White House Summit on Entrepreneurship Part 2

Uploaded by whitehouse on 17.04.2012

Michael Chodos: All right everyone, thank you. My name is Michael Chodos.
Michael Chodos: I am the associate administrator for entrepreneurial
development at the SBA.
It is our job to connect all of those resources out in
the community, our small business development centers,
our Women's Business Centers, SCORE chapters,
as well as all of our online and other resources,
to connect those throughout the economic development ecosystem
with, among many other things, our young entrepreneurs,
and with our HBCU and MSI networks.
So, what we're here to talk about in the second panel is
all the things that happen after what we just discussed
in our first panel.
So, there is an opportunity for more conversation
about entrepreneurship programs throughout the
HBCU and MSI network.
And then just as important we need to talk about essentially
the question that that young woman asked from Howard,
which is: What do I do next?
If I'm considering entrepreneurship in school,
how do I get support in school?
That's what the first panel was talking about.
And then: What do I do out in the community?
How do I get support while I'm going to school to think about
entrepreneurship and what do I do as soon as I launch?
Entrepreneurship is about changing the economic
picture of our communities.
And our communities are about how we connect with each other.
To the extent that we're working, doing good work even,
but in a stovepiped and not linked way,
we're not doing the best job we can.
So here we have panelists to talk about all of the different
ways in which their own experiences have involved
leveraging and connecting these different resources and all the
things that they do and are available to do with each
of your institutions as we move forward.
So, with that, let me introduce my very distinguished
second panel here.
So, first we have Valerie Mosley over here.
How are you?
Thank you.
Right there in the middle.
Valerie is the Senior Vice President,
Partner and Investment Strategist at Wellington
Management Company, L.L.P., a 560 billion dollar global
management firm.
She is part of the President's Board of Advisors on HBCUs.
Right here next to me we have Deborah Thomas.
Deborah is an HBCU alum first.
Where did you go, Deborah? It doesn't have it on my sheet.
Deborah Thomas: Alabama State University.
Michael Chodos: Alabama State.
And she founded data -- in 1994, Deborah founded Data Solutions &
Technology, Inc., which is a full professional services,
full professional services firm in information technology.
You started that firm back in 1994 and you have
up to 250 employees as I recall now; right?
Deborah Thomas: That's correct.
Michael Chodos: All right. We have Luis Borunda.
Luis is the President and CEO of the U.S.
Hispanic Youth Entrepreneurship Education Group.
This is, after all, all about youth entrepreneurship.
We're connecting out into the community and building our
communities, but we're starting there in schools.
So look forward to hearing from Luis, as well.
Down at the other end we have Ron Busby,
who is President of the U.S. Black Chamber.
He is also a member of SBA's Council for
Underserved Communities.
Ron is himself an entrepreneur and a small business owner,
which went from a very small business.
USA Super Clean started out about 150,000
annual revenue and increased it to over 15 million.
He has extremely, a number of distinctions, honors, et cetera.
He is one of our leading lights in entrepreneurship and how to
connect in the chamber community to our institutions.
And we have Terry Clark, who is the VP for Entrepreneurship and
Business Development from the National Urban League.
And Terry actually began his career with the SBA.
So he's a member of the family working as the Assistant
District Director for Management Assistants throughout the
14 counties, southern part of New York.
So, with that, I want to let our panelists start to begin
the conversation with you.
And I think what we should do is we should talk about these
connections, first and foremost, and personal experiences,
and what that actually looked like.
Because a number of our panelists actually
started themselves.
So, Ms. Thomas, why don't we start with you.
Deborah Thomas: Okay.
Michael Chodos: And can you please just let us know about
what it was like starting out your own business and what
services were there to support you when you were beginning.
Deborah Thomas: Okay. Thank you, Michael.
Good afternoon and thank you so much for coming out today.
And I certainly say thank you to Miss Marie Johns
for inviting me today.
I am HBCU. I am very proud.
I am a graduate of Alabama State University.
So, and further along the conversation, in 1994,
I decided to go into business.
I decided -- I made the choice to take the chance, or change.
And in coming to this particular area in 1988,
I got introduced to small business,
because I had always worked for large business,
and I thought you had to have a million dollars in order
to start a business.
Far from the truth.
You just got to have time, energy, and a plan.
A great resource that I had in starting my business was
the Small Business Administration office.
The Small Business Administration office today,
though, has so much.
And it's all you got to do is Google it,
put it into your cell phone, and all the resources
will come popping to you.
I see Johnetta Hardy out there in the audience.
Johnetta was one of the counselors that helped
get me started.
She's a graduate of Howard University.
I thought I saw her.
She was over there.
But anyway, going back.
From the perspective of talking about going into business,
I was introduced to small business when I came here
in 1988 and, therefore, in '94 I started Data
Solutions & Technology.
I say I started out with myself and my husband,
because he had to continue to work.
He was half of an employee to pay the bills.
And starting the plan of what was I going to do,
in coming to this area, I got introduced to small business,
government contracting.
I never have worked for the federal government.
So, it was a matter of I had to walk and beat on at least
1,000 doors before I got my first contract.
But I was able to get my first contract.
I started in 1994.
I was able to get my 8a Certification through
the SBA in 1996.
I graduated in 2005.
And we still are growing very, very strong.
The bottom line, though, you have to be entrepreneurial.
You got to take the chance to say that you're going to make
change for yourself.
I can only tell you that in taking this chance and making
that choice, I have changed the lives for many.
