N'DIGO - We Break Bread

Blackonomics - Your Obligation to Buy Black

Please understand, this is not the old skool, 'fight the power', 'raise your fist', 'dashiki wearing', 'afro and black fist pick' rant.  This conversation has real implications regrading the state of Black economics, today, tomorrow, and for generations to come.

This is real.  You, including myself, are obligated to support Black businesses; not just any Black owned business, but quality Black owned businesses. 

Why?  Because with as much perceived power that we as a people have, the only true solution to ending violence in our streets, drug abuse in our neighborhoods, and teenage pregnancy is financial justice; financial empowerment.  Why have political prowess and social acceptability, without financial ownership? 

In order to be fully sustainable as a culture, all three elements of the financial empowerment cycle must be aligned.  So what's required and how do we meet the goals?  Let's explore the mission.

#1.  We are obligated to support QUALITY Black owned and operated businesses.  It is our charge as a people to support other entrepreneurs that resemble us.  This is not about being racist or excluding any race from this process.  It is about taking ownership and responsibility for the possibilities of our community.  As a Black business owner, 99.9% of my revenue is generated by other African Americans.  Very rarely, if at all, do consumers of other cultures seek my services, or the services of other African American owned businesses to spend their hard earned money.  Often, Blacks don't think twice about where or with whom we spend our money with.  In most cases, it doesn't even matter.  Simply put, we generally don't care. 

The number one complaint from Black consumers is that Black business owners don't provide quality service. Truth be told, we have all experienced some fundamental flaws with product or service providers, yet we rarely say, "I ain't never doing business with WHITE people again!!!"  As soon as we have a problem at an African American owned establishment, we are quick to say, "I ain't never doing business with BLACK people again!!!"  That sentiment is selfish and unfairly places all Black owned business owners in the same category.  Surely, all businesses could benefit from staying on top of ensuring they offer the highest quality.  We as consumers owe it to our selves and to the business owners to communicate when they are not providing the highest quality customer service possible; and not in a demanding manner, but as a critical friend.  Communicating your needs and wants to business owners will help them provide quality products and quality service.

#2. Consider the amount of money you save if you only spend with Black owned businesses.  When I first got on board with this movement, I was amazed at how much money I saved.  Normally, when I wanted something to eat, I stopped wherever my wallet could afford.  Now, if I see that I'm unable to spend the money with a quality Black owned business owner, I don't spend the money.  I realized that the money I was saving was on products and services that I really didn't need anyway.  Unfortunately, there are some areas that still need Black owned presence like grocery stores, hardware stores, and children's department stores.

#3. If We Don't Support Us, How Can We Expect Anyone Else to Support Us?  There are so many African Americans in the business of starting a business, yet they don't feel the need to deliberately support other African American owned and operated businesses.  Unless we build our own quality business network, how are we ever expected to truly indulge in the "American Dream"?

I could go on, but I am interested in hearing from you.  What are your thoughts Chicago?


Remember George's Music Room?

NFTE & Irving "Magic" Johnson Inspire Young Entrepreneurs - See Video

2011 Dare to Dream Gala: Evening Event from NFTE on Vimeo.

2011 Youth Business Owners Dominate Competition

On May 24, 2011, NFTE Chicago held its 8th Annual Citywide Business Plan 
Competition sponsored by NYSE Euronext Foundation and Bank of America.  
The competition, hosted at the state-of-the-art auditorium at Morningstar, 
featured some of Chicago's brightest young entrepreneurs from high schools 
throughout the city. Finalists competed for over $10,000 worth of venture 
grants and the opportunity to move on to NFTE's national competition which 
will be held in New York City in October 2011. 
First Place (and moving on to compete in NYC!)
Attallah Wilson, 17 
Junior, Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep 
Founder; Stick and Zips
Second Place
(also moving on to compete in NYC!)
Karalyn Kelley, 16
Junior, Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep
Founder; Food Girl
Third Place
Tia McClellan, 18 & Renita Williams, 18
Seniors, Whitney Young Magnet High School
Co-Founders; iCollegeProcess
Honorable Mentions
Anthony Driver, Jr., 18
Senior, Chicago International Charter Schools - Ralph Ellison
Founder; Charge 'n' Go
Tracy Nunnery, 18
Senior, School of Entrepreneurship at South Shore Campus
Founder; Creative Desire
Michael Padilla, 15
Freshman, EPIC Academy
Founder; Off the MAP Tutoring
The 2011 Citywide Finalists competed against 36 of their peers from around
Chicago to win a spot in the finals round. The semi-finals round of 
competition was held at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management
on May 11, 2011. 
NFTE Chicago commends all its students for their hard work and congratulates
its 2011 Finalists for their stellar performances during 2011 Citywide Business 
Plan Competition! 

