are owned by our community like HBCU Digest, Atlanta Black Star, HBCU Gameday and many others.  Traditional media is not dying, it is evolving (and consolidating into the hands of a few) and has already done so in major ways. Unfortunately, we are often lacking the resources to keep up despite our ingenuity.

We appreciate that the Black News Channel makes it a point to be transparent about their ownership, hope that they will be an inclusive platform to smaller African American owned publications looking to establish themselves, and definitely continue to integrate itself within the many schools of journalism that HBCUs have and the richness that those assets can bring to the table.

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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

A Patent Created Is A Million Earned: HBCUs Are Not Keeping Pace In The Intellectual Property Arms Race Among American Colleges


“Necessity…the mother of invention.” – Plato

How did David beat Goliath, then go on to become a “Goliath” himself? With a rock, pebble, or stone depending on who is telling the story. However, it is truly what that piece of Earth hurling towards his enemy from his cache represented that is often most lost in the story. After all, most stories in the Bible are parables and in this case, while David gets all of the glory, it was truly the slingshot that was the star. The slingshot represented an idea, ingenuity, and research all at the same time. It was a representation of how even the smallest solutions can tackle the biggest problems and for David, the riches represent what is awarded to those who dare go after them.

What is a patent? According to the definition provided by the World Intellectual Property Organization, “A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is a product or a process that provides, in general, a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem. To get a patent, technical information about the invention must be disclosed to the public in a patent application.”

From 1969 to 2012, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office granted 75,353 to America’s colleges and universities. However, during that same period HBCUs were granted an apathetic 101 patents, an amount less than one percent (0.13% to be exact) is a telling story of just one of the factors that hold back HBCUs financial sustainability. In the past twenty years alone since the turn of the 21st century, patents to colleges and universities have increased from 1,307 to 5,898, an almost five fold increase. In the same time period, the value of the revenue from those patents has also seen a meteoric rise to the tune of a 1,700 percent increase in value from $130 million annually to a staggering $2.2 billion annually. This does not even factor in the societal relevance that these institutions beget as a result. Can you imagine the financial and social impact that comes with being the college who invented the seat belt (Cornell University) or an even more well known invention, Gatorade (University of Florida)? The latter has earned the University of Florida over $1 billion in royalties alone. Even more to the point of colleges and universities profiting handsomely from intellectual property, according to an article in IP Watchdog in 2017, “a judge ordered Apple to pay the University of Wisconsin $506 million for infringing one of its tech patents. Last year, Carnegie-Mellon University won $750 million in a patent infringement lawsuit against Marvell Technology Group.” Those two settlements alone are worth fifty percent of all HBCU endowments combined. Needless to say, this is an arena that HBCUs need to make inroads into if survival and sustainability are long-term goals for our institutions.

PATENTS BY HBCU (1969-2012)

  1. Howard University – 18
  2. Morehouse School of Medicine – 17
  3. Florida A&M University – 16
  4. North Carolina A&T State University – 12
  5. Hampton University – 10
  6. Spelman College – 6
  7. Jackson State University – 4
  8. North Carolina Central University – 4
  9. Meharry Medical College – 3
  10. Tuskegee University – 2
  11. Alabama A&M University – 1
  12. Alabama A&M University Institute – 1
  13. Alcorn State University – 1
  14. Charles R. Drew University of Medicine – 1
  15. Claflin University – 1
  16. Delaware State University Foundation – 1
  17. Fort Valley State College – 1
  18. Shaw University – 1
  19. Virginia State University – 1
  20. Bowie State University – 1*

For all of the creativity that our culture has and exist on our campuses from faculty to students and more, there is little if any at times from administrations and alumni when it comes to finding creative solutions to our financial issues. Since desegregation took root in our institutions and began to gut them, a financial crisis has been brewing and its presence shows up every time we see another HBCU close its doors and even more starkly today in the amount of student loan debt HBCU graduates finish with as a result of poor endowments. HBCUs have taken on a what has seemingly become a check to check mentality in dealing with its financial viability. Instead of investments in R&D and entrepreneurship (Can HBCUs Produce Billionaires?), which is where the nation’s wealth has truly been generated for colleges and their alumni, we have seen far too many HBCUs and their alumni seemingly double down on being dependent on tuition revenue, make poor investments in athletics with no real return possible, focusing their students on getting jobs not creating them, and at times a feeling of lip service in relation to developing stronger pre-alumni and alumni programs that would strengthen giving.

