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Minding Our Business: Celebrating Middle School Entrepreneurship!

By: ellis j. still

Young people are the cornerstone of our future. Minding Our Business (MOB) is an outstanding example of actively reinforcing that sentiment by partnering with middle schools to provide young people with real life experience of what it is like to be an entrepreneur.

For the past 15 years, Minding Our Business (MOB) has been challenging middle school students not only come up with business ideas, but to create a balanced budget in terms of what it would take to run a business, apply for and present their business to judges, and upon approval of the budget, get funding to launch & run their business on Market Fair Day (outcome presentations are attached at the end of this blog post).

I had the opportunity to volunteer as a panel judge for the kids’ funding presentations. They were teams of kids (each team represented a business) who as individuals had separate roles such as a president/ceo that was responsible for the vision & mission of their company, and various vice presidents that included marketing, finance, operations, project management, and sales. They presented to the judges their idea, target market, how the business would run, budget and proposed funding requirements. Judges then had to assess the presentation and decide if the requested funding was warranted.

The presentations were quite awesome, not what you would expect from middle school students. The kids were well versed in their subject areas and it was evident that they rehearsed their presentations at length.

SUCCESS STORIES

In addition to the program mentioned above, MOB also has advanced and summer programs for those who wish to continue the entrepreneurship track beyond the initial program. Here are some success stories as a result of MOB’s programs:

  • Trevon Molder (MOB 2006), age 17 and CEO of Tick’s Toys started his toy business six years ago and still runs it successfully. Trevon is a senior student at the Trenton Central High School. He plans to go to college and study biochemistry.
  • Pula Jusu (MOB 2003) Took over father’s B & B Home Movie Productions. She is planning to start a business with her two other sisters selling clothing. Pula is very close to finish a master degree in business.
  • Tanaya Butler (MOB 1997) Helped her dad create a cleaning business from the ground up using all the know how acquired through MOB. Swans Brothers Cleaning is a successful business. Tanaya is planning now to open a beauty salon. She’s studying to become a register nurse.
  • Qaysean Williams (MOB 2003), who is a fashion designer and CEO of Mannequin, a fashion design business that recently displayed its garments at the Sun National Bank Arena Fashion Show.
  • Shawntae DeVlugt (MOB 1998) She owns a cake business.
  • Tamar Levy (MOB 1998) He is the owner of a small accounting firm.
  • Abberin Hoagland (MOB 2003) Non-profit summer arts program. “Both Hands” and she is teaching film.
  • Bryan Lane (MOB 2001) He owns a barbershop.
  • Kimyatta Perry – She owns a Hair Salon
  • Jonathan Knight (MOB 1998) He owns an E-Commerce business involving drop shipping.
  • Albert Matlock (MOB 2004) Mentoring Program called the Elite Club, He also sells clothes to fund it. He wanted to help inner-city youth and to fuel his passion for clothing.
  • Eric Hallet (MOB 2001) He owns Outdoor Flicks – A business renting out inflatable 30 ft. movie screens.
  • Jamar L. Robinson (MOB 2001) He owns two businesses. One is called Project DBR (Dreams Becoming Reality) an internet blog for promoting and discussing all types of artists and musicians. The other business is called “Life Crooks” selling clothes and graphic Ts.
  • Kyle Barrett (MOB 1999) He owns a Take-out out of home restaurant.

MOB students talk about their experiences… (video will open in new window)

MOB is a unique program that allows kids to learn and make long term career choices through real life activity. The program’s track record of success is a role model for others looking to make a difference in urban communities.

Below are attached PDF outcome presentations for MOB’s programs, which can also be downloaded directly from MOB’s website (right-click to open in a new tab or window):

MOB’s success is opening doors for it to expand well beyond the confines of Rider University and Trenton, NJ, and into being an independent 501(c)(3). If you would like to take part in this expansion and meet its founders and some of the success stories in person, MOB is hosting its annual “Bridge to the Future” fundraiser in Lawrence, NJ. If you cannot make it in person, or of you  wish to contact them, Dr. Hernandez can be reached at 609-895-5509 or email: hernandez@rider.edu

Question: How would your life be different if you had been exposed to entrepreneurship at an early age?