I have worked in Prince George's County for 17,
going on 18 years now.
And it really is a very good, good feeling.
We have been able to develop and grow business
from information technology.
We are now branching into aviation management,
management support services, logistics,
scientific and technology.
The Department of Energy has been the true champion of
DST, along with the Department of Commerce.
So I have to shout out to them, because those were my first two
agencies, and they still are lasting agencies.
At this particular time, we're working in more than 12
different agencies with over 100 various contracts that we've had
since the inception of Data Solutions & Technology.
When you look at me, I say "I'm from the fields to
Capitol Hill."
I'm from the fields of Montgomery Alabama,
and I have arrived here in Maryland,
truly able to make a difference.
And in giving back to my historically black colleges and
university, two years ago I started an HBCU conference
on entrepreneurship.
The reason being, do you know what April 16th is,
in 1862 what happened?
Audience Members: Emancipation.
Deborah Thomas: Emancipation Proclamation.
It's just ironic that we're here today celebrating
entrepreneurship, what it's all about.
In thinking about where we've come from civil rights
perspective, the State of Alabama is very seldom
recognized, let alone the HBCUs.
So, in listening to the Executive Order 135.32,
I was there thinking of, what can I do for DST,
Data Solutions & Technology, which is my company.
And as I was speaking and writing,
the idea came: You should start an entrepreneurship seminar.
You should take that conference back to Alabama and energize
them so, therefore, they will get into that entrepreneurial
thought process, because that's where entrepreneurship started,
and that's where civil rights started, and get it on the map.
So, we did it in 2011.
It was Entrepreneurship Globalization of the New South.
We just completed our second conference,
Entrepreneurship Transforming Education Government
and Industry.
And we're taking it back next year,
and it will be Entrepreneurship Fostering Creativity,
Innovation and Opportunities, March 4 through the 6th, 2013.
So if you have the time, the energy,
and I definitely plan on contacting all of the
entrepreneurial deans and organizations that's doing it,
because we want to take it so we can spread it and really get the
throughout process going in our classrooms.
Thank you very much.
Michael Chodos: Thank you for that.
Luis, perhaps you can talk about -- you foster and build and
promote entrepreneurship starting with high school
students and working through the university system.
Luis Borunda: Yeah.
Michael Chodos: How does that show up, and how does that work,
and what advice do you have for the universities and
the institutions here?
Luis Borunda: I think our biggest challenge when we first
-- first of all, I am a business owner,
and I was the first Latino to ever sit on the Baltimore County
School Board, the 25th largest in the country.
And when I asked a very simple question at a school board
meeting, or my first school board meeting, it was,
what are we doing for the emerging Latino population in
Baltimore County, and you could have heard a pin drop.
And so I began to look around at our dropout rates and figured
out that the African American population and Latino population
have much in common in terms of the challenges that our high
school students are having in terms of dropping out.
And so I began an organization called U.S.
Hispanic Youth Entrepreneur Education, which is a long name.
So we call it USHYEE for short.
And we began USHYEE to really focus on that high school
to college continuum for Latino youth.
And that was begun in 2005.
Shortly thereafter, I began to look at different ways that our
organization might be able to partner with other African
American organizations.
And the idea hit me about three years ago that we needed to
bring Latino youth and African American youth together,
high school students, rising juniors and seniors,
to a conference, that would help them understand that high school
to college continuum, help them with college access,
and begin to talk to them about business and entrepreneurship.
I'm -- some of you may battle with me on this next comment,
but I really believe that entrepreneurship is
caught not taught.
And by that I mean that exposure to entrepreneurs,
like many of you, for example, for these young people,
is their first access point to entrepreneurship.
When a young person can sit across from you and you can
share your story of how you came from the fields to Capitol Hill,
that makes an impact and begins the juices flowing
for these young people.
And so we have a workshop we titled, we title "Our Legends."
And at that workshop we bring business people,
both Hispanics and African American,
business professionals, as well as entrepreneurs,
just to sit in small groups of five or six students,
high school students, and they begin a dialogue.
And one of the end goals there is to have a mentor perhaps come
into that young person's life.
And so we're -- we held our first we call Latino-Black
Student Leadership Summit at Coppin University,
which is an HBCU in the Baltimore area, last year.
It was a two-day, one-night program.
This year it's expanded to three days, two nights.
So please mark this on your calendars.
It's July 12th through 14th.
And if you're interested in sitting on Our Legends panel,
we'd love to have you apply to that particular workshop.
Or if you'd like to volunteer in any way,
that would be awesome as well.
But we really believe that entrepreneurship has been,
in my case has been a vehicle that young people need to
explore as a career option, as was mentioned earlier.
Small business drives the heartbeat of this country.
And we are -- from my personal perspective,
what we have between our ears is really in many
ways that's all that's left.
Our industrial base is gone, and we really need to challenge
these young people to think creatively.
How can they create their own business?
How can they create something that sustains them rather than
having to depend on corporate America, who in many instances,
as was mentioned earlier, it has shipped jobs overseas and has
been doing so for decades now, so.
Michael Chodos: Thank you, Luis.
Valerie, can you -- you currently work in corporate
America, but you are also one of the President's
advisors on HBCUs.
So the connection between your work,
especially your work in women's leadership,
how can you talk to this group about ways in which they can
make connections between the spirit of entrepreneurship on
campus, your success, and how to create that sort of feeling that
there is a direction and a path?
Valerie Mosley: Thank you very much.
