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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

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PRLog (Press Release)Aug 29, 2010 – TRENTON, NJ — August 29, 2010 —  The Burning Bush Christian Bookstore, LLC (TBB) is excited to announce the launch of their website http://www.TBBBookstore.com.  The website will specialize in books, music, gifts and apparel that encourage, educate, entertain, heal and inspire.

The e-commerce website is the first phase of The Burning Bush Christian Bookstore & Café, a chain of retail Christian bookstores where people will be able to gather, read, eat and network.  Ellis J. Still, President & CEO explains, “TBB is not just about Christian retailing, but about creating a movement, not unlike what the burning bush did through Moses in the bible. We do not simply sell Christian products, but provide resources and solutions applicable to our everyday lives.”

The vision of The Burning Bush Christian Bookstore, “To build people up, one book at a time”, came out of a need to provide access to an assortment of quality resources that serves to entertain, encourage and support one’s Christian lifestyle.  With categories such as Personal Growth, Professional Growth, Christian living, Fiction and Non-Fiction, TBB looks to serve every area of growth in life.  TBB actively provides a voice for not just popular products and top selling lists, but also for talented independent writers and artists whose value and excellence has the potential to change the world.  

For more information please visit http://www.TBBBookstore.com.

About Ellis Still, President & CEO of The Burning Bush Christian Bookstore, LLC

Ellis Still has over thirteen (13) years of retail experience, including store operations management as well as a background in Urban Planning, Design and Landscape Architecture.   While he enjoys his chosen field of Landscape Architecture, all of those years in retail left an impression on him, and he felt a void in his heart from the inability to no longer serve the public.  When Ellis rediscovered his relationship with Jesus Christ, he noticed a burning need in his community, a need that he eventually realized that he could meet.  As he began researching and making plans, TBBBookstore.com was born.  

Ellis Still was a finalist in the 2nd annual Institute For Entrepreneurial Leadership (IFEL) Business Plan Competition and a graduate of the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development (CUEED) at Rutgers University School of Business.  The knowledge gained during his participation in these programs inspired him to not just dream about owning his own business, but gave him the tools to make it happen.

For more information, press only:
(Ellis Still), (973-592-5500) or ( Info@TBBbookstore.com)

For more information on The Burning Bush Christian Bookstore:
http://www.TBBBookstore.com

Fan us on facebook (The Burning Bush Christian Bookstore & Cafe)


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The mission of The Burning Bush Christian Bookstore is to provide and encourage the reading of bibles, books, and other items that will serve to entertain, heal, inspire, and empower. TBBbookstore.com sells books, music, gifts and apparel.

Where’d he go???

by: ellis j. still 

I know I have not been blogging as much lately, but much of my time has been focused on working with Kimla from KYB Productions (http://kybproductions.com/ ) to get the online version of The Burning Bush Christian Bookstore (TBB) up and running.  

One of my personal favorite scriptures is:

“It is in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone”. Ephesians 1:11-12

With that in mind, I am excited about what is going to be a unique assemblage of Christian books, bibles, gifts and clothing that will grow, inspire, entertain, and support one’s Christian lifestyle and purpose at prices that are comparable with, or better than market prices. Along with our overall resource categories, we also pay close attention to initiatives that are close to our heart, which include breast cancer awareness, entrepreneurship & leadership resources, and we feature a vast and ever growing assemblage of Urban Christian Fiction titles in addition to staying up to date with the top 50 titles. We also have an assortment of Christian gifts for the home, dorm, and many other occasions, and designer t-shits apparel for men and women (includes baby-doll) just in time for summer. TBB as a company is not just a Christian website, but a movement in Christ that actively engages in supporting and partnering with like-minded events and initiatives, such as the Newark School of Theology, 2010 Faith and Fiction Retreat, and a number or other resources and ministries which cannot be named as of yet until things are more finalized. Stay tuned for more details on the website re-launch in the next few weeks, upon which when you become a free member, you get bonus rewards points that can be used towards any of TBB’s resources.