© 2012, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

__________________________________________

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like what you read and you are not yet a Subscriber to my blog, why not subscribe now? All posts are original, there is no fixed schedule, so you would not have to check my blog regularly, and you will be receiving an authentic review of books, organizations and life experiences as a husband and entrepreneur. If you change your mind, it is easy to unsubscribe. Once you sign up, visit your email inbox to verify your email address. Check your spam folder if you don’t receive any verification

Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference: We are all family here!!!

by: ellis j. still

As I sit in my Chicago Hilton Hotel room, a new awakening is upon me. A new desire. A new drive to succeed. Not that these things ever went away, but more so a refreshing of hope.

Black Enterprise Magazine is not just a business magazine… a semblance of graphics, articles, and advertising as a way to make money.

Black Enterprise Magazine is an institution, from which businesses that happen to be owned by African Americans can grow, support, inspire, and be inspired in business, in life, and in Spirit.

The Black Enterprise Entrepreneur Conference (BEEC) is a reflection of the magazine… a vehicle from which to leverage and to celebrate business success.

It’s about wildly successful people showing love & support to others as they would to themselves. It’s about creating genuine relationships. It’s about positioning success within arm’s reach on new entrepreneurs.

It is important to differentiate between “Black Owned” businesses, which have connotations of being and doing sub-par business, from businesses that happen to be owned by African Americans that secure a footprint in the marketplace, rivaling their non-minority counterparts.

The conference was filled with many growth opportunities, featuring a wide variety of speakers that covered an even wider variety of topics. There were many moments from which to take advantage of creating relationships with peers, mentors, and those who can catapult your business. I, myself, cannot name names, but have had extremely meaningful conversations with several people that I look forward to continuing to strengthen our relationship with.

Yet also, it was refreshing to hear successful and creative CEO level executives talk at length about their business success as it relates to their personal relationship in Christ, which, I believe, is taboo in most business settings.

The highlight of the conference was not a dynamic speaker, nor a media superstar. The highlight of the conference was a moment of despair… where one would gladly jump off the nearest cliff of if he could.

In a room filled with 1,500 people and an undetermined number of people watching via streaming online, finalists were pitching their business as part of a larger national competition to vie for a prize of $10,000.  A young man approached the microphone, and began to talk about his business.

He started strong, but began to stumble over his words. He started over at the beginning and again, he was unable to find his words.  Visibly shaken, he slowed down his speech, seemingly to try to get his mind to sync with his mouth.

It was kind of like running hurdles in Track & Field, where if you hit a hurdle, you don’t hit just one. It throws you off for the rest of the entire race, and you hit every hurdle afterwards, falling to the ground before reaching the finish line.

This is essentially what happened to this young man. He eventually stopped trying, held his head down, separated himself from the microphone, and walked off the stage dejected.

This is when the cool part happens. This is where you see the true culture and character of Black Enterprise unfold. You see, they did not let him end on that note. They bought him back out on the stage.

Kim Coles who was a judge for the competition, defined that moment in her always loving, smiling, and in this case deliberate yet stern voice, when she said to the young man…

”WE ARE ALL FAMILY IN THIS ROOM”

She went on to say to the young man that one day his business will be wildly successful, and he will look back on that moment and ponder & smile at how far he had come… and laugh.

The entire room of 1,500 people promptly stood up, and graced him with thunderous applause.

This is what Black Enterprise is all about. Kindness. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others. It is not self-seeking; it keeps no record of wrongs. It rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Black enterprise is an institution that demonstrates a love for others through business.

In the coming days, I will post some of my notes from the conference. I cannot go into too much detail, and I did not attend every session, as several sessions met at the same time. I would encourage you to get the latest copy of Black Enterprise: Special 40th Anniversary Edition, which features BE’s Top 100 Businesses, as well as many of the speakers from the conference.

This was my first time attending a Black Enterprise signature event. Having attended, I have a new-found reverence for what Black Enterprise is and its desire to support African American business owners. While social media keeps you informed, in order to truly get results, the cost of attending in person definitely matches the value of what you get in return.

Question: How bad do you want to succeed? Meet us at the Black Enterprise Golf & Tennis Challenge in Florida on Labor Day Weekend and open yourself up to partnering with friendly faces who want to see you succeed.