Thank you, John. Thank you, Marie.
I appreciate being here.
I was impressed by some of the comments that were made by the
panel, the earlier panel, and I'm going to share some of the
take-aways that I had from that.
And at the end of the day, it's relationships,
it's all about relationships.
And if we think about our interpersonal relationships,
our family relationships, our professional relationships,
people want to be appreciated, and there is some give and
there's some take.
So what I walk away with and what I would share to the
audience, and whether you're a student or whether you're a
college administrator, that what's going to matter in life
and what matters with regard to success and what comes
back is the quality of your relationships.
So some of the things that Dr. Ogilvie talked about or
Dr. Jones, and other panelists, Dr. alveaux,
it's about what do you say when you're approaching
a corporation?
And how do you engage them and how does
the student engage them?
So what I found to be very successful is taking,
or two things: One, you want some sort of engagement
with a person.
Let's say it's a corporate sponsor, a potential sponsor.
You want that engagement.
And two, you want to align interests.
So the first thing you have to do is spend time understanding
what is it that they want.
So I believe it was one of the presidents,
I think it was Dr. ones mentioning that they
did a survey.
What would you like to get out of your engagement
with the university?
And sometimes it's money.
Of course this is what you want.
They'd like to give it.
It's easy.
They can give the money.
They have a group of people that will just give money to
different causes.
Many times they want their employees to get
engaged in something.
So, at Wellington, for example, we have partners and
we have junior partners, called associates.
The first year associates have to select some sort of community
involvement and what is that involvement.
And more often than not, they want to be engaged.
So being able to -- and they want a connection
with the student.
So being able to say, can you allow some of our students
to judge the project that you're doing,
it gives exposure to the students and it gives some
engagement with the employees.
I think that's very important.
The other thing is I found -- what I do professionally is I
manage money, and I've been doing it for over 20 years.
And a lot of the individuals that come through,
the companies have huge -- they reward their
employees for giving.
And so you'd be surprised how much resources you can get just
by tapping into that resource.
And so I don't think that the development offices often go to
the groups that are involved with community service as
opposed to the treasurer.
So there are different points in a corporation that you can tap.
The other thing is that, as you know,
most developers at colleges will go for those that have the
money, naturally, but what I found is that there are a lot of
individuals that whose egos like being stroked by having naming
opportunities, of course.
But often that's applied to buildings,
and I know that you know that.
But many times they like it for programs.
So I found many strong entrepreneurs that would be
very happy to give money for a program that would,
that allows it to be sustainable.
So if it's entrepreneurship, thinking about how they grew up,
and often it's not someone that's from the United States.
So it might be folks in India or China, because they understand,
they understand the power of a drive.
In January I went to China.
I was in Honjo China, and I was at this event where they were
awarding these billionaires, the most successful businessmen.
I was really struck.
I'm going on a detour right here.
I was really struck that three out of the ten that were being
awarded, and I'm sitting next to somebody who is doing the
translation, and this guy is a shipping mogul,
he comes up and he whispers to me, he said, he can't read.
I said, excuse me?
He said, he didn't finish the sixth grade.
Another one didn't finish the third grade.
And he's thanking the government.
And his wife helps him read.
I said, I just thought that was remarkable.
Here he's a real estate shipping mogul,
has never been formally to college.
And there were several people like that.
And then the gentleman who was translating talked about his own
father who is the largest exporter of down out of China.
And he started by buying a small duck farm a long, long time ago,
and he too is not educated.
And so what struck -- and then at the same time --
talk about contrast.
So I'm there and there are all these billionaires and of
course I'm the only one that looks like myself.
I'm the only one there that doesn't speak Chinese.
And I get a text from someone that says,
can you tell me the number of African American women whose
companies are valued at $100 million?
And it just struck me.
Like the night before this is what I'm seeing,
and then here we struggle to find five to ten women in the
United States that had -- now, mind you,
for a company to be valued at $100 million,
if you assume an average of a six multiple for a smaller
company, they might need to have $20 million in sales,
which is negligible.
And mind you that night, later that night,
I had dinner with a young couple, the guy was 30,
with his wife, and he started an online company.
I said, what are you doing these days?
He said, oh, I changed and I just started online.
And he started in December.
This was the end of -- I'm digressing,
but there's a point to it.
It was the end of June, I mean January,
and he already had -- he was up to 10,000 a day, $10,000 a day,
and he's selling underwear online.
And he had an idea, and he went with the idea.
So the spirit, if there's a spirit of can do,
of entrepreneurship, and I believe that those guys that
wound up doing really well is because they had an opportunity.
Then they didn't -- and as the guy mentioned,
now it might be harder to become a billionaire if you didn't
have any education, you can't read, but at the time
it was that drive.
And I feel like if you give people exposure,
it is the exposure that empowers the young people,
and it engages the folks with the money.
So if you figure that it's all about entrepreneurship,
I mean it's all about relationships, it is,
who do you tap into.
And when you tap into an organization,
it's not just the person with the money,
it's also the people with the, with time,
because those that have time can influence the money.
And so I think sometimes people are shortsighted in just saying,
let me fill my endowment.
But if they are engagement and have a relationship,
the money comes so much more easily.
The last thing I'll say is that, this is a personal note,
so I've been with Wellington for 20 years,
and I gave notice that I'm going to withdraw and I'm going to
join the entrepreneurship space effective June.
Valerie Mosley: And that's a big step. I'm a single mom.