In the meantime, I really miss writing, so I plan on being back on my post as blogger for at least one post this week. Thank you, and have a great week!!!

 ellis

Question: What is your favorite bible verse(s)? How do you apply it to your life?

© 2010, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved 

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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

 

Love gives, Lust takes

by: ellis j. still 

I participate in a youth ministry group with kids ages from 13 through high school once a month. This past weekend, we had a conversation about dating and marriage. Over the past few days I realized that many adults are having similar questions and issues as it relates to dating, so I figured I would share part of the conversation and some additional thoughts.

The concept of “dating” is a relatively new concept. Up until the early 20th century, people used courtship as a way to find one’s spouse. Courtship is a way to ensure that the man and woman are equally yoked. The object of courtship is to start slow with friendship, with the goal being  marriage. When a couple dates, they tend to show the best side of themselves so as to impress who they are dating. Starting as friends allows both people to get to know each other without any pressure, and you get to see who a person is in every season of their life and how they react to those seasons. Are they violent when things do not go right? Are they impatient? Is their walk with Christ really what it appears to be? Do they have emotional or psychological scars from previous relationships that could carry over into another relationship? It there untruthfulness? All of these things, without prying or asking questions, will come to light in time. Therefore, being patient and starting out as friends is an important part of finding out who you would want to spend the rest of your life with.

Dating to find your mate is a relatively new concept. Dating is nothing more than experimentation. The idea is that you try this and you try that and you will find what you want somewhere in there, but that almost never happens. You see other people date, and you want to try it out, but what you don’t see behind the scenes is how much dating hurts. Peer pressure to have sex (and drugs, etc…), lowering your standards (giving in and having sex), STD’s, the hurt feelings and emotional trauma from being in and out of relationships that are not equally yoked, being gossiped about, and not being used to sticking by one person no matter what (lack of commitment) are all byproducts of dating which leave scars that will follow you into marriage and often causes divorce. Dating is designed to make marriages fail. In our mind, we tend to think that dating is about being with just one person exclusively, but more often than not, there is no endgame in mind and as a result, we do not identify and stick to standards within the relationship and we kind of go with the flow.

Dating leads to intimacy, not commitment, and often mistakes physical relationships for love. Love gives, and lust takes. The definition of love is “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). This is the true God given definition of love, yet most people for some reason do not believe, or truly buy into the notion of real love in their heart. Instead, we use the word love haphazardly and casually, which cancels its power and deteriorates its true meaning.

Many of the things that adults deal with emotionally stem from decisions they made as a teenager or in grade school. This was also the case with me. I had to conquer emotional baggage, low esteem, fear, and a host of other issues as a result of not only being in and out of relationships, but being in and out of relationships with the wrong people and not having a relationship with Christ in my life. When I rekindled my relationship with Christ and started back going to church, I didn’t want to date. I wasn’t looking for a relationship. I wanted to heal. I wanted the scars to go away. I was tired of living how I was living, and I wanted to be right with God. But while I was I the midst of growing and not looking for a relationship, God sent me an angel… God sent me my wife.

On Saturday one of the kids asked “how do you know when God is speaking to you”? You just know. When Tina and I first met, it felt natural, as if we knew each other since the third grade. There were no airs, no false pretenses… just us being us having a conversation, which grew into more conversations. We had a discussion early on that our goal was not to date, but to see if this is something that could lead to marriage. We were patient, and our first kiss was on our wedding day. I know some you have heard me tell this story before, but I never get tired of telling it. God really kept me through all I went through in my life, yet when I finally woke up and made the decision to do things His way, extraordinary things started to happen to and for me in my life.

Till death do us part  :- )

Question: Have you set a standard from which to live your life, or are you slowly killing yourself by following behind what everyone else around you is doing? When is the last time you asked yourself, “what did Jesus say about…”

© 2010, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved 

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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, and have a great day!!!
ellis

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