For pictures, see our Facebook Page

You can also enroll in Black Enterprise’s (free) 2012 Small Business University Hosted by Dell

© 2012, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

__________________________________________

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like what you read and you are not yet a Subscriber to my blog, why not subscribe now? All posts are original, there is no fixed schedule, so you would not have to check my blog regularly, and you will be receiving an authentic review of books, organizations and life experiences as a husband and entrepreneur. If you change your mind, it is easy to unsubscribe. Once you sign up, visit your email inbox to verify your email address. Check your spam folder if you don’t receive any verification

Book Review: “Married for Real: Building a Loving, Powerful Life Together

by: ellis j. still

“What I had to do for myself, was to figure out my faults, and where they came from. I had to try to improve on those qualities  or at the very least try to keep them from affecting our relationship.”

                - Tamara George

Abingdon Press publishing company has afforded me the opportunity to review the upcoming new release “Married for Real: Building a Loving, Powerful Life Together” by Eddie and Tamara George.

Although my NFL football team is on the east coast (Philadelphia Eagles), I remember when Eddie George played for the Tennessee Titans. While his time in the NFL was extremely successful, his next career is just as successful. Eddie is currently the Founder and CEO of George Enterprises, a Landscape Architecture firm (my major in college & first career choice) that plans and designs new neighborhoods and communities.

Tamara (better known as Taj) is a former member of the singing group Sisters With Voices (SWV). With SWV, Taj has chart toppers such as ‘Weak’ and ‘Right Here’ to her credit. The group separated in 1998 to pursue individual efforts. Since then, Taj has earned her Bachelor’s of Business Administration, played a significant role on the CBS reality television series ‘Survivor’, and is an accomplished author of two books, including this one.

These things are what I know about Eddie and Tamara from a distant onlooker/admirer point of view. Married for Real takes a closer look at life behind the limelight… the challenges that they faced that you could never possibly see from watching them perform on stage or scoring touchdowns. You see their successes in public, but what you do not see is their struggles and triumphs in private. You do not see how Christ saved their lives and their marriage.

“Married for Real: Building a Loving, Powerful Life Together” is a funny & lighthearted, yet transparent look at marriage. It deals with what happens when we allow baggage of the past to go unaddressed, and speaks to how Eddie and Taj overcame tribulation. The book “grows out of the realities of life” – keeping it real… not always happy go lucky stories, but real life challenges that marriages face.

The book will quickly make you realize that a great relationship does not have to be (and will never be) perfect, and brings awareness to the fact that that men and women have totally different perceptions & thought processes on any given topic. It is written together as a couple, but also includes viewpoints from both Eddie and Tamara as individuals.

Married for Real is an easy read, with funny and descriptive storytelling. It is a must have for your library as a single person or as a couple.

Question:  How are you building a loving, powerful life with your spouse (or future spouse) together?

Click Here to view and/or purchase the book at The Burning Bush Christian Bookstore.

© 2012, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have a marketing connection to a brand, topic or product herein. Through the use of affiliate links contained herein, I may collect fees from purchases made. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
__________________________________________
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like what you read and you are not yet a Subscriber to my blog, why not subscribe now? All posts are original, there is no fixed schedule, so you would not have to check my blog regularly, and you will be receiving an authentic review of books, organizations and life experiences as a husband and entrepreneur. If you change your mind, it is easy to unsubscribe. Once you sign up, visit your email inbox to verify your email address. Check your spam folder if you don’t receive any verification

Live your  life like a Heart In A Box!!!

by: ellis j. still

We are born to dream. As children, we use our imaginations to explore the visions of our mind by acting out what our future could be like. I played with fire trucks and those yellow Tonka construction trucks that were made out of metal, with the assurances that I would be a fireman or construction worker when I grew up.

My next phase was wanting to be an explorer in outer space that would one day save planet Earth. This came from repeatedly watching entire seasons of Star Blazers, Star Trek, and Battlestar Galactica with the one-eyed Cylons. Later came Star Wars, of which I have all six episodes even today.

From there it went to realistically figuring out what I wanted to do with my life. I had great passion for drawing. I also started working in retail at age 16, so maybe I would own my own business one day. However, as I got older, and the world became more real, the creative imagination seemed to disappear and I sought practical venues for planning out my life.