It begs the question where do we go from here? How do we get administrations to ensure that intellectual property & patent development is a stronger part of its focus and how do we get alumni to give their time and money in a way that compliments and assist HBCUs in the infrastructure needed for said development? And ultimately, how do we turn our campuses into intellectual property machines? Let us examine, just a few points (but certainly not limited too) what HBCUs and their alumni could do to unleash its intellectual prowess:

First and foremost, we have to look at our research, patent development, and the like from a holistic viewpoint, meaning that anyone and any department on campus can be engaged in this process. That means everyone from the traditional route of professors and researchers to students to staff to cafeteria workers or lawn and building maintenance. Everyone must be part of this and everyone must be mentally engaged and present. A patent can come from anywhere and for us it needs too. For example, Paul Quinn a few years ago eliminated salt and pork from its campus, but what if a cafeteria worker created a way to still “salt” a product or their farm created a method by which you could raise a pig that does not adversely impact a human’s health. This would become an extremely valuable intellectual property that could be commercialized into a company that the school had an ownership stake in or licensing it out to major food companies and receiving royalties the way the University of Florida does with Gatorade to this very day.

Second, campuses need an intellectual property czar and department. Yes, create a position whose only job it is to promote, oversee, and help develop intellectual property. Their job would be to help ease the process, especially for the likes of students and staff who may not be as familiar with the process as professors, but even with professors helping ease the burden of the process would go a long way. The czar and department would be charged with identifying potential customers and creating commercial relationships where the intellectual property maybe of value. They would also assist in bringing in intellectual help if an idea is being developed but the technology or expertise to bring it to bear is not available on the campus. Perhaps, a relationship with a local software company or factory lends itself to the completion of the patent or intellectual property. Also finding opportunities where intellectual focus can financially benefit the school. An example of this would be the X Prize Foundation, where in 1996 for instance a businessman and entrepreneur offered a $10 million prize to the first privately financed team that could build and fly a three-passenger vehicle 100 kilometers into space twice within two weeks. Participating in these not only has potential financial benefits, but also raises the profile of the institution.

Thirdly, community and alumni access. Allowing the use of this broadens the probability that ideas and opportunities will come to the schools themselves and serve as a potential repository. Imagine for instance had Tuskegee been setup in such a way that when Lonnie Johnson, the Tuskegee alum who invented the Super Soaker, was able to come back to the school, use some of its resources, get assistance, etc. in exchange for a percentage of future or potential royalties. In 2013, he was awarded almost $75 million alone in royalties from Hasbro. An amount that is well over half of Tuskegee’s assumed endowment. Community access would also include summer camps to engage K-12 children in thinking as problem solvers. In other words, also developing the pipeline of intellectual property creators of tomorrow is integral.

Lastly, alumni must donate to create time for this all to be possible. How many HBCU professors can sit on campus for a semester, not teach, and simply focus on research? Very few, if any. How many students could stay on campus over the summer and experiment? Again, very few, if any. In fact, one of the primary problems that HBCU campuses have over summers is shutting down facilities in an effort to save money instead of opening them up for use to their professors, staff, students, and even the community. Those summer camps for K-12, which can lead to future HBCU students. Again, they need support and funds. Alumni must supply the funds to keep the lights on. Summertime is not a time to shutdown, but a time to have an opportunity to do the out of the box things that perhaps the semester schedules bog down. That can not happen without a targeted focus and strategic giving by alumni.