I have three kids. There are always risk.
You always wonder about the downside.
But I think I make decisions because I manage money
I think in terms of money.
Like a call option, call option has the downside is limited,
the upside -- it's like a hockey stick -- the upside is great.
So if you can protect your downside,
you got to go for the upside.
So I applaud you, and I'm going to do it too.
Michael Chodos: Well, Valerie,
I encourage you to go to SBA.gov and type in your ZIP Code,
and we'll connect you up with a counselor and mentor.
So we've got you covered.
You're not alone.
So, Terry, you're in charge of entrepreneurship
at the Urban League.
Can you talk about the ways in which the Urban League is
supporting and promoting entrepreneurship and
opportunities for connecting in with our networks here today?
Terry Clark: Sure.
Good afternoon everybody and thank you, Marie, thank you,
Michael, for inviting me.
I appreciate being here.
Our program, the Entrepreneurship Center Program
works through our affiliates.
Our organization is a 101-year-old organization that
is located in 35 states and the District of Columbia,
and an organization that about six years ago under
the leadership of our current President,
Former Mayor of New Orleans, Marc Morial,
developed an entrepreneurship program.
Because one of the things that the Urban League was looking to
do was to get more involved in economic empowerment.
And through that program, what we've been able to do is in the
last year serve about 8,500 business owners helping them
with management technical assistance that's allowed them
to be able to develop and grow their businesses.
In fact, Dr. Holifield was one of the affiliates that
we worked with out of our Cleveland office.
And what we're looking at is this: We feel the people that we
deal with primarily, they understand the technical
side of their business.
What we try to do is teach them the management side of the
business, how to be able to put your books together in a proper
manner so you don't have the Internal Revenue Service
bothering you, when to file your taxes,
how to put together a business plan,
what you do with a business plan, not only to get financing,
but to actually use it to run and operate your business,
things of that nature.
So what we look at is providing people with those technical
skills that are necessary whether they are starting
a business or they are in business.
And as a result of the services that we provided last year,
our clients were able to start and save almost 5,000 jobs,
along with get about $25 million in financing and
new business opportunities.
So we're pretty pleased with what we've been able to do.
And we're willing to expand the program.
But one of the things that the Urban League has always done,
we've always been in the technical assistance arena.
So we've provided management assistance and we do
management training.
Last year we decided it was time for us to tackle the issue that
really affects most business owners, and that's capital.
So what we are now in the process of doing,
and hopefully we'll have pushed out this year,
is we are in the process of developing a CDFI,
which is a Community Development Financial Institution.
This loan fund that we are going to develop when we fully
populate it will be $50 million, and that,
the primary purpose of that fund is to lend money to small and
minority owned businesses throughout this country.
In the 35 states that we do business in,
here across the District of Columbia,
and also in other states where we don't do business but we have
partners that we work with, what we're hoping is that through the
relationships that the Urban League has developed over the
course of the years with various commercial banks,
certainly with the SBA, that we will be able to populate this
fund over the courses of these next six to nine months,
and that will allow us to be able to turn money out into the
street and help people who are looking to start and really grow
their businesses have additional access for capital.
Because we found that that is one of the things that business
owners have a lot of difficulty in and especially the business
owners that we're dealing with.
Because a lot of our clients are people who come to our
affiliates, they may need assistance in business services,
but they may also need other services that the Urban League
provides, helping maybe a family member get a job or increase
their educational opportunities, or housing opportunities.
So we're able to kind of provide what we
consider a wrap around service.
But now if we move into the service of providing capital,
not only starting out with small businesses,
but then expanding that to people who are going to be
developing affordable housing over the course of time and
community facilities, we feel that now we have a deeper stake
in what goes in the communities that we serve,
and that's what we're looking to do.
And as time moves along, hopefully we will be able to
take that capital and help some of the people in this room and
some of the students that you work with in developing and
growing and operating their business.
That's our hope and our plan, because our major thing is to
help people develop businesses so they can be in a position
to hire other people.
Our goal is to increase job opportunities.
And we've noticed through research that we've done over
the course of the last six years since I've been in the program
is that small and primarily minority businesses tend to hire
minority individuals at a much higher rate than non-minority
So to grow these businesses and to help them develop now helps
not only those business owners but it helps the community
at large.
That's what we're looking to do.
Thank you.
Michael Chodos: Thank you. Ron.
Ron, you are yourself an entrepreneur,
and you're now the President of the U.S.
Black Chamber.
Terry was just talking about the sort of holistic approach
to the needs of a business in the community.
What does the U.S.
Black Chamber currently do?
How does it bring together those different resources in order to
develop the community in small business?
Ron Busby: Well, thank you, Michael.
I want to give some acknowledgment to some
individuals as well.
Obviously, Marie Johns who has been a true savior
to not only the U.S.
Black Chamber but to black businesses as well,
Jerry Flavin from the SBA, our good friend Donald Cravins.
As it was stated, I sit on the Council of Underserved
Communities, and there is another one of my members here,
Derek, who also sits on that council.
Most importantly, I'm a graduate of two HBCUs.
I went to undergrad at Florida A&M and I went to graduate
school at Clark Atlanta University.
Before I went there, I spent a year,
my senior year in high school, at Stanford University.
And I remember my first day going to school -- hold on --
my first day there they said, look to your left,
look to your right, one of y'all not going to be here.
I said that was probably me, and I made the best decision
I've ever made in my life.
I transferred to Florida A&M.
