Tag Archives: Howard University

The HBCUpreneur Corner – Howard University’s Najla T. & Good As Green


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Name: Najla T.

Alma Mater: Howard University

Business Name & Description: Good As Green, LLC is a creative vegan food company that provides beneficial superfoods and fresh produce transformed into exotic, gourmet meals. We have provided food for nonprofit organizations and shipped some of our menu items directly to loyal customers, and we host fun brunch and dinner pop-up events.

What year did you found your company? Good As Green, LLC was officially established this year (2016), but I have been providing meals for my clients as a personal trainer since 2014. That’s actually how my company began.

What has been the most exciting and/or fearful moment during your HBCUpreneur career? I have had a company in the past, that I provided media services such as video editing and marketing presentations. That was when I graduated college, as I graduated from the John H. Johnson School of Communications (Old Howard) with a degree in Communication. When I was experiencing an arduous time finding opportunities, I just created my own and freelanced for a while. It was very exciting when I first began and I was doing what I really enjoyed, but it was DIFFICULT and REALLY ROUGH! I had to move back home, save money, work multiple gigs, and work was inconsistent. Although, this time around, I’m much more fulfilled. I’m happy for the inconsistencies and still involved with media, but now as a health and fitness consultant. I was SO afraid to launch Good As Green, especially because of what happened with my first company, but I have such a wonderful support system and so many people encouraged me to take the leap. I was afraid since I didn’t attend culinary school, but people OTHER than my family enjoyed my food and I’ve helped so many people adopt plant-based lifestyles, so the fear subsided. When I launched a pop-up in DC back in September, everything that could go wrong tried to, but it ended up being a successful first event. I was nervous before, during, and after the event! I knew I made the right decision when so many people attended the pop-up, including one of my non-vegan friends all the way from New Jersey, and genuinely enjoyed the food (we are brutally honest up North LOL). People who don’t even like beets enjoyed my Smoky Beets burgers, so I received many requests to deliver and ship them.

One of the most rewarding moments was when I provided breakfast for Run Hope Work, a non-profit organization that provides mentorship and trade certification for Washington, D.C. youth. They were highly apprehensive and skeptical at first, but they really enjoyed the food I provided! I made Sweet Potato French Toast, Smoky Beet Sausage, Good As Home Fries (we use green bananas instead of potatoes), Apple Pie Oatmeal, Loaded Breakfast Burritos, Smoky Arugula Avocado Toast, Alkaline water, and Homemade Hemp Protein Shakes (that they described as vanilla milkshakes). That week that I provided breakfast was confirmation for me because these guys were eating McDonald’s and carryout. Many said they hadn’t eaten “green stuff” before and they really didn’t know if vegan food would taste good. It made me feel good and is my mission. I provide creative whole foods, not just tofu or seitan. I also list the benefits of most of the ingredients I use.

What made you want to start your own company? I really enjoy helping people! The first time, I was forced into creating my own opportunity, but this time around, it’s much more rewarding. As a personal trainer, the most important component that I found my clients struggling with the most was food. Some clients told me straight up, “I’m too lazy to cook.” I didn’t want to waste my time or my clients’ money by allowing them to sabotage themselves, so I did their meal prep for them and all they had to do was add their own meat if interested. So many of my clients never added the meat and were completely satisfied. I then began providing meals for people simply curious about vegan food. I wanted to replicate the feeling I had when people told me that I assisted them in living healthier and so Good As Green began!

Who was the most influential person/people for you during your time in college? It’s really interesting when you attend an HBCU. Most of the time, you really just have to figure things out on your own or make due with what you have. It really prepped me for where I am today. I’ve always been a go-getter, but I’m a lot more resourceful because college helped me learn that.

How do you handle complex problems? I believe meditation is important. It keeps you calm, centered, and assured that there is a solution that you must work to find. I’ve always been good at figuring things out. My mother and grandmother taught me how to research what I didn’t know and try, even if I don’t know exactly how it pan out. Being tuned into the universe helps you KNOW it will all work out.

What is something you wish you had known prior to starting your company? I wish I had known a LOT of things, but I don’t want to focus on those things because I have since figured out ways to correct them and I don’t feel like getting the side eye from fellow business owners, LOL.

