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[Entrepreneurs Summit] Drive Sales Using Social Media Technology

Let’s face it—we are living in the social media age and it doesn’t appear that this is going to let up anytime soon. At this point, avoiding social media isn’t the way to ‘beat ‘em’ so you may as well ‘join ‘em.’ If success in business is your mission, it’s nearly impossible not to.

[Related: Black VC’s and Financiers Who Want to Invest in You]

For small business owners, it is imperative to have an engaging online presence that best represents your brand, product, and desired customers. The kicker, though, is that a mere presence is not enough. There must be strategy implemented to drive sales using social media technology. Here is where the 2016 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit comes in.

At this year’s Entrepreneurs Summit experts Lamar Tyler (CEO of Tyler New Media and creator of BlackandMarriedWithKids.com) along with Reuben Canada (CEO of Canada Enterprises and creator of Jin+Ja Juice), will explain how to use email, online marketing and social media platforms to drive business sales and revenue. These experts will show you how to take advantage of the ability to cost-effectively generate non-stop leads and target warm prospects and turn them into long-term paying customers.

Who are these “experts” and what qualifies them to be so, you wonder?

Well, Lamar Tyler is the creator of Traffic Sales & Profit, where he trains users on how to use analytics to develop content, products and relationships with brands. He also informs on how to use automation to improve customer service, workflow and he even offers advice on when it may be necessary to leave FT jobs to run your own company. His expertise was acquired with years of trial, training, and consulting in order to provide you with the necessary tools to achieve online success.

Reuben Canada is a former patent attorney at Woodcock Washburn. He later ventured to create Canada Enterprises, LLC where he introduced Jin+JA in 2009. He is a wellness advocate who received his B.S. in electrical engineering from Swarthmore College and his J.D. from Howard University.

Register now to check out Tyler and Canada at the 2016 BE Entrepreneurs Summit, May 4-7, Loews Hotel Miami, Miami, Florida, and learn how to take your business to the next level.

Be sure to follow Black Enterprise on social media @BlackEnterprise for Entrepreneur Summit news, highlights, and updates. Use hashtag #BESummit to stay in the loop. Please be on the lookout at BlackEnterprise.com as speakers, activities, and sessions are announced.

Black Enterprise

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ABC’s ‘Shark Tank’ Seeks Entrepreneurs of Color

(Image: File)

Now in its 7th season, ABC’s Shark Tank has empowered entrepreneurs to strike deals worth over $ 70 million.

Since the beginning, black entrepreneurs have shined. Mr. Tod’s Pie Factory struck a deal with Barbara Corcoran and Daymond John on episode 1 with a near $ 1M valuation.

In Season 7, entrepreneurs like Sarah Ribner of Piper Wai, and Ben Young and Gregory Coleman of Nexercise, continue to inspire on Friday nights. Nexercise’s $ 18.7M valuation is the largest to date on Shark Tank.

[Related: Black-Owned Business Receives Largest Shark Tank Tech Funding In Show’s History]

Joshua DuBois and Brandon Andrews of Values Partnerships are working to ensure the voices pitching on ABC’s Shark Tank reflect the diversity of audiences watching. With the support of producer Mark Burnett, Values Partnerships – a Washington, D.C., based firm engaging faith-based and diverse communities worldwide – leads a nationwide casting tour focused on bringing more diverse ideas and voices to the show, and supporting entrepreneurship nationwide.

“ABC’s Shark Tank and its producer Mark Burnett are committed to supporting entrepreneurs from every community in the nation. The power of seeing someone who looks like you successfully pitch a business on the show cannot be understated,” says DuBois.

In 2015, Values Partnerships held 11 casting events in 6 cities. Several entrepreneurs, including Sprëtz  and Piper Wai pitched at Values Partnerships events and were selected for Season 7 of Shark Tank. The 2016 tour kicks off this week in Miami (March 4).

Events are planned in other cities, including Austin, Texas; NYC; Washington, D.C; Detroit, Michigan; New Orleans, Louisiana; Cincinnati, Ohio; and San Francisco/Oakland.