And I remember distinctively the first day of school they said,
look to your left, look to your right,
look in front and look behind, these are the individuals that
we want to partner with, we want you to marry,
because these are the future leaders of this country.
And to this day I credit most of my success to Dr. Sybil Mobley,
the Dean of School of Business and Industry at Florida A&M,
who truly saved my life.
One of the things that Florida A&M truly stood on
was about opportunities.
I know that most of you in this room represent HBCUs,
but the fact of the matter is more African Americans will
graduate next year from an online university than
all the HBCU's combined.
We truly have to take that into consideration on how we educate
our kids, how we motivate our children,
and how we administer our own universities.
Today is truly about entrepreneurism,
and as the President of the U.S.
Black Chamber, I'm really excited to be here,
because it is about entrepreneurism.
I get an opportunity to speak to children, high school students,
as well as college students across the country,
and I want to say, ladies and gentlemen,
this generation is not a lost generation.
They truly understand it.
We have to be the visionaries for our children,
because I don't want us to get them off focus.
Too often, we tell them that entrepreneurism is truly the way
of the future.
Most of us know that 90% of small businesses fail
the first year.
No ifs and buts about it, they are going to fail
the first day they start.
So why would you take a 18, 19, 20-year-old young African
American who is truly using their mom and dad's credit card,
they are going out for this first opportunity,
and now they are going to make a mistake on their own dime,
where they are not going to be able to make that up in
a short period of time.
I tell folks, I had the opportunity in my sophomore
year at Florida A&M.
We had a loan professor there from IBM.
He took a liking to me and said, Ron,
have you ever thought about working in Corporate America?
And I said, you know, I want to be an entrepreneur.
The guys that lived in my community, Volcano, California,
that were making money all worked for themselves.
And he said, well, do you know what you want to do?
And I said, well, the richest guy in my neighborhood
was a dentist.
So I want to be a dentist.
He said, well, I'd like for you to go and work at IBM
for a summer to get experience, you know,
just working in Corporate America.
And it was probably the best experience that I had,
because I thought I wanted to be an accountant until I spent
three months in an accounting department and realized I didn't
want to be an accountant.
I had the opportunity then to go back and work in corporate
America from IBM, Xerox, was the Vice President at Coca Cola.
And while I was at Coca Cola, I had the opportunity to meet some
of the richest entrepreneurs that this country has from our
community, which were McDonald's franchisees.
What folks don't understand with McDonald's,
if you're a franchisee, you started flipping burger,
you started cleaning grills, and you started
sweeping and mopping bathrooms.
I came out an entrepreneurial family where my father every
two weeks had to deal with making payroll,
had to deal with hiring and firing.
And so after working at IBM for about six months in their
African American Minority Program,
I decided that I was going to go back home and take
over the family business.
Now, understand I roughly made about $150,000
a year in Corporate America.
My father's business with his five employees was doing an
annualized revenue of about $150,000.
So I moved back home to the same bunk bed I had when
I was in the third grade.
All my friends had the same outcome.
They laughed at me as well.
But between the years of 1989 and 1996,
I doubled our annualized revenue every year going from $150,000
to ultimately $15 million, and we were the largest
black owned janitorial firm in the country.
I sat in the back of the room one breakfast
in Phoenix, Arizona.
Has a population of about 3% African American.
We all knew each other.
We all went to the same church on Sunday morning.
I was an usher, so I had an opportunity to see
everybody as they sat.
I knew how much money they gave.
And our Pastor asked those that were in the room if you were
interested in being a entrepreneur or you were already
an entrepreneur to stand up.
Now, we had about 3,000 members at our church every Sunday,
and about 2,500 of them stood.
Deborah Thomas: Wow.
Ron Busby: And that had the same output, wow.
As the President of the, at the time the Phoenix Black Chamber,
I said, they're on to something.
I had a small business at the time,
and because of my relationship with the,
at the time the Greater Phoenix Black Chamber of Commerce,
I said this is it.
This is what I can do, not only for myself but for my community
but also for this country.
That was the year 2000.
In 2002, I had had my second firm,
had grown it to about $4 million.
I sold that firm July the 11th -- I'm sorry --
July the 9th, 2002.
I'll never forget that day, because two days
later my wife died.
Now I was forced to raise two boys by myself.
They were five and six.
I had no health insurance.
I had no job.
I had no business.
And I was unemployed.
The Chamber got me through, and I committed to giving
back to the Chamber.
Today we have 105 black chambers across the country in 19 states
and we represent 240,000 black owned businesses.
We're founded on our five pillars,
and I don't think we understand the importance of the first one,
which is advocacy.
You see, black folks were real good in the 1980s and
the '90s at set aside programs.
I'm a graduate of an 8a program, so I know how important that is.
But, ladies and gentlemen, those days are over!
Set asides are gone.
Today it's about seats inside.
And the U.S.
Black Chamber is making sure that our voice is heard
here in the United States and Capitol Hill,
as well as the congress people that represent
our local communities.
The second one is access to capital.
And I hear the Urban League is doing something very similar,
and that's why I wanted to acknowledge Jerry Flavin,
because it's not just about going to a bank.
You see, I can't change Wells Fargo's lending policies.
If your FICA score is below 500, there's not a
whole lot I can do for you.
But there are things that I can do through the SBA that will
allow us to have access to the capital that
we all so dearly need.
The third one is contract opportunities.
And yes, the White House, this administration,
has money and they want to spend it with us.