Data from Innova Market Insights has shown a 60 percent rise in the number of global food and beverage launches using a vegetarian claim between 2011 and 2015 and vegan google searched have climbed over 30 percent from 2014 to 2015. The vegan lifestyle though has always been around for a long time even if it did not have a name, but what do you believe has caused its recent surge among the American population in the past decade into more mainstream? The funny thing is back in 2011, I predicted this would happen. With the rise in disease diagnoses, people are looking for alternative methods to conventional medicine. People want to live longer and better. Many people do not see the direct link between food and disease. I believe that people became more health conscious when the GMO bill was passed. The United States of America is the most meat-centric country. I believe people were beginning to notice the effects of that. People now see the spike in obesity, heart disease, and cancer and they want to change that. In 2013, when I began a project focused on vegetarianism, people couldn’t see my vision because it wasn’t yet normalized the way it is now. I am happy to see the acceptance of the lifestyle and now we have more and better options (instead of suggesting a simple salad).

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Your business model is certainly unique where you are essentially combining a restaurant, event planning, and clubesque all in one. What was the inspiration and euphoric moment that made you decide on this business model? I know what I like when I go out. I hate that I have to eat first before an event because there probably aren’t going to be any vegan option. I hate that I have to eat AFTER an event, if anything is even open, because there aren’t many options. Most of the restaurants that offer vegan cuisine are fast-food. People assume that vegans are just one way: we all wear clothes from Whole Foods and preach about veganism all day. That’s definitely not me or the vegan friends in my circle!  I enjoy experiences. I enjoy vibing with others and meeting new people.  I decided to offer fun events with healthy, delicious food and beneficial beverages. As Howard Alum, everything is an event! I wanted to creative a dope atmosphere with dope people, good music, and food that just happened to be vegan. Since that was done successfully in September and now that I’m getting inquiries for other cities, I know this is a demand.

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Products are always a way to leverage and grow a company’s visibility and revenue. Do you see Good As Green eventually moving in that direction or will you keep the focus on the core business at hand? At this time, I’m not particularly sure about that, but I am receiving a lot of orders for my Smoky Beet Burgers. This area is still new to me and there are lots of challenges, but it seems to keep Good As Green profitable in-between pop-up events. I’m still perfecting this, but people really seem to love it. My main focus, though, is on my pop-up and other events.

HBCU agriculture or HBCU 1890 schools that operate farms seem like a natural fit for your company. In what ways do you think you could find collaborative ground with them? I hadn’t thought of it until this question. I love bartering and collaborative efforts, especially with HBCUs. I will definitely look into it and gladly accept advice about 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? I am not particularly sure about other HBCUs, and I’m sure they do also, but Howard highly encourages entrepreneurship. Most of our courses required independent projects. As a Broadcast Journalism major, I had to learn ALL the aspects of broadcast production, not just on-air work. I learned about radio production, video production and editing, script writing, and the running of a newsroom. This especially came in handy when I ran my own projects. I would be out on assignment, lugging a camera, microphone, and other equipment, while students from other schools had a crew/team. It definitely came in handy after school! Honestly though, I wish the institution was more supportive of the alumni.

How do you deal with rejection? I reject rejection. I don’t believe in the word “No” when it comes to something I’m passionate about. It’s just not a good fit for you in this particular situation at this particular time. That’s all it means to me.

When you have down time how do you like to spend it? When I have down time, I love going on food adventures because I’m greedy and I don’t consider it “down time,” because I schedule it into my day, but I really enjoy working out. I wish I could travel more. I’m working hard at spending more time with family and friends. That seems very rare when you are running your own business!

What was your most memorable HBCU memory? I really wish that I lived more in my moments at Howard! I had such great times with great people! I loved hanging out in the Caf’, Bisonette practice, and hanging out on the yard. Of course I loved when Homecoming came around. I believe the most memorable moment at Howard was meeting Debbie Allen and standing next to her. She was actually my inspiration for choosing Howard! At the time, I was in many dance and performing arts programs, so I believed I was going to walk in her shadow. I also admired her direction for A Different World, so when she was standing next to me, I secretly lost it! She was sweeter than I imagined and I was grateful to receive some of her wisdom.

In leaving is there any advice you have for budding HBCUpreneurs? I would definitely encourage budding HBCUpreneurs to never give up. It will be challenging and you will always have to decide on a new direction or reinvention, but stay true to YOUR vision. Once you take that leap, it’s a continual learning process that you won’t understand until you actually do it. All the research in the world won’t be comparable to the actual experience. It is important to engage your supporters. IT IS OKAY TO RECEIVE HELP! That’s one of the biggest lessons I learned. We have a great network within the HBCU community, so let’s support and patronize each other’s businesses! Also, It’s OK to promote yourself. You MUST because if you’re not excited about it, who else will?

