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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

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

Men On Fire VII: The Perfect Man!!!

by: ellis j. still

“You, therefore, must be perfect (growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity), as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

                Matthew 5:48 (Amp.)

i.e. – get your swagger back!!!

This is perhaps one of the largest and most significant conferences that is geared towards encouraging, strengthening and building up men in the country, outside of T. D. Jakes.

Every year men travel from across the country to gather on Wednesday evening at Agape Family Worship Center in Rahway, NJ and on Thursday evening at Abundant Life Family Worship Church (ALFWC) in New Brunswick, NJ, with Friday and Saturday sessions held all day at an offsite hotel (this year at the Somerset Doubletree Hotel).

This conference is unique in that it appeals to the issues and challenges that men face, with strategic takeaways that can be applied to everyday life. In addition to building up the spiritual man, Men On Fire also features sessions on entrepreneurship, leadership, finances, and provides many opportunities for fellowship and networking… building up the perfect man, and, building up the entire man.

There is also the awesome praise & worship, and ridiculous band :- )

This year’s installment of Men on Fire will include Bishop George C. Searight, Pastor Lawrence Powell, Bishop Dale Bronner, Bishop Donald Hillard, Bishop Courtney McBath, Dr. Ron Elmore, and Dr. Buster Soaries.

Question: Many great visions, leaders, entrepreneurs, and dreams fulfilled have been birthed out of Men On Fire. Why not take a few days to get away from home, get some great impartation the will benefit you, your family, and everyone around you and get your swagger back?

For more information, see links below:

ALFWC Facebook Page 

Men on Fire Facebook Event Page

Abundant Life Family Worship Church (ALFWC) website

Agape Family Worship Center website

Twitter Hash-Tag: #MenOnFireVII

© 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

Building Communities: NJ Social Entrepreneurship Summit 2011

By: ellis j. still

“Whether you start as one or end up as one, you must become a social entrepreneur before you can be a great entrepreneur.”

                 Alfred Edmond Jr., Editor-at-Large, Black Enterprise Magazine

So, let’s say that you are an entrepreneur. You have a really cool idea that you think can make some money. Business 101 dictates that supply meets demand. However, what if the true calling in your heart is to be able to provide the supply with the goal of helping people? What if you created a needs-based venture in the community (for-profit or non-profit) that builds relationships, provides jobs, and builds human capital?

These are the sort of conversations that occurred on yesterday at the 2011 New Jersey Social Entrepreneurship Summit. The summit created dialog among entrepreneurs interested in social entrepreneurship from both a traditional and non-profit point of view. There were case studies, conversations, panel discussions, and networking opportunities among established social entrepreneurs, funders & investors, start-up entrepreneurs, and others interested in making an investment in the human capital in their community.

Social entrepreneurship is described by organizers as a form of entrepreneurship that integrates social goals and social or environmental problem solving into its core business model. The purpose of this summit is to raise the profile of social entrepreneurship in New Jersey by bringing leaders of the social sector and entrepreneurs who address social and environmental problems in their businesses together to learn from and support one another.

After the lunch break, Dr. Jeffrey Robinson announced the creation of the ”NJ Social Innovation Institute  – ‘Creating Jobs Through Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship’”. This new collaborative effort will focus on connecting social entrepreneurs to the resources needed to execute their social idea successfully and in a sustainable way. The NJ Social Innovation Institute is designed to help nascent social entrepreneurs to develop their venture ideas into business plans and investment proposals. The initiative is six (6) months in duration and is provided in partnership with the Support Center for Nonprofit. For more information about the institute, click here.

The event was extremely interactive via social media as well. You can catch up with the conversation on Twitter using hash tag #NJSocEnt. These are just a few of the Twitter comments:

@CNicholaC: More and more people (are) realizing that business profits and social contributions are not mutually exclusive. #NJSocEnt

@websignia: “We’re not looking for reimbursement, we’re looking for concrete outcomes in our designated communities” -S. Hamilton of @PSEGCares  #NJSocEnt

@ellis_still: Craig Cuccia: “the question became how do we connect with the people who aren’t ready and give them the resources that they need?” #NJSocEnt

@RutgersBSchool: “Its all about how you can use entrepreneurship as a vehicle for social change.” – Professor @jrobinsonphd on stage #NJSocEnt #SocEnt

@ellis_still: Cheryl Dorsey: people tend to confuse being a founder with being a success. #NJSocEnt #newark

@dtogilvie: Vaughn McCoy @pseg spoke about Profits w/a Purpose @ the Social Entrepreneurship Summit in Newark, NJ #Njsocent

To learn more about the summit, or the NJ Social Innovation Institute , feel free to visit http://www.njsesummit.org/. Don’t forget to join their mailing list for periodic announcements and information.

To view more pictures of the summit, click here to go to my facebook page.

Question: How are you utilizing your gifts and ideas to make your community better?

© 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 emails. Thanks!!!
ellis

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