I sit in conferences on a quarterly basis,
and we talk about the contracts that are available
where they can't find us.
Now they can by having a membership and a
relationship through the U.S. Black Chamber.
But, more importantly, not all of our members and businesses do
business with the government.
If we did business with each other, we'd be sustainable.
The problem is when you ask African Americans what they want
to do as an entrepreneur, they typically say,
something that I'm passionate about,
something that I don't mind getting up at 2 o'clock in the
morning and going and doing.
And I say, wrong answer!
You could be as passionate about a bad business plan as you want
to be, but if it's not a product or service that's needed in your
community, you're going to fail.
Let's look at opportunities from contracts that are
in the future.
Too often, we as black owned business respond to RFPs.
Ladies and gentlemen, 70% of those deals are done by the
time you ever receive them.
We can pray over them.
We can sharpen our pencils all we want.
We need to be thinking about opportunities in 2014,
2015 that we can get ahead of the curve in making sure that
our students have an opportunity to succeed.
Next is entrepreneur education.
I don't want to fight for you here to make sure that your
advocacy voice is being heard.
I don't want to fight to go get you money.
The don't want to fight to go get you the contract only so
that you fail.
We need to be working on our businesses as much as
we work in our businesses.
Again, I started off by saying more African Americans will
graduate from online universities.
We need to have online universities.
Both Florida A&M, Clark Atlanta University have online
universities, pleased to say.
And last, but most definitely not least,
we're in the business of managing and
developing our chambers.
And in July of this year, July 24th through the 27th,
we will bring 150 of the largest black owned businesses to this
very same room where we will have an opportunity to present
them in front of the SBA, as well as this administration,
to make sure that when we vote that we hold this
administration accountable.
We are good and we're going to go back to our communities and
say, yes, we had an opportunity to come to the White House,
and yes, we heard a lot of great speakers,
but at the end of the day, is it going to change your community?
Because if not, it was a waste of your time.
Look us up.
Thank you.
Michael Chodos: Thank you, Ron.
Well, listen, all of our speakers made the point that
success does not start and end with a good idea or even with
passion about a good idea.
It starts with a plan.
It starts with execution.
And, most importantly, I think you heard again and again and
again, it starts with mentoring.
Having those who have gone down that path before you connect
with you and bring you through the process which strengthens
the bonds of the community, not only so it will make you more
likely to succeed, makes you more likely to connect into
those in the community who can support you at
each step along the way.
And I would love to talk to our panelists about mentoring that
they have received and mentoring that they've done,
but we are just about out of the time for the panels to speak.
And I know that there's going to be some questions.
So why don't we move right into that.
So, do we have any questions today?
I know we have some microphones.
Jonathan Holifield: Yes, okay.
I'm Jonathan Holifield.
It's a pleasure to be here with the America 21 Project.
A couple of things: On May 21st and 22nd we will be hosting in
Cleveland, Ohio the nation's first Minority Biomedical
Entrepreneurship Conference in conjunction with BioEnterprise,
Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and
Case Western University.
Please visit minoritybiomedical.org.
Secondly, Deborah, it's good to see you again.
Deborah Thomas: Good seeing you.
Jonathan Holifield: I was a speaker at your
first conference.
Deborah Thomas: Absolutely.
Jonathan Holifield: And to build off of the points of
Valerie, Terry and Ron about meeting the puck where it's
going, let's sober up a bit.
36 million black people in the United States.
1.9 million black owned businesses.
1.8 million are sole proprietors.
Total revenues, total receipts from those 1.9 million
businesses is about $138 billion.
Essentially, 12.7% of the population is producing less
than 1% of the nation's GDP.
Meeting the puck where it's going,
connecting to regional innovation clusters and
ecosystems is critical to build off the historically
great work of those on the panel and the SBA, Department
of Education, and others.
Marie mentioned high growth enterprise in her comments,
but I would encourage us to spend some time there,
because we are not producing the jobs commensurate with
opportunities in the nation.
Thank you.
Ron Busby: I'd like to address that real quick.
You know, in 2010, the census came out,
and everybody was excited because there were more
African American new firms for the first time.
So we were excited.
I was depressed, because I said, here all these African Americans
that had great jobs, middle level and supervisor jobs,
and now either forced out, downsized, or just let go.
So now they have become an entrepreneur and they are
typically a consultant doing exactly what they
were doing before.
We truly need to look at where we're going into business and
what we're doing when we get there.
Valerie Mosley: And I'd add if we pay some attention to
trends demographically, which I do in my job,
the elderly is growing at a much rapid rate across the world,
particularly in the United States,
and so there are so many services -- I just want
to drop this.
If you're thinking about doing something,
elderly tends to have more wealth.
They may not have as much income,
but they certainly have more wealth.
If there are services that address that unmet need,
I think -- I'm just dropping one idea for you.
Michael Chodos: Erin, before we do that, we had over here.
Audience Member: Good afternoon, everyone.
I think the panelists have done a beautiful job,
and I am happy to say I've had the honor of being at one
of your events, as you know.
In all of the discussions we've had today,
I want to bring attention to the point of the globalization
aspect of entrepreneurship.
The world is getting very tiny because of online activities.
And I'm one of those individuals who never got a first degree,
but I run an investment fund, and I've been fortunate
enough to participate in everything that this
country has had to offer.