“Our first goal is always to get more entrepreneurs on the show. Second, is finding ways to empower entrepreneurs across the nation. We provide pitch prep, entrepreneurship resources, and access to capital discussions to ensure every entrepreneur that pitches at our events leaves better than they came,” says Andrews.

In December 2015, new data revealed that minority-owned firms in the U.S. rose from 5.8 million in 2007 to 8.0 million in 2012. Yet, minority-owned firms still comprise only 29% of the total number of U.S. firms.

According to the latest numbers, there are 3.3 million Hispanic firms, 54,749 native Hawaiian or pacific islander firms, 2.6 million black or African American firms, and 1.9 million Asian firms. “We are working to increase these numbers,” adds DuBois.

“Despite shows like Shark Tank, the rate of entrepreneurship in America has declined since the 1970s. African Americans start businesses at a higher rate than other communities, and black women are the most prolific group of entrepreneurs in the nation. This brilliance must be supported and these stories must be told,” adds Andrews.

To learn about the casting tour and sign up to pitch in your area, visit www.ValuesPartnerships.com/SharkTank/.

Black Enterprise

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New Startup Accelerator Addresses Needs of Minority and Women Entrepreneurs Who Have Limited Access

Young black professional woman sitting at a desk

(Image: File)

Limited access to private equity and debt financing remain persistent factors which inhibit both the creation and growth of businesses within minority communities and among women.

Addressing their needs is the Minority Venture Partners (MVP) Accelerator Inc., a not-for-profit startup program for commercializing digital, social, and mobile innovations developed by minority and women entrepreneurs. MVP was co-founded and launched by Vanguarde Consulting Group, a Venture-in-Residence firm at the New York Institute of Technology’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. MVP is one of five regional winners of the 2015-2016 U.S. Small Business Administration Growth Accelerator Fund Competition.

[Related: Angels and Unicorns: Black Women-Owned Businesses Grow But Raise Very Little Seed Money]

Partnering with the New York Institute of Technology’s School of Management, the MVP Accelerator provides a collaborative environment where individuals can be mentored by faculty, seasoned entrepreneurs, and professionals; all while accessing a place to build infrastructure and acquire talent. MVP provides comprehensive support in the form of knowledge, networks, and capital to not only bring technology products developed by minority and women to market but, likewise, facilitate profitable exits whenever possible.

“In the current environment, trends in digital, social, and mobile technologies make MVP’s accelerator focus extremely meaningful,” notes D. Bernard Webster, managing partner at MVP and Vanguarde. “MVP’s first class includes four companies currently pioneering technologies that uniquely support the advertising industry. Each firm has introduced minimum viable product to market; and combined have total revenues of more than a $ 1 million.”

MVP participants are offered the added benefits of business and technical insights from the innovation and media teams at Uniworld Group, which ranks No. 8 on the B.E. Advertising Agencies list. A longstanding multicultural ad firm, UWG assists clients such as Ford, Colgate-Pamolive, the U.S. Marines, Amtrak, and Home Depot to reach emerging audiences. UWG provides guidance to MVP founders looking to create successful vendor relationships within the advertising industry, while evaluating each firm for potential contracting opportunities and integration of their technologies into current brand campaigns. MVP supports its portfolio firms by both securing institutional funding and facilitating business development opportunities which drive revenue and growth.

“MVP Accelerator is committed to generating funding to invest growth capital into more than 90 companies over the next four years,” according to Webster. Upon completion of the accelerator program, companies will also be able to leverage the broad partner network of the NY Private Equity Forums, which boasts over 3,000 successful entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, and corporate partners. Through the NYPEF, MVP has developed a reliable pipeline to a pool of investors prioritizing the launch, scale, and exit of promising minority ventures.

Those companies interested in the MVP Accelerator program can submit their application at http://MVPAccelerator.com. The program’s 2nd class will commence March 2016 and conclude in December 2016 when each team will have the opportunity to present to investors, industry leaders, and the community at large.