To follow Najla and Good As Green, check out the company’s social media and contact information below:

http://www.GoodAsGreen.net

Instagram: @GoodAsGreenEats

Twitter: @GoodAsGreenEats

Facebook: @GoodAsGreenEats

Phone: 347-871-1220

HBCU Money™ Presents: The George W. Carver 2014’s Top 20 HBCU Research Institutions


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In an ode to the greatest HBCU scientist, we have now named our top HBCU research institution list for George Washington Carver.

HBCUs appear to have taken another step back in the research field according to the latest National Science Foundation data. In 2013, research expenditures for the top 20 HBCUs combined for $451.4 million, while 2014 combines for $445.4 million. This represents a 1.34 percent drop year over year and 2.13 percent drop from two years ago.

  • The top ranked HBCU is Florida A&M University at 199 and the twentieth ranked Alcorn State University is listed at 314 in America’s college research landscape.
  • MEAC leads the way with eight schools versus the SWAC with four.
  • Division II/III schools also comprise two schools on the list.
  • Overall, the 1890 HBCUs are fifty percent of the list highlighting agriculture’s importance role in HBCU research.
  1. Florida A&M University – $41.37 million
  2. Morehouse School of Medicine – $41.86 million
  3. Howard University – $40.77 million
  4. North Carolina A&T State University – $35.05 million
  5. Alabama A&M University – $32.91 million
  6. Jackson State University – $$26.61 million
  7. Tuskegee University – $24.95 million
  8. Charles Drew University of Medicine – $20.69 million
  9. University of Virgin Islands – $20.37 million
  10. Tennessee State University – $20.07 million
  11. Meharry Medical College – $19.00 million
  12. Delaware State University – $17.68 million
  13. Morgan State University – $15.72 million
  14. Fayetteville State University – $14.73 million
  15. South Carolina State University – $13.15 million
  16. Prairie View A&M University – $12.29 million
  17. North Carolina Central University – $11.54 million
  18. Hampton University – $11.17 million
  19. Southern University and A&M College – $10.42 million
  20. Alcorn State University – $10.06 million

TOP 20 COMBINED TOTAL: $445.4 million ($451.4 million)

Additional Notes

The HWCU-HBCU gap for research among top 20 research institutions is 52:1, an increase from 2013’s 50:1.

Top 20 HWCUs Combined: $23.2 billion ($22.5 billion)

Top 20 Average HWCU – $1.1 billion vs. Top 20 Average HBCU – $22.3 million

Top 20 Median HWCUs – $948 million vs. Top 20 Median HBCU – $19.5 million

Source: National Science Foundation

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


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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.

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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.

 

HBCU Money’s 2015 Top 10 HBCU Endowments


 

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The keyword for  2015’s HBCU endowments – concerning. Two bellwether HBCU endowments, Spelman College and Hampton University, saw negative declines in their endowment’s market value. Outside of Howard University storming ahead at 11.7 percent, no other HBCU endowment saw double digit gains with North Carolina A&T State University missing the mark by 10 basis points. This is a far cry from 2014’s list when 9 out of 10 reported double digit gains. If there is any solace in the numbers and there is not much, it is that the top ten endowments of our HWCU counterparts had no endowments return double digit gains and also saw 2 out of their 10 with declines in market value.

Although there are some notable absences** from our top ten list, it certainly would not change the reality that still only three HBCUs have endowments above the $200 million mark and none have reached the $1 billion plateau, although Howard University, despite its noted financial issues seems to be headed there unabated and without much competition from Spelman College or Hampton University, the only real challengers. John Wilson, president at Morehouse College, in an interview with Harvard Magazine in 2013 noted, “is the need to build endowments; less than $200 million makes you, by definition, unhealthy.” This still remains the case and as a baseline means that 97 percent of all HBCUs are financially unhealthy. Even more concerning is that there seems to be no real plan in place to address this. A canary in the coal mine though is that donations of $1 million or more to HBCUs jumped from one in 2013 to nine in 2014, but donations of the eight and nine figure variety, also known as transformative donations, are still absent at HBCUs.