I'd like to just put a comment to the panel about the HBCUs and
the need to engage them in the sense that Africa is an emerging
market, and there is a small tiny component that I've been
pushing, and that's the responsibility for people like
myself on the diaspora of African parents born outside of
Africa who have made a lot of money living in the United
States all because there are individuals like yourself with
phenomenal educations, and the fact that some of us individuals
from the diaspora owe a massive debt to people who have been to
HBCUs, and we owe a massive debt to leverage relationships to
help bridge the gap between African American businesses
and the continent and emerging market.
And for a lot of people they don't know how to get there.
But if you want to leverage relationships of people like
myself from the diaspora who have got a foot in the United
States and a foot in Africa, this is one way to bring
back a lot of wealth into small communities like
Prince George's County.
I don't think I'd be here today if it wasn't for the fact that
I've been inspired by a lot of people who have done very well
under very difficult circumstances.
I'm not supposed to be able to run an investment fund.
I don't have a first degree.
But I do a pretty decent job of it.
And it's all because of the inspirations of African
Americans who have done phenomenally well.
And I just want to say thank you.
Montez Anderson: Hi, I'm Montez Anderson from Prince
George's County Economic Development Corporation.
This question is for Terry Clark.
We actually in Prince George's County just rolled out a
50 million dollar economic development incentive fund,
which is unprecedented throughout the country
for a county.
And I'm interested in hearing how your $50 million
program will work.
As we know, many companies, minority companies in
particular, have problems going to banks and getting loans.
And although they may have a good business plan,
they can't even get a loan to expand.
Is your fund going to be a loan fund, a grant fund,
or a loan fund that can convert to grants if certain performance
benchmarks are met?
How exactly can that work?
And we may need to talk afterwards to see ways
in which we can partner.
Terry Clark: Sounds good.
It will be a loan fund with a heavy emphasis on technical
assistance to bring people up to speed to be able to access the
fund, to assist them in being able to run and operate their
businesses so that the money can come back into the fund
so it can be relent.
We're looking to do co-lending with local lenders,
be they other CDFIs, other community development
So we're trying to be as flexible as possible but also
have a heavy technical assistance component to bring
people up to the point where they can access the fund,
and we can certainly speak.
Valerie Mosley: When you go back to leveraging
relationships, can I ask would your fund be able to partner
with a coalition of historically black colleges, for example,
where you would put up a certain amount of money and they
may have to raise money to meet it for the purposes
of entrepreneurship, something like that?
Because I think it's hard to replicate,
I mean no need is not efficient to recreate the wheel.
So if some schools are doing some great entrepreneurial
programs, maybe other schools can join.
Sometimes egos get in the way, but if you could just say,
this is a coalition to finance and to fund entrepreneurial
efforts, and that this is a Cedar Fund that needs to be
matched, then everybody has skin in the game to
making it successful.
Would your fund be able to do something like that?
Montez Anderson: We'll talk later.
Valerie Mosley: Okay.
Michael Chodos: Okay, we're going to have to wrap up here in
a minute. We can --
Dr. Ogilvie: Can you give me one second?
Michael Chodos: Oh, Dr. gilvie, yes.
Dr. Ogilvie: Hello, can you hear me?
I just wanted to say, I forgot to mention this earlier,
but we're having an African Finance Summit for
Entrepreneurial Ventures this fall.
So if you email me DT@business.records.edu or CUEED
cueed@business.records.edu, then we can
send you some information.
Michael Chodos: Thank you, Doctor.
And I just want to say, we've heard the theme again and again
and again today about supporting our entrepreneurs with access
to capital as well as access to technical support,
counseling and mentoring.
Once again, we want to convey the message today from the SBA
that we are there to help your students, support them,
and to help their businesses as they move into the community.
Please do have them connect up with one of our district offices
or one of our resource partners: SBDCs, Women's Business Centers,
or a SCORE volunteer, all of them will be able to navigate
your small businesses and your students to each of the
resources that they need at any particular time.
We have a number of programs, we've been hearing about
Jerry Flavin, the ambassador for our Microloan program.
We have access to capital opportunities at each stage
along this spectrum.
So we encourage everyone to take advantage of that.
So, with that, we have -- this conversation is just starting.
We're going to continue for the next couple of hours
in the breakout sessions.
Today we will not be reconvening back here after the breakout
sessions are over, because there's another event that will
be starting after we leave.
So once you are finished with the breakout session,
that will be the end of the day for us here today.
But we are going to be heading off into the breakout sessions.
I do want to thank each of our panelists for sharing their
really inspiring stories here today and starting this
conversation about where we can go next.
So, first of all, let me say thank you to them.
Speaker: And if everyone could please remain seated,
we're going to actually call up -- we were going to call up
Dr. Saunders-White from the Department of Education
to speak on behalf of the Department of Education,
and then we're going to hear from a senior White House
official in about two or three minutes.
So if everyone could just please stay seated,
we'll convene the entire program in about five or ten minutes.
Dr. Saunders-White: Well, good afternoon, everyone.
Audience Members: Good afternoon.
Dr. Saunders-White: We've had a wonderful investment of our time
this afternoon, haven't we?
Deborah Thomas: Absolutely.
Dr. Saunders-White: I just want to give another round of
applause to this panel and the panel that preceded it,
because I think they have done an extraordinary job
and continue to do an extraordinary job.
You know, the President talks about one government,
and truly this afternoon is an extraordinary example of what
that means from having the Small Business Administration and the
Department of Education come together with all of you here
to talk about truly how small businesses really become the
economic engine that drives our economy.
