Since that first visit to the school in 2004, when I spent two days and nights on campus, had meals with the students, sat in on their classes, and toured the grounds, I have been advocating for Piney Woods. When former President, Dr. Charles Beady,
told me the story about a national fundraising effort in 1954, I decided to start another such fundraiser some fifty years later; our goal was to raise $1 million ($5.00 each from 200,000 donors) for Piney Woods via a group we established known as the Blackonomics Million Dollar Club (BMDC). We helped a lot but came nowhere close to our goal.
Back in 1954, Ralph Edwards, host of the television show, “This is Your Life,” featured Dr. Laurence Jones’ life. Edwards was so impressed with Jones and Piney Woods that he put out a call to his viewers to send in $1.00 each to the school in an effort to raise $1 million; according to Dr. Beady, Edwards’ campaign raised about three-quarters of a million. I figured if $750,000 could be raised in 1954 from an effort that went out over television, a medium only a few families were fortunate enough to have, surely we could eclipse that effort in 2004 with the Internet at our disposal. Optimist that I am, I am absolutely sure we can do that in 2016.
By way of example, Brother Umar Johnson has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for his proposed school. He has not yet determined where it will be located, but donors have responded with their dollars nonetheless. Piney Woods has been around for 106 years; it is viable, competitive, and dedicated to serving students and families, most of which are unable to pay the entire tuition necessary for room and board. Why wouldn’t we do the same—and more—for Piney Woods? Piney Woods President, Will Crossley says, “Our students – both male and female – hail from more than 24 states and foreign jurisdictions; from inner-city urban locations, as well as rural spaces; from points north, south, east, and west. As diverse as they are, our students share this status: they all receive scholarship support to help fund their education here. They also share an amazing result: admission to post-secondary educational institutions. I know these principles well and in a personal way. While I am the fifth president of this historic, 107-year-old institution, I am the first alumnus to head our school.”
The school’s national press release states, “Piney Woods creates a living and learning environment where students are expected to excel academically, and become civically engaged and socially responsible. Over 75% of the pupils hail from lower income areas where the failing public school systems and negative peer pressure often inhibit them from accomplishing their life goals. However, after undertaking Piney Woods Schools’ rigorous educational, spiritual and vocational curriculums 99% of the graduating seniors are admitted to colleges and universities.”
The “Give from the Heart National Challenge 2016” fundraiser campaign for Piney Woods began in February 2016. On Saturday, April 30, 2016, an all-star benefit concert will take place at the Word and Worship Church in Jackson, MS. Please plan to attend; but if you cannot, please send a donation to this deserving and worthwhile institution. This is an opportunity for everyone to help Piney Woods maintain the same high-quality education it has provided for years, an education that results in 95% of its graduates going on to college. I believe in the “little from a lot” way of getting things done. In this case once again, if 200,000 persons sent $20.00 every six months to Piney Woods, the school could be well on its way to building an endowment, continue to have the financial ability to give even more student scholarships, pay its teachers and administration attractive salaries, and maintain the school’s infrastructure. Who knows? Maybe your child or grandchild will have the privilege to attend Piney Woods one day.
Why not plan to visit the campus soon, and please send your tax-deductible donation to Piney Woods School, U.S. Highway 49 South, Piney Woods, Mississippi, 39148. For more information see www.pineywoods.com or call 601 845 2214.
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By Elliot Booker — 2 years ago
Today’s REVIVE show topic is entitled:
“BOSS OR BE BOSSED”
I need you all to be apart of the conversation!
It would be amazing to hear your perspective. So please call in we want to hear what you guys out there have to say always. Once again this show is for the people. We here at REVIVE thrive off of communication. So call us at (215)490-9832. This episode of REVIVE will be an open forum so all perspectives can be heard through great conversation.
This episode on REVIVE is entitled “BOSS OR BE BOSSED!” You don’t want to miss this conversation on all things surrounding entrepreneurship including finding your why, developing a business plan, building an audience, and more!