As always if you do not see your HBCU in the top 10 – DONATE!**

Endowment in millions $000 (Change in Market Value*)

1. Howard University – $659 639 (11.7%)

2. Spelman College – $362 986 (-1.1%)

3. Hampton University – $263 237 (-8.7%)

4. Meharry Medical College – $139 054 (1.5%)

5. Tennessee State University – $51 416 (1.8%)

6. Texas Southern University – $48 684 (4.5%)

7. Virginia State University – $47 432 (4.9%)

8. North Carolina A&T State University – $48 100 (9.9%)

9. Winston-Salem State University – $37 219 (8.5%)

10. University of the Virgin Islands – $34 274 (-9.0%)

Take a look at how an endowment works. Not only scholarships to reduce the student debt burden but research, recruiting talented faculty & students, faculty salaries, and a host of other things can be paid for through a strong endowment. It ultimately is the lifeblood of a college or university to ensure its success generation after generation.

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*Note: The change in market value does NOT represent the rate of return for the institution’s investments. Rather, the change in the market value of an endowment from FY2013 to FY2014 reflects the net impact of: 1) withdrawals to fund institutional operations and capital expenses; 2) the payment of endowment management and investment fees; 3) additions from donor gifts and other contributions; and 4) investment gains or losses.

** Notable exclusions to the list that HBCU Money believes would otherwise make the top ten are Morehouse College, Tuskegee University, Dillard University, and Florida A&M University. Morehouse College, Tuskegee University, and Dillard University have never reported their endowment to NACUBO in the time HBCU Money has been recording its annual top ten endowments. Florida A&M University who was number five last year did not appear in this year’s list from NACUBO.

Additional Notes:
NACUBO Average Endowment – $648 074 (1.7%)
NACUBO Median Endowment – $115 828 (-0.9%)
Top 10 HWCU Endowments combined – $185.4 billion
Source: National Association of College & University Business Officers

Webometrics’ 2015 Top 20 African Diaspora Colleges & Universities


HBCU Money™ presents the 3rd annual top 20 ranked African Diaspora colleges and universities. The rankings are based on the world rankings from Webometrics, an initiative of the Cybermetrics Lab, a research group belonging to the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), the largest public research body in Spain.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • 11 of the 20 colleges and universities come from South Africa. An increase from 10 in 2014.
  • There are 4 new schools in the top 20 this year. A decline from 6 schools the previous year.
  • African American colleges & universities (HBCUs) increased their presence back to 4 of the 20 colleges and universities present on the list after having only 2 in 2014. Howard University makes the leap into the top ten moving from 16 to 7 on the list.
  • The top ranked African Diaspora college/university in 2015 is up 18 places from top ranked African Diaspora college/university in 2014.
  • No African Diaspora colleges or universities are present in the top 100 in Webometrics’ world rankings.

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Below are the objective and methodology per the Webometrics website:

Objective: The original aim of the Ranking was to promote Web publication. Supporting Open Access initiatives, electronic access to scientific publications and to other academic material are our primary targets. However web indicators are very useful for ranking purposes too as they are not based on number of visits or page design but on the global performance and visibility of the universities.

Methodology: The Webometrics is the largest academic ranking of Higher Education Institutions. Since 2004 and every six months an independent, objective, free, open scientific exercise is performed by the Cybermetrics Lab (Spanish National Research Council, CSIC) for the providing reliable, multidimensional, updated and useful information about the performance of universities from all over the world based on their web presence and impact.

INSTITUTION – WORLD RANK (2014 RANKING) – COUNTRY

  1. University of Cape Town332 (350) – South Africa
  2. Stellenbosch University475 (439) – South Africa
  3. University of the Witwatersrand524 (580) – South Africa
  4. University of Pretoria541 (444) – South Africa
  5. Cairo University574 (358) – Egypt
  6. University of Kwazulu Natal – 710 (752) – South Africa
  7. Howard University – 868 (1231) – United States
  8. University of the Western Cape – 1011 (789) – South Africa
  9. Mansoura University1070 (911) – Egypt
  10. University of Johannesburg1136 (1204) – South Africa
  11. Makerere University1215 (1134) – Uganda
  12. Rhodes University1218 (968) – South Africa
  13. North West University – 1229 (1430) – South Africa
  14. University of South Africa1254 (1058) – South Africa
  15. Alexandria University – 1268 (1223) – Egypt
  16. Hampton University1565 (N/A) – United States
  17. Florida A&M University1632 (1632) – United States
  18. Assiut University1660 (N/A) – Egypt
  19. University of the Free State1679 (N/A) – South Africa
  20. Jackson State University1679 (N/A) – United States