Black Enterprise

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Walker’s Legacy to Research Fastest-Growing Segment of Entrepreneurs: Black Women

Natalie-Madeira-Cofield[1]Walker’s Legacy, a business collective for women of color, has been contracted to research the challenges and opportunities for women of color in business by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the National Women’s Business Council.

Panels and research conducted by business experts will take place in Washington, D.C. and New York City. Both metropolises have high rates of black female entrepreneurship. The goal is to gain greater insight from qualitative research on black women-owned businesses, one of the fastest growing segments of entrepreneurs.

“One of the most remarkable entrepreneurial trends in recent years is the phenomenal growth among black women. The number of firms skyrocketed by 178% from 2002 to 2012. And employment and receipts are increasing too, but not nearly at the same rate. There’s a lot more to this story, and we’re excited to explore these important questions,” said Amanda Brown, executive director, National Women’s Business Council.

In addition to the research and panel work, Walker’s Legacy will also hold a series of Women in Leadership programs across the country during March to celebrate women of color in business. Some of the programs include women’s leadership power brunches in cities such as Houston, New Orleans, and Orlando, and roundtable discussions in various cities.

The organization is also launching two international programs—one in Johannesburg, South Africa and the other in Nairobi, Kenya, on March 8th in honor of International Women’s History Month.

“For more than five years Walker’s Legacy has worked to advance the agenda and opportunities of women of color in business from the White House to local communities. As an organization we recognize the broad spectrum of needs that entrepreneurs and professional business women have from visibility, to access to networks, to access to opportunities, to access to capital and we have designed our organization to build local and global ecosystems to increase supports and success of women of color in business,” said Natalie Madeira Cofield, founder and CEO, Walker’s Legacy.

“Walker’s Legacy is designed to make celebrity of professional and enterprising women of color in business by highlighting their stories and celebrating their unique achievements.”

Walker’s Legacy has a network of more than 13,000 women and represents more than 20 cities throughout the nation.

Black Enterprise

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5 Essential Tips For Struggling Entrepreneurs

Dr. Willie Jolley

When the Ford Motor Company was facing financial difficulties around the time of the Great Recession, Willie Jolley, Ph.D. was one of the men the automaker called on to avoid a financial bailout and turn the company around.

He worked with Ford for three years and, in 2009, Ford went on to billion-dollar profits.

Jolley speaks globally with corporations such as Walmart, Verizon, Coca-Cola, and Prudential. He is also the host of the top-rated motivational show on Sirius XM, The Willie Jolley Wealthy Ways Show. He is known on the motivational speaker circuit as ‘American’s Comeback King.’ For many small business owners and entrepreneurs who might be struggling to find their way, Jolley, author of Turn Setbacks into Greenbacks, offers the following five tips.

  1. Stop commiserating: People who sit around and commiserate are the people who would rather complain about problems than do anything to fix them. We can complain about the dark or we can light a candle. Business is tough and doing it on your own is hard work.  No matter where you are though, commiserating isn’t going to help.
  2. Don’t let your pride poison your prosperity: Some people feel that some work is beneath them, and that it would bring a stigma to them if people knew they were doing supposedly ‘demeaning’ work. Yet they are struggling to pay their bills. Stop trying to put up a facade of success and get real. The fact that you are taking a shot at the American dream and entrepreneurship is commendable and honorable.
  3. Stretch your financial goals this year: If you’re thinking small, you’re never going to make it. Start thinking about success in an uncommon way. Start thinking about making it big. Start dreaming about your bank account full of greenbacks.
  4. Keep trying: When faced with a challenging time in business, people will say, ‘I’ve tried everything.’ When I ask them if they have tried this or that, typically they will say, ‘No, I never thought about that.’ Grab a pen and paper and list all the things you can come up with. After you have exhausted your own thinking, ask other people in your network.  Trust me, you haven’t thought of everything.
  5. Speak positivity into your business: Even when things have hit a rough spot or business is slow, you must speak positivity into your business and your life. For instance, never say, ‘I am desperate for work and I’m never going to make it.’ Instead, say, ‘I am an expert and very good at what I do. I do occasionally have some challenges, but so does everyone, and they are always temporary.’ What you speak is what you attract.

Black Enterprise