Thumbnail image for 2finalists.jpg





5 Reasons to Protect Your Social Networking Reputation

Despite what we want to believe, the Internet is open to the public; the galactic public.  It's not just you in your corner of the room where no one can hear or see you.  Keeping that in mind, it is very important to watch what you say on the Internet, specifically on Facebook and Twitter, since they are the most popular social networking sites in existence, today.
Below are five steps you can take to protect your social networking reputation.

#5. Be Smart; Watch What You Say - If you wouldn't say it in front of someone you respect, don't post it on a social networking site.  If you wouldn't say it in front of a parent, grandparent, pastor, or someone you highly respect, or wouldn't want to disappoint, don't say it.

#4. Be Selective About Who You Let in Your Network.  The only people I accept into my network are people I know or who were referred to me by someone I respect and honor.  What if your pastor asked to follow you on Twitter, could you?  What about Facebook?  Are you proud of what you say and have you thought about how what you say online may affect future opportunities.  If not, start doing so, today.

#3.  Be Careful not to Offend -  You have the right to express yourself and you have freedom speech, but social networking is designed for your 'friends'.  Remember, people have access to all your personal comments; your comments about the size of your... who you prefer to sleep with, or not... how much marijuana you smoke... and so on and so forth.  Posting your explicit comments on my Facebook wall can be, and has been offensive.  Be careful not to offend.  The social networking site that has me miffed the most is Twitter.  Although I have total control control over who I follow and who I allow to follow me, I always seems to learn ore about people than I am willing to know.  Be careful not to offend.  Don't offend others, but more importantly, don't offend your brand.

#2. Only use Social Networking for Business - One way to protect your online reputation in the online world is to remove the personal from the experience.

#1. Don't Expose Too Much of Yourself - At the end of the day, your reputation is all you have,  Protect that as you would your most sacred and intimate relationships. Let no one defame you or discredit your brand.  Social media is meant to build a positive, reputable name for yourself.  This media is permanent and if misused, it can haunt you one day.  Becareful to not expose too much of yourself.  The message is never lost.



Netiquette: Social Networking Etiquette

   I see nothing wrong with creating a secret society where only members can go and share their deepest most inner thoughts regardless how immoral or anti-establishment those thoughts may be; but HELLO!  The place for that ain't the Internet; and for sure it's not through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.  According to Webster's, social is defined as 'marked by pleasant companionship with one's friends'.  Webster's define friend as, 'one attached by respect or affliction; one who is not hostile; one who supports or favors something'.  Webster's goes on to define 'media' as "a channel or system of communication, information, or entertainment".
     Social media, or online networking has different meanings depending on the end user.  I am an extrovert who's never had a hard time going out meeting new people.  For me, making new friends online is not my personal objective for networking, ONLINE.  It's about business.  I prefer to network online with people I already know, like family and friends.  Is it possible for people to make new friends online, you ask? Sure it is.  Look at companies like eHarmony.com and uMatch.com.  These online social dating networks are true success stories for properly using  online networks.
     And having said that, some people just aren't understanding the longevity and immediate impact of letting just ANYBODY into your secret society (social network); online or off.
     I teach entrepreneurship to high school students and all my students know, to me, your reputation is all that you have and it must be protected at all costs.  Your personal reputation filters to your corporate brand.  Everything associated with you is indicative of the reputation of the brand.
     So as we move about our lives, introverted or extroverted, we must be more cognizant  of our reputation in the eyes of others.  Remember, you will never please all of the people, all of the the time, but we are in control what we say, and how much we really want people to know about us.
     Protect your network!

