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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
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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

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

IFEL 2011: Believing in the genius of your dream

by: ellis j. still

It seems like yesterday that I was a finalist for the 2nd Annual Institute for Entrepreneur Leadership Business Plan Awards. I can still feel the nervousness… the clammy hands and sweaty fingers, feeling like at any moment I would pass out while on stage standing in front of my peers, potential investors, city officials, and media. But I got through it, and I did the best that I could with what I had at the time.

Since then, The Burning Bush Christian Bookstore (TBBbookstore.com) has grown to the point of being able to giving back to the institution that helped start it all by way of being a marketing partner and prize sponsor. For the first time I can just sit, relax, enjoy the festivities, and reflect on things as they happen. Here are some highlights of the afternoon:

  1. Opening remarks by Newark, NJ Mayor Cory Booker: Mayor Booker comes from a line of entrepreneurism in his family, and therefore appreciates all that entrepreneurs have to fight through in order to be successful. Statistically speaking, most businesses fail. But it is in your failure that you gain experience. Likewise, small business is the engine that drives America in that small business creates the most wealth. Wealth not only in terms of money, but in terms of quality of life, of your well being, and of your contribution to others. As an entrepreneur, it seems like the whole world is against you. People will think that you are crazy for being an entrepreneur, saying that your idea is to bold or that it will never work, or having people around you that does not get your vision. However, when you stand up and out, you will inspire others to stand with you. Believe in the genius of your dreams!!!
  2. The visionary behind IFEL, Dr. HenryJohnson, Sr. will be stepping aside as CEO of the Institute for Entrepreneurship Leadership and Jill Johnson will assume the responsibility. IFEL is a trailblazer in that Dr. Johnson had the foresight to meet the need to provide a platform from which entrepreneurs can flourish and grow. While there are other successful business / entrepreneurial programs in the regional area, IFEL is different in that it focuses on laying the foundation for creating successful businesses. Nothing can survive or prosper if it does not have a solid foundation from which to stand on.
  3. Of course, the main event was the entrepreneur finalists. Drum roll please…  
  • Diamond Doobies (Heather Kollar, Owner) is a boutique organic salon in Downtown Newark offering affordable luxury to women who want rich, healthy hair. (Newark, NJ).
  • Family Travel Marketing Services (Luisa Frey, Owner) brings parents and children together through shared travel and leisure experiences. FTMS then brings this influence to its travel company clients via: social media including FTMS’ teen-written blog, www.teentraveltalk.com; family travel fairs; and consulting. (Nutley, NJ)
  • My Salon Scoop (Veronica Woods, founder & CEO) is the ultimate beauty matchmaker for women of color. It publishes an online magazine and salon directory, and provides salon marketing services. (South Orange, NJ)
  • Pebbles Playhouse (Michael Amegashie, Owner) brings a mix of awesome inflatable structures, a clean, climate controlled environment, incredible customer service, and non-stop excitement in a private-party and open play atmosphere. (East orange, NJ)
  • And the winner is… fohawx! (Jocelyn Fine, Kelley Dineen, Co-Founders) is a product development LLC. Fohawx! Will design, manufacture and sell a line of helmet accessories. Our vision is to become the leading brand of helmet accessories made by moms for moms. (Bayonne, NJ)

My takeaways from the afternoon:

No one can survive as an island in itself. It is in our failures, success, and growth that we encourage others to be better. Before the luncheon began, one of this year’s finalists told me how much he appreciates that I have already been a finalist, and that TBB is still growing. He labeled me as a role model of sorts from for those who are coming after me. I took these comments to heart, as if at that moment a burden was placed on my shoulders. Not ‘burden’ in a negative way, but as a responsibility to build wealth not only for my family, but for the greater society as a whole as well.

Every year the competition finalist luncheon is held in a great space with a great atmosphere of networking and mutual support. I had a great time, and connected with some people that I will undoubtedly keep in contact with, as well as reconnected with those who have helped me along the way. If you are an investor or in a position to support, IFEL [501(c)(3)] is a great institution to partner with. Likewise, if you have an idea that you are serious about bringing to life, or if you already own and operate a business but need a focus to take it to the next level, visit IFEL’s website, and then contact them to see how they can help you.

Question:  Do you take your dreams seriously? What are your thoughts?

© 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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Business Spotlight: A Taste of Rubies for your holiday season

by: ellis j. still

Last year for thanksgiving, my wife and I  did something a little different… we went to the Pocono Mountains for Thanksgiving  (see previous post). The day before we left, I was on my lunch break at work, and went to Dario’s for lunch (Dario’s has the absolute best Texas Burrito with hot sauce) and Ruby Wesley from A Taste of Rubies was there taking holiday orders and selling various types of cheesecakes. My wife loves strawberry cheesecake, a long time signature cheesecake at A Taste of Rubies, and Ruby happened to have some on hand. I had not planned on buying any, but having tasted Rubies cheesecakes before, it sparked an idea that provided for an extra memorable Thanksgiving vacation with my wife  :- ) 

A Taste of Rubies arguably is the best cheesecake around. The recipe for Ruby’s mother’s family staple Strawberry cheesecake was handed down to her, and an expansion of flavors and types based on the original recipe came soon after. Their company motto is:

“At A Taste of Rubies, we believe in exemplifying a spirit of Excellence throughout every aspect of the business.  We’ve set these standards to ensure that we put our best foot forward from the making of the cakes to the selling of the cakes. It is our goal that our customers not just experience excellence after tasting one of our cakes, but experience great customer service as well.”

A Taste of Rubies in not confined to New Jersey, but delivers to all parts of the country. However, they do have specific delivery instructions due to dealing with perishables. They are well known in the community by way of catering events for corporate entities, churches, and community events, and also has a line of bite-sized products in addition to their full-fledged cakes. 

For information on where to purchase or order in person in the Newark, NJ area, Click Here.

To visit their website, see: http://www.atasteofrubies.com/

To join their Facebook page and view more images of their cheesecakes, Click Here

Question: So, during this holiday season, there will be turkey, cranberry sauce, macaroni and cheese, and countless types of other foods to experience. Why not make it extra special this year with A Taste Of Rubies?

© 2010, 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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