Patents, intellectual property, and the financial benefits that come with them currently are largely aligned with some of the nation’s largest endowments should come to no surprise to anyone who follows higher education finance. The top five producing patent colleges and universities between 1969-2012 (2018 endowment rank in parentheses), University of California (12) has 7,488 patents, MIT (6) has 4,017 patents, Stanford University (4) has 2,403 patents, CIT (34) has 2,365 patents, and the University of Texas (3) has 2,321 patents. In fact, these five schools have a combined endowment value of $51.5 billion as of 2018. Is there primary revenue from patents? Certainly not, but is the money insignificant? Also, certainly not. For HBCUs though, it could be life saving.

Even the way we engage this process may need to be outside of the normal box. For a lot of schools, even with alumni support, it maybe difficult to implement a program like this. However, one solution could be that the five HBCU conferences take the lead to allow for scale and best use of resources or HBCUs partner with other HBCUs and create a IP consortium and they profit-share. Stronger together. However it has to come together, it must. The financial future of HBCUs is rooted in becoming the problem solvers of today and tomorrow. It is time we focus, harness, and unleash the brilliant minds that constitute our institutions. Our bodies were used to build wealth for others for centuries, it is time to let our minds be the slingshot to our own (financial) freedom.

*Bowie State University was awarded its first patent in 2018.

HBCU Money™ Presents: 2016-2017’s Public HBCU Presidents By Salary/Compensation


HBCU Money’s second annual gathering of presidential salaries at the nation’s public HBCUs.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The highest paid public HBCU presidents’ list is dominated by the SWAC/MEAC who comprise 10 of the 11 highest paid presidents with the MEAC leading the way with six.
  • America’s top 5 paid public university presidents’ compensation ($10.3 million) is more than five times greater than the top 5 paid public HBCU university presidents’ ($2.05 million) on our list.
  • 1890 HBCUs, land-grant institutions, comprise 5 out of the 9 HBCUs present.

Ray Belton Southern Univ. System – $452,000

Austin Lane – Texas Southern University – $437,800

David Wilson Morgan State University – $432,754

Harold Martin North Carolina A&T State Univ. – $380,210

Larry Robinson* Florida A&M University – $347,344

Glenda Baskin-Glover Tennessee State Univ. – $321,596

Mickey Burnim Bowie State University – $318,664

James Clark South Carolina State Univ. – $230,000

Roderick Paige* Jackson State University – $170,387

Elmira Mangum* Florida A&M University – $107,471

Carolyn Meyers* Jackson State University – $90,166

*Partial-year compensation

Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education

Kolors By K Hops Into Rarefied Air By Landing Leaping Bunny Certification


In another milestone for startup cosmetic company Kolors By K, they recently became a recognized company by Cruelty Free International’s Leaping Bunny Program. The program per their website, “is the gold-standard in cruelty-free certification for personal care and household products companies and signifies no animal testing at any stage of product development.” Internationally, there are less than 1,000 companies with such designation. As consumers become more conscious about how the products they consume are made, being an early adopter of Leaping Bunny’s criteria is poised to position Kolors By K as an up and coming leader in the cosmetic industry.

The beauty industry itself seems to just keep going and going like another bunny, growing from $160 billion in sales in 2003 to almost half a trillion in sales today. It is an industry that seems to show no signs of slowing down either, especially with people living longer and the rising middle classes in developing nations, there will be demand on vanity and simply feeling good about oneself that the beauty industry provides. It also does not hurt that this industry is women-centrist as we appear to be entering a golden age of women empowerment. Women who want to conquer the world, look good doing it, and who just happen to be more and more in control of the household incomes the world over. The industry is brimming with opportunity and that is one reason Kolors By K looks poised to leverage this recognition.

We reached out to Kolors By K Founder and CEO Kalauna Carter for comment on her company’s achievement, “To see Kolors By K get the Leaping Bunny Certification really gave us the push to keep going. If you are an entrepreneur and you hand make your products, to have your products Leaping Bunny Certified makes them official, internationally. The certification helps with reaching other potential customers in other countries. To be Leaping Bunny Certified is truly an amazing feeling for my company.” It is clear that Ms. Carter sees this as a moment that could take her company to another level. This just reaffirms the values, strategy, and direction that Kolors By K is setting for its future, which at the moment is shining brighter than ever.