You are taught to do what is proven… what everybody else is doing. To follow the status quo. Very seldom are you taught to be imaginative… to think outside the box – or in this case, inside the box.

Tina and I are avid watchers of the TV show Grey’s Anatomy. While we don’t always agree with the content, it is a well written show, whose characters we often we have dialog about in our home as if they were real people.

There was an episode where one of the main characters was tasked with watching an actual beating heart that’s been placed in a box until it can be transported to its new recipient. The Heart In The box becomes the inspiration to no longer be average, but go on and do great things… that the same imagination that created the Heart In A Box is the same imagination that dreams are made of… that spawns great movements.

Anything that you do in 2012 should be more interesting

than a Heart In A Box.

Anything that you do in life should have meaning, both to yourself, and to others. Anything that you do should be exceptional, and inspire others to greatness.

Dreams are created by a combination of what we see, our imagination, and how we envision it happening… our special personal brand, based on our life experiences.

Are you stuck in a job or situation, but you have a great idea for a business inside of you? Are you doing what you need to do just to get by & merely existing, or are you following the passion that is within you? Are you listening to the voices inside your mind that gives you excuses why you can’t make things happen, or do you listen to God’s word which says that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13).

Heart in a box is all about not living mundane, but doing extraordinary things in an extraordinary way. It is about being inspired to do something outside of the status quo. It requires creativity and courage. It’s about not just knowing and reciting the words “faith without works is dead” (James 2:14-17), but owning it… knowing without a doubt in your inner core that God will do what he promised… that “every place where you set your foot will be yours” (Deut. 11:24). You have to have Faith that as you act on your dreams, God will make up the difference.

Heart In A Box is special because normally when you do a heart transplant, you take the heart out, put it in a cooler, and then you rush to put it into a warm body, and pray that it beats. But with Heart In A Box, it never stopped beating. It never knew that it was not supposed to be beating. The heart did not know that it was doing what it was not supposed to be doing. It just did it.

Question: What are you planning to do in 2012 that the world has told you that you cannot do? What are you planning to do in 2012 that is more awesome than a Heart In A Box?

© 2012, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved

Heart In A Box image courtesy of http://greysanatomyfans.wordpress.com

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

__________________________________________

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like what you read and you are not yet a Subscriber to my blog, why not subscribe now? All posts are original, there is no fixed schedule, so you would not have to check my blog regularly, and you will be receiving an authentic review of books, organizations and life experiences as a husband and entrepreneur. If you change your mind, it is easy to unsubscribe. Once you sign up, visit your email inbox to verify your email address. Check your spam folder if you don’t receive any verification

HOW TO “SUCCEED” WRITING: Books, Blogs, Movies or Plays

by: ellis j. still

Vondell Richmond is accomplished in the world of Theatre Arts by way of directing, writing and acting. He “is a unique teaching artist that blends quality techniques with an infectious passion for the arts.”

I personally had the chance to work with Vondell as the set designer on a play that he directed. His creativity, his energy, and his style of motivation are like no other, and he brings out the best in all who are involved in the project.

Vondell Richmond decided to utilize his experience and his skill sets to help other succeed in creating.

He has put together a free four part series on writing books, blogs, movies, and plays. V has written four books, wrote, directed, produced and distributed a movie, and will draw from these and other creative theatrical experiences to provide content in a way that only Vondell can do it.

If you already have a book or two under your belt, these sessions can still provide a creative spark, new insight, or a different way of approaching things in your writing.

If you don’t believe me, you can hear it directly from him…

To register and obtain access codes for the free event, http://vondellcoaches.eventbrite.com/

For more information about Vondell see, http://about.me/vondellrichmond

© 2011, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

__________________________________________

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like what you read and you are not yet a Subscriber to my blog, why not subscribe now? All posts are original, there is no fixed schedule, so you would not have to check my blog regularly, and you will be receiving an authentic review of books, organizations and life experiences as a husband and entrepreneur. If you change your mind, it is easy to unsubscribe. Once you sign up, visit your email inbox to verify your email address. Check your spam folder if you don’t receive any verification

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