The New Generation of Entrepreneurs: Business Owners Under the Age of 25 Take Chicago by Storm

There are many people in Chicago that have been delt a heavy financial blow tot he lagging economy over the last four or fives years. But there is also an emerging movement of young entrepreneurs who are not phased one bit by the dead beat economy economic system of our city, state, or nation and they are the next generation of business owners that will run this town. What makes this group so special is that they understand that they will not have the option of retiring from an employer like their grandparents did. They are questioning the cost/benefit of a four year education and considering perusing an education that will directly benefit their current hunger for business ownership. This new group of entrepreneurs also know that they have to be better prepared for financial uncertainty, so their present decisions about company revenues, in relation to how they are dispersed among principal owners of the business, will make all the difference in the world. Many of these young entrepreneurs are considering home ownership and financial securities as ways to fund their entrepreneurial spirit and back their ventures. Please understand, this is not your average teenage, fly-by-night, dream venture. Many of these young people are being mentored by some of the city's most successful business people, they have invested real dollars, completed some level of due diligence, and been taught using one of the world's greatest entrepreneurial programs for youth, the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (www.nfte.com), in Chicago Public Schools. Let's meet some of the rainmakers.

Johnnie Lovette, A.K. A. Johnnie Fresh - Age 21, CEO of StayFreshOnline.com
Johnnie started his business as a junior in high school selling Air Jordan's and blue jeans. Johnnie, now a junior at Illinois State University, has turned his school locker retail business into an emerging online fashion enterprise, www.StayFreshOnline.com. Consider Johnnie Fresh Chicago's own Bentley Farnsworth of urban fashion. Johnnie has done halftime productions for the WNBA's Chicago Sky, clothing boutiques Juggernaut and urban trendsetters, Self Conscious. Johnnie Fresh and his team are constantly being mentored by people like Dave Jeff of the Phli brand and past teachers who continue to support and motivate their efforts. StayFreshOnline is currently preparing for their second annual Weekend of Dreams fashion show fundraiser (April 2, 2010 @ Illinois State University), where the theme continues to rally around excellence, education, and style.
johnnie fresh.jpg

Kiarah "Kay Kay" Moore - Age 20, CEO Vory Clothing (www.voryclothing.com).
Kiarah is a serial entrepreneur who always has a new perspective on opportunity. Kiarah is very passionate about everything she does and that passion spills over into her most intriguing endeavor, Vory Clothing. Vory was inspired in her NFTE class in high school and she admits that' s what has kept her engaged not only in school, but in the development of her life. Kiarah is a sophomore at the University of Missouri. Vory offers t-shirts, bracelets, and linens. Be sure to check her out at www.voryclothing.com. You can follow Vory Clothing on Twitter at www.twitter.com/voryclothing

Ryan "Jeff" Lewis - Age 16, CEO of Jeff Dranks
- 50 years ago, Ryan's grandmother started what is now known as Jeff Dranks.  To Ryan's grandmother, she was just making lemonade, but to Ryan it is much more than lemonade; it's a drink that you should not be without. Ryan is a junior in high school and to date, he has sold more than 750 8 ounce bottles of Jeff Dranks, it is more than a notion that Ryan has introduced one of the next best beverage brands. You can follow Jeff Dranks on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeffgotdranks.

Deshwan Myricks (Age 18)  Kamonte Cooper (Age 17), and Uriah Ware (Age 17) - ATP (Addicted to Phresh)
- What started as an idea has blossomed into a name brand fitted hat business. Thanks to the mentoring of D.C. the Mad Hatter, ATP was able to score an exclusive deal with a name brand hat manufacturer and create a new brand name among urban fashionistas that dictate what's hot and what's not in the youth fashion world. So far, the unique marketing efforts have proven to be profitable. You can follow ATP on Twitter at www.twitter.com/atpnationulw

If you know of any young entrepreneurs between the ages of 9 and 15, introduce them to the concept of entrepreneurship by visiting www.nfte.com.

Creative Marketing Tips for Your Business

So we all know that in order to sell your product or service, there must be a demand for your product or service.  We also know that marketing is the medium used in creating the much needed demand for your product or service.  Marketing is a general term that includes advertising, promotions, event promotions, and a plethora of other strategies to create awareness.

Marketing a product or brand can be very expensive.  Listed below are a few creative marketing tips to create awareness for your product or service.

  1. Plan an in-home demostration.  If you don't want to use your home, ask a family member or friend to use their home in exchange for a free whatever it is you are selling.  It's the Tupperware model.  Bring the product or service to the consumer and directly sell the features and benefits of your offering.  The cost to produce such demonstrations ranges from 'time' to the cost of spirits and finger food for the number of guest you expect to attend.  The key is to make sure you have product on hand, or at least are ready sign customers up for your service.
  2. Contact the local media to see about getting some press around your business.  Often the local media is overlooked as a viable source of marketing.  The local media does a great job of supporting small business owners.  If you are not sure how to approach the local media on how to create some awareness, contact me at webreakbread@gmail.com, and I'll assist you in the process.
  3. Partner with a successful business owner.  Easier said than done, yet it's a creative marketing tip.  Find the leader in your field and create a win-win situation with them.  For example, if they refer business to you that they can't handle, maybe you offer them a percentage of the business transaction.  Send business their way in exchange for access to their supplier list.

If you have any other suggestions on how to creatively market your business, let me know. 

Advertisings Biggest Mistake - Mentioning the Competition


     One of the worst mistakes a company can make in an advertitising campaign is to mention the competition.  Companies like Verizon, Burger King, and a plethora of auto makers are in violation of advertising rule 107-B, section 42 E of the 'things you just don't do in advertising' manual. 

     One of my students asked me if McDonalds would sue Burger King for mentioning them in their recent television commercials.  I promptly responded with, "who is going to me mad at free advertising?"  It's free advertising simply because the competition mentioned their name, for free.


     Another testament is anytime you hear someone mistakenly refer to one commercial as the competitiors commercial, example, "hey, did you see that AT & T commercial when the guy asks if his map is covering the tv during a football game?"  The commercial is actually a Verizon commercial, but by Verizon mentioning the name of their biggest competitor, some consumers are left to figure out what company the commercial really belongs to.

     My advice, never mention the competion in any of your marketing efforts.  Focus on your competitive advantage and deliver an excellent customer experience.  That's the best way to get customers coming back and staying loyal.


     What are your thoughts?


No Joke! More Than 100% Return on Investments in Youth Operated Business


Ever heard of a 100% Return on Investment (ROI)?  How about a 1300% ROI?  I'm sure any smart, savvy investor would jump at the chance to get a 1300% return on every dollar invested.  Those types of returns are generally unheard of in any LEGAL entity; but in the world of youth entrepreneurship, high returns are expected.  Why?  Because the youth generally have fewer overhead expenses in addition to knowing something unique about their targeted market. 

The question is how do you get in?

To get in on the high return, low risk business of youth entrepreneurship investment, one should first identify a young person starting a viable business.  The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (www.nfte.com) offers their curriculum in more than two dozen Chicago public schools.  It's in these schools where future business moguls are currently being developed.

Meet, Eboni Croom, CEO of Uber Kicks (www.uberkicks.com).  Eboni is currently running her custom sneaker detailing business out of her bedroom.  It only took Eboni $250.00 to start her business and so far, the return on her initial investment has been a whopping 196%!!  And guess what her major obstacle to growth is?  Capital.

 Then there's Ryan Lewis, CEO of Jeff Dranks (jeffgotdranks@gmail.com).  Ryan manufactures down south homemade lemonade, using his highly coveted 'grandmother's' recipe. It took Ryan only $100 to start his business and so far, Ryan has mode more than $400 selling lemonade.  That's an amazing 400% ROI.  And guess what Ryan's major growth obstacle is?  Capital.

Instead of looking to start a business, I'm sure with your business acumen and a little start-up capital, one of these young entrepreneurs are sure to make financial history; sooner rather than later.

About Me - Scott L. Steward

Scott L. Steward.jpeg

Scott L. Steward, a 16-time award-winning teacher of entrepreneurship, expertise is frequently sought after by various publications. A contributing writer for Chicago's N'DIGO Magapaper, he provides tips on entrepreneurial ventures and suggestions for emerging entrepreneurs. In addition, Scott authored a business plan that is featured in the book, Make $1,000 in 35 days.


Known as the "force" behind a student's limitless future, Scott empowers students to become CEOs of their own businesses and lives, and to create wealth on their own terms. A business owner, educator, entrepreneurial expert, husband and father of three, he knows firsthand the enjoyable, and not so enjoyable, aspects of entrepreneurship.


Scott learned the importance of financial independence at an early age. Encouraged by his mother, he started his first business, Scott's Enterprises, at age 12. Scott's Enterprises provided car washing and lawn care services in his neighborhood. In high school, Scott and his cousin began successfully promoting parties and album release dates for national artists. It was these early experiences that created a foundation for his free enterprise journey.


Now CEO of Break Bread Marketing & Media, his multimedia production company and marketing consulting firm, and a Master Certified Teacher of Entrepreneurship by the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), Scott is dedicated to helping students realize and achieve their dreams. Through his more than 15 years of corporate marketing and business experience, Scott ignites the dreams of students by pouring belief into their minds and optimism in their souls. His passion and determination enables him to create an unprecedented connection with his students, who have turned into young entrepreneurs under his tutelage.