Jamila Payne: Jamila Payne has built a community for goal-getting professionals building businesses and careers while creating work-life abundance. The movement is based on her productivity philosophy — Daily Success Method. She’s provided training over 15,000 entrepreneurs and leaders across the U.S. and Africa. On her popular planner, Daily Success Routine, helps people build better habits and break down goals into manageable to-do list. She is the author of several books, including From Payne to Power and Daily Success for Teams – 7 Principles to Create an Entrepreneurial Work Place, releasing this fall. Jamila is an award-winning business owner, selected as a “40 Under 40 Entrepreneur to Watch” by the Philadelphia Business Journal. She’s a Small Business Contributor for the Huffington Post, Black Enterprise Magazine, and Salesforce.com. Jamila’s work has been featured in InStyle, Entrepreneur Magazine, New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.
Bernadette L. Harris: Bernadette L. Harris is a Tax and Forensic Accountant, #1 Best Selling Author, Keynote Speaker, and QuickBooks trainer who helps her clients set their business up right, look forward to tax season, and protect their business from fraud. Her sense of humor and ability to make complex subjects like taxes and accounting simple and fun, have made her an in demand speaker.
Cari Young: Cari Young has had a passion for healing as far back as she can recall. With a formal education in both Psychology and Biology from West Chester University, Cari worked as a Psychiatric Rehabilitation Counselor for almost a decade. Feeling unfulfilled and overworked Cari pursued the spa industry. She received her massage certification from the Institute for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (ITMB). Her skills extend far beyond clinical, her treatments are described by clients as a fusion of science, art, nature, and most importantly, love. Since founding Remedy Spa & Wellness in 2014, she’s been committed to helping the community heal from the inside out. She anticipates launching a wellness + lifestyle blog titled, “Ask Cari.”
Micheal Baptiste: Michael Baptiste is the founder and CEO of High Ticket Freedom. He helps entrepreneurs, coaches, and consultants all over the world build 5 and 6 figure monthly businesses from scratch. Michael consults with high level businesses to help produce ROI for their digital marketing campaigns. His clients have earned enough money and time freedom to do some great things like travel the world, move into bigger homes, and more! Michael is also a co-founder of the world’s first ever Non-Dairy Banana Wave Bananamilk beverage. His partners and team have launched their company from a simple idea start up company, to an award winning business that has gone on to raising over $750K in investment capital, and now selling their product to Whole Foods grocery store. He also speaks Spanish and Mandarin. Michael is a “World Changer.”
YOU CAN CATCH REVIVE EVERY SUNDAY 11 AM-1 PM & EVERY WEDNESDAY 8 PM-10 PM!!!
It would be amazing to hear your perspective. So please call in we want to hear what you guys the listening audience out there have to say always. Once again this show is for the people. We here at REVIVE thrive off of communication. So call us at (215)490-9832 & follow on Twitter and Facebook @REVIVE_POC !
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By Elliot Booker — 2 years ago
Hakim Hopkins wants to be clear: His place will always be a bookstore.
Black and Nobel, Hopkins’ shop at Broad and Erie, is weathering industry shifts. Brick-and-mortar black bookstores have become rarities, hit hard by online shopping and e-books. The African American Literature Book Club maintains a directory of black-owned bookstores, by state. Out of the three establishments listed for Pennsylvania, only two remain open: Hakim’s Bookstore and Gift Shop in West Philly, the oldest African American bookstore in the country, and Black and Nobel.
Hakim’s (Hopkins was named after its founder) is open part-time, four days a week. Black and Nobel — the second part of the name, commonly pronounced “Noble,” is really meant to sound like the estimable prize — is open seven days a week. However, books aren’t the only thing sold there.
Inside the store, shoppers can pick up DVDs, wooden sculptures, flags from countries throughout the Black Diaspora, clothing, smoothies and shea butter. The latter two are huge sellers; Black and Nobel manufactures its own sea moss drinks and products with plants imported from Caribbean islands like St. Lucia and Belize.