And so I wanted to share, if I could,
a little bit about -- you know, I can't represent the Department
of Ed without talking about the Cradle to Career agenda that we
have in education, starting with high quality early learning that
continues with an ambitious K12 reform agenda and concludes with
a higher education agenda that improves college access,
quality, and completion for all Americans.
And I want to capitalize on that "all Americans",
because the President's 2020 goal clearly says that we need
to require, we need to have 8 million additional graduates
over the next nine years in order for this nation to return
to its proper designation of being the most educated,
most competitive, most innovative organization
in the entire world.
Let me also share that within our MSI,
and particularly our HBCU community,
this administration has worked extraordinarily hard to ensure
that we're doing the right thing on the access agenda.
And in doing that, this administration has worked very
hard to keep Pell Grants at an all time high.
So if you look at the work over the last three years,
we have increased Pell by $818, and if you look forward thinking
in the 2013 agenda, you will see additional Pell increases.
What that means, ladies and gentlemen,
is that we have had 6 million students who started in
our agenda and now we're offering Pell opportunities
to 9.6 million students.
Most of those students are at your institutions.
Today, as we look at the opportunity,
the intersection between HBCUs, minority serving institutions,
and entrepreneurship, I will tell you we will not be able to
be that innovative engine if we do not ensure that,
as the panels say, the panelists said earlier today,
that we start creating employers instead of employees.
I'm so encouraged when I heard that Bennett has a minor in
entrepreneurship, Rutgers a PhD.
They are nonprofit organizations within our AANAPISI's
Mission College.
We are positioning ourselves to educate the
21st century scholar.
I want to conclude by really saying that an event like this
just doesn't happen.
Marie, your name is mentioned so many times today,
but I want to really afford you the accolades.
My mom told me you give someone their flowers while they're
here and not when they can't smell them.
And so, Marie, you've done an extraordinary job leading this
summit but, more importantly, working with our minority
serving institutions to ensure that all of our students
can feel the opportunity to be entrepreneurs.
In my own --
In my own organization I would be remiss if I didn't
acknowledge Dr. Leonard Haynes, Senior Director for Higher
Education Programs and Institutional Services.
You know, Leonard is an institution himself.
(laughter and applause)
It gives me great pride to work alongside him.
And, you know, he is also helping me to understand,
but he's also helping all of your young people,
and with him is a Aggie himself.
Jonathan Braxton, I think -- I know we've been talking
about Aggie pride a lot this afternoon.
But let me just also say, I want to recognize and commend
all the HBCUs and MSIs represented here today.
It's a wonderful day to be in Washington.
However, your agendas, I know, are full.
And the opportunity that you've taken to come here and share
your ideas I think has enriched this experience.
We know you're doing fine jobs on your campuses.
We in Washington are here to help you in any way that we
can meet the objectives that you've set forth for
all of our students.
The Obama administration has chartered a course truly that
embraces economic recovery.
Our HBCUs, our historically black colleges and universities,
our MSIs, minority serving institutions,
must do their part, because we will,
we continue to have an America that's built to last.
Thank you so very much for coming out today.
Marie Johns: Well, we're about to conclude this part of
the agenda and move quickly into breakout sessions.
But I just wanted to say briefly how deeply grateful I am
to all of you who have come today to participate and,
as I mentioned earlier, for the SBA's part anyway
an historic conversation.
Certainly my name has been called a number of times today,
and I've been humbled by that, but I have been only one part of
an extraordinary team.
Certainly, Jonathan and, Jonathan Braxton and
Dr. Leonard Haynes from the Department of Education,
John Brown and my beloved colleagues at the SBA,
Michael Chodos and Ellen Thrasher, Erin Andrew,
Nina Bond is here.
There are so many people, Jerry Flavin.
Everyone from the SBA, please just raise your hands and help
me in acknowledging these people who have done so much
work to get us to today.
And to our extraordinary panelists,
we just thank you for sharing your knowledge.
So much of what gets in our way is the fact that we don't --
we know everything that we need to know,
and the challenge is to make sure that we're sharing it
in ways that we can empower even more people.
Nicole Nelson, hi Nicole, I'm sorry I didn't call
your name earlier.
To share information in a way that we again are providing the
infrastructure for our brilliant students to truly become the
business leaders, the Deborah Thomases of their generation.
We have all the ingredients, but now it's up to us to
connect those dots in a way that are going to
truly make the difference.
As Dr. Saunders-White mentioned, our economy depends on it.
Our president talks all the time about the 21st economy
that's resilient, that's robust, that's inclusive,
and that's built to last.
And what young entrepreneurs do, the students on your campuses
are going to do to make that happen is absolutely -- we
couldn't be involved in more important work.
So I hope that you have -- are there any other instructions,
Erin, for later?
Erin Andrew: Yes.
Just to let everyone know, we're going to have to have everyone
exit out of these doors.
No one can go out of these doors.
We have another event coming in.
But I just wanted to -- we're going to go to the breakout
sessions now.
So I wanted to kind of introduce the folks -- I don't know,
Marie, if you want -- we're going to -- breakout number
one is room 234, and Meredith is going to take
this group to that.
Breakout number two is room 430-BC.
And breakout number three is Nina, right over here.
The number for your breakout is on your name tag.
So go ahead and look on your name tag.
And we just, we want everyone to have a chance to socialize.
We're going to do that in the breakout sessions,
but we need to move out of here within the next few minutes.
Marie Johns: Okay.
Thank you all very much. We will state connected to you.