Inspired by his own successes, Scott recently added entrepreneurial services to his Break Bread brand launching an entrepreneurial summer camp for youth ages 13-20 in July 2008. This three-week intensive camp enables youth to develop a business plan, present their business ideas before a panel of professionals, and provide internship and job shadowing opportunities.


Scott earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Columbia College Chicago and a Master's of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications from Roosevelt University.


Scott landed on the path of entrepreneurship education in 2001, thanks in part to his graduate education at Roosevelt University. At Roosevelt, Scott developed "Young Entrepreneurs," a series of education programs that linked youth with entrepreneurship possibilities. When Scott lost his full-time job as a Regional Marketing Manager for a local electronic distributor, he decided to focus his efforts on Young Entrepreneurs. He presented the program to local schools, pitching his idea to school superintendents and principals. After being turned down by nearly 20 schools, he thought "If this doesn't work, I don't know what I'm going to do." Well--it worked!


Who is Scott Steward?

Scott Steward is a husband, father, entrepreneur, CEO of Break Bread Marketing Services and an expert in entrepreneurial education.


What does Scott Steward do?

Scott Steward inspires and motivates individuals to take responsibility of their own future. He helps people to realize and achieve their dreams through various outlets:


Break Bread Marketing and Media: A multimedia production company and consulting firm dedicated to providing exposure to small businesses and individuals. Exposure is achieved via the Internet, mobile and print advertisements, public relations and special events such as live performances.


Break Bread Educational Services: Provides entrepreneurship educational training and development to emerging business owners.


Break Bread Entrepreneurial Summer Camp: A three-week intensive camp that enables youth ages 13-20 to develop a business plan, present their business ideas before a panel of professionals, and provide internship and job shadowing opportunities.


Entrepreneurship Education: Teaches entrepreneurship education to high school students in the Chicago Public School system.


How many students launched businesses under Scott Steward's tutelage?

Scott has taught more than 100 students. Thirty percent of his students started successful businesses.


What differentiates Scott Steward from other educators?

  1. He is passionate about what he does, works with individuals to find their inner passion and teaches people how to grow their passion into businesses.
  2. He knows firsthand the bitter but sweet aspects of entrepreneurship and motivates individuals to become their own boss.


"Young Entrepreneurs"


Here are a few of the many students who have launched successful businesses under the tutelage of Scott Steward.


Bree Moore, a graduate of the School of Entrepreneurship at South Shore, started Bree's Cleaning Service in 2006. The company provides in-home cleaning services using supplies at the customers' home.


Angela Robinson, a graduate of the School of Entrepreneurship at South Shore, started Aqutie Wear 12 (http://www.aqutiewear12.com/) in 2006. Angela designs and manufactures urban fashions that appeal to young ladies between the ages of 14 and 24 who want to be fashionable and unique.  Angela is a freshman at Howard University.


Donald Grayson, a graduate of the School of Entrepreneurship at South Shore, started Don's Personal Training Service in 2006. Donald provides group personal training sessions to help people lose weight and increase muscle tone. Donald now attends Pasadena Junior College where he plays Defensive End on the school's football team.


Loren Golston, a graduate of Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy, is the CEO of LoPhotography, a mobile photography studio that brings professional services to her clients. Lauren started her business in 2007. She won second place in the Chicago citywide business plan competition in 2008 and placed in the top 12 of 24,000 students competing in the NFTE national business plan competition held in New York City in October 2008.  (http://www.suntimes.comtechnology/1234639,CST-NWS-teen22.article) Lauren is a freshman at Harold Washington College.


David Hurst, a graduate of the School of Entrepreneurship at South Shore, started Lawn care Extraordinaire in 2007. David provides lawn care maintenance to property owners to help maintain curb appeal and save the customer time.  David is a freshman at Harold Washington College.


Mia Bridges is the CEO of NV Lotion, an organic, handmade lotion company that she launched in 2007. Mia is a senior at Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy.


Ariel Buckingham is the CEO of Smile Entertainment, a party coordinator for childrens' birthday parties. Ariel produces two birthday parties a month and is currently a senior at Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy.  She has been in business since 2007.





"Mr. Scott Steward encourages us to think outside of the box and make our money work for us. Ultimately, if anyone has an idea, Mr. Steward is the person to go to.  He watches our ideas become more than ideas.  He watches our dreams become reality."

David Kembi, Student (Age 17)



"Mr. Scott Steward's teachings and motivation has led to many successful entrepreneurs."

Garrett Mitchell, Student (Age 17)



"Wisdom, integrity, professionalism, determination, dedication, perseverance, resourcefulness, honesty, and most importantly CONFIDENCE are the traits that I obtained from Mr. Steward's class.  His class showed me that dreams really can come true."

Riyan Jones, Student (Age 18)



"Mr. Steward's class has prepared me for life as an adult.  It taught me how to create a business out of my personal interest and creativity.  Not only has it benefited me intellectually but it has also provided me with some of the best connections of a lifetime."

Nicholas Dillion, Student (Age 18)



"Mr. Steward changed my life.  His class helped me to evolve personally. 

I now know what my future holds."

Samantha Gonzalez, Student (Age 18)



"Scott has an unparalleled drive for success and work ethic.  His charismatic, engaging personality motivates people around him to reach for the stars and achieve more than they ever thought they could."

Scott Issen, Executive Director of Future Founders, Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center




Continue reading...

How Can Entrepreneurship Help Save the Lives of Chicago's Youth?

According to a report from ScoopDaily, a list of the 5 Worst Cities In America for Urban Youth was compiled.  

How do you suggest American youth utilize the skills gained from entrepreneurship education to reduce violent crime?


The list is below.

5. Cleveland, OH
With a high school graduation rate of 34%, the city of Cleveland has among the lowest graduation rates in the country-this according to the America's Promise Alliance. In the most recent annual report filed by Cleveland's Juvenile Division of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, a total of 11,254 "Delinquency and Unruly" cases were filed.  African-American youth made up 64% of individual offenders, the highest of any minority group.  Moreover, the city's unemployment rate stands at 8.3%.  After typing in Cleveland's zip code of 44101 at Recovery.gov, over $27,000,000 in Recovery Act funds has been received, with zero jobs created to show for it.
4. Baltimore, MD
At 41%, Baltimore's high school graduation rate lands it on the list of Cities in Crisis compiled by America's Promise Alliance.  According to the State of Maryland's recent annual report of Juvenile Services, African-American youth made up more than 43% of those placed in Juvenile Detention Facilities, 47% of Out-Of-Home Placements, and 80% of those placed in Shelter Care Programs, the highest of any group.  Among  Baltimore's recent data on Maternal and Infant Health, African-American infants had the highest mortality rate (15.5 per 1000 live births) of any group. Currently the city's unemployment rate stands at 7.6%. Recovery.gov shows that over $113,000,000 in funds have been dispersed for Baltimore's zip code of 21202; some 202 jobs have been created for this area.
3. Atlanta, GA
At 44%, the City of Atlanta also boasts one of the nation's lowest graduation rates, landing it in the same pool of Cities in Crisis.  The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice reports that for Atlanta's Fulton County, African-American youth made up over 93% of total intake for unique youth served for criminal offenses; over 92% of admissions for criminal offenses; over 92% of releases for criminal offenses committed; over 96% of the average daily population for criminal offenses; and over 95% of child care days served for criminal defenses.  This past summer, The Atlanta Department of Police's Gang Unit has identified some 50 youth gangs in the city, notwithstanding the surrounding suburbs-this according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.  The city's unemployment rate stands at 10.5%, more than the nation's current employment rate of 10.2%.  According to Recovery.gov, the Atlanta zip code of 30354 has received over $42,000,000 in funds, but only 30 jobs have been created.
2. Detroit, MI
The motor city presents a dismal high school graduation rate of 38% according to America's Promise Alliance; it too is struggling with the same educational challenges as Atlanta, Baltimore, and Cleveland.  According to the most recent executive summary of juvenile statistics published by the Michigan Department of Human Services, Detroit's Wayne County is at the top of the list of counties identified for targeted intervention due to a high juvenile crime arrest rate over a period of 5 years, and a high prevalence of arrests in the most recent year of documented juvenile justice data.  Statewide, African-American youth comprise almost 50% of arrested juveniles.  Detroit is also known to be one of the most violent cities, rated as the nation's murder capital by Forbes.  The FBI reports 17,428 instances of violent crime out of a population of 905,783, in their most recent published data on U.S. Crime. Michigan Higher Education Land Policy Consortium reports that Detroit has an infant mortality rate of 15.4 per 1000 live births.  The city's unemployment rate stands at a staggering 17.3%.  For Detroit's zipcode of 48201, more than $20,000,000 in Recovery Act funds has been received, with only 67 jobs having been created.
1. Chicago, IL
With the highest graduation rate of the 5, Chicago still barely manages to graduate more than half of its Urban District students with a high school graduation rate of 55.7%-this according to the special analytic report on high school graduation published by America's Promise Alliance.  According to the Illinois Criminal Justice Authority's most recent annual report, almost 300,000 youth live in poverty in Chicago's Cook County. Over 26,000 crimes against youth have been reported.  Over 31,000 youth in Cook County have been arrested for criminal offenses; and of those arrested, 72% were African-American youth, the highest of any minority group.  Chicago's struggle with youth violence has received national attention over the past year.  In the previous academic school year, 36 Chicago-area students have been killed, with the recent death of 16-year old Derrion Albert receiving the most national attention.  According to the most recent data on Infant Mortality by the Cook County Department of Public Health, African-Americans have a mortality rate of 14.7 per 1000 births, also the highest of any racial group.  Chicago's unemployment rate stands at 10%. For Chicago's zipcode of 60603, more than $800,000,000 in Recovery Act funds has been received, with a dismal 19 jobs created.

Are You Old Enough to Start a Business?? Who Isn't?

Trent the Young Entrepreneur
What is the right age to start a business? Do you know any young people in business? How young are they? Do you know mature people in people in business? Tell us about them.

Small Business Ownership Tips - Make Some Extra Cash

With a little ambition, this could be you on the way to the bank.
You don't have to be an experienced business person to bring in additional income for yourself or your family.  All you need to know is how do, or provide something, that people are willing to pay for.  Not sure how to get started?  Here are two suggestions.

  1. Start with a hobby.  Do you have a skill or special talent?  If so, this could be a great opportunity for you to start bringing in additional income.  If you are a professional dancer' teach a dance class.  If you have a special recipe for baked goods, become the local pastry caterer.  Both these ideas, and others, could lead to additional income.
  2. Take your professional experience outside your daily job.  Do you write HTML code at work?  If so, maybe consider developing websites for other small business owners.  Are you a construction worker by day?  Become the home repair person by night.  This may require longer hours, but in this economic slow down, the extra income may be worth it.
What are some of your stories in making some extra cash?  Share your success stories.
Who wouldn't like a little extra cash in their pocket.

Chicago's Break Through Entrepreneur's in 2010 - Makin' ExtraBux

Brihana Gatlin

Briahna Gatlin - Swank Publishing/ ChiTown's Journalist (www.swankpublishing.com). Briahna is one of Chicago's premier publicist to many of Chicago's premier entertainers such as DJ Sean Mac, GLC, and Tiffany of Bad Girls Club. Briahna is know for her professionalism, passion, and tenacity.  When Briahna sets her eyes on the prize, she always walks away a winner.

Deanna McCleary - True Star Magazine (www.truestaris.com).  Deanna is the brains behind the most anticipated magazine for teenagers, produced by teenagers.  Her movement includes a radio show on Power 92 (92.3 FM), live concerts, and many community events where the youth plan, produce and execute the production.

Johnnie Fresh

Johnnie Fresh - StayFreshOnline, Inc (www.stayfreshonline.com).   Johnny Fresh is the nation's new voice and face of fashion. At 21 years old, Johnny has commanded the respect of many of Chicago's urban fashion leaders with his unique sense of style and fashion.  In 2010, Johnny Fresh and the 'Stay Fresh Kids' plan to bring you a lifestyle fashion boutique and more of the freshest fashion shows and live events many of you have enjoyed over the past couple of years.

Pete Kadens

Pete Kadens - SoCore Energy (www.socoreenergy.com).  The leader in solar energy and a motivational speaker.  Pete is an expert in leadership and developing one's own worth.  Well respected by many, Pete continues to give of himself, tirelessly.


Yvette Moyo

Yvett Moyo - Real Men Charities (www.realmencook.com).  This internationally known organization has done so much good for urban communities and highlighting the good in Black Men, especially Black fathers.

Ghian Foreman

Ghian Foreman - Maktub Investments (www.maktubinv.com). Real estate developer extraordinaire and supporter of youth entrepreneurship, Ghian Foreman is part owner of one of Chicago's largest real estate devlopments, the Schulz Baking Building on the corner of 54th and State Street.  Ghian is committed to the positive devlopment of community, people, and education.

Quentin Love

Quentin Love - Quench/ I Love Food Group, Inc. (www.ilovefoodgroup.com).  Owner of one of the fastest growing no-so-fast food chains in the city, Quench, Mr. Love invests in healthy choices for underserved communities.  Quentin takes chances and sees opportunity where most others see despair.  Quench offers delicious meals without beef or pork. 

Zo- Fashion Geek (www.fashiongeekclothing.net).  One of Chicago's most premier fashion designers, Zo of Fashion Geek has managed to establish an urban brand that is more classic and less trendy, while maintaining its' own identity in a cluttered and saturated area of emerging designs and designers.  Fashion Geek is hip and sure to add that extra touch of swag to any wardrobe.


Zoe Damacela

Zoe Damacela - Designs by Zoe (www.zoedamacela.com). Not to be taken lightly at 17 years old, Zoe's designs will give any adult designer a run for their money.  Zoe Damacela produces fashions for women that should be in Nordstrom's and Macy's, but right now you have to contact Zoe directly for her custom designs.  Be prepared to be impressed by what you see, and ready to pay the price.


Josh Mercer - Swish Dreams (www.swishdreams.org). Josh is the founder of Swish Dreams, a basketball and academic enrichment program that focuses on the many different careers in basketball while developing the mathmatical skills of its' participants.  Josh is committed to the enhancement of the lives of Chicago's young people, understanding that the more you expose young people, the better informed choices they make.


Corey Gilkey - Leaders 1354(www.leaders1354.com). Corey has managed to stay the course.  His vision is clear and he knows exactly what he is doing when it comes to urban fashion in this city.  Owner of two locations (downtown and Wicker Park) Leaders1354 in clearly the king of urban fashion retail.  Leaders1354 introduced Chicago to many exclusive brands such as, Crooks and Castle, Undrcrown, PegLeg NYC, BBC, and of course, Fashion Geek.  Without any slowdown in sight, Leaders1354 will continue to widen the gap between trendy and generational.


Cecelia Robinson

Cecelia Robinson - Author/Writer (www.amazon.com/Memoirs-Bitch-Cecelia-Robinson/dp/0979265649/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1259583954&sr=8-1).  Cecelia Robinson is a product of Englewood, one of Chicago's most infamous neighborhoods for gangs, drugs, and crime.  Cecelia's father (a pimp) died when she was 13 and she nearly lost her mother to drugs a few years later.  Cecelia never graduated high school, but did complete her GED.  The now 26 year old mother of four has published her first book in a series, Memoirs of a Bitch, and is expected to graduate from Kennedy King College in May of 2010. Cecelia's life story serves as a platform to inspire young people all over America.  Be on the look out for Cecelia and her inspirational story.


Carl West

Carl West - Truth Media/MidWest Gap (midwestgap@yahoo.com) - A true game changer, Carl West is poised to reinvent how media is delivered, not only in Chicago, but around the world.  Carl West is a master networker and has dedicated his life to highlighting the best in people.  In 2010, Carl will unveil his new media channels while continuing to put the spotlight on others via the Truth Awards, Truth for Literacy, and his Imagemakers Series.


Milton Latrell - Agriculture Clothing (532 E. 43rd Street Chicago 773-538-5500). Milton Latell is one of Chicago's underground giants in the field of fashion, combining Italian and urban contemporary fashions.  Milton's list of clientel includes NBA greats Luol Deng (Chicago Bulls) and Chicago native Will Bynum (Detroit Pistons), just to name a few.  Milton's designs are sleek, comfortable, and timeless.  From the moment you enter the boutique, Milton has sized you up and designed you the perfect outfit for that special occasion, or for no special reason at all.  Be prepared to be informed and more stylish than ever before after leaving this Bronzeville gem.


Tarji Smedley - Egami Photography, Inc. (www.egamiphotos.com). Tarji is a true professional photographer who does not take her passion lightly.  She knows she has talent and loves what she does (one of my definitions of an entrepreneur).  Tarji takes her time and is particular of her craft.  Tarji knows how to capture the true beauty of her subjects.  Available for personal and commercial work, be sure to invest in memories with Egami and Tarji.


Share your thoughts on other entrepreneurs that deserve to be on this list.  Who are they?  Who should not be on this list?


Patience to the Profitable Entrepreneur

There is no such thing as a legal 'quick come up'.  In business, especially a small business start-up, sweat equity is an intragual part of business development.  Investing your time and energy to get the business off the ground.

Despite my insight, many entrepreneurs look for the 'quick come up', and quick and easy way to make money.

What legal 'quick come ups' do you know about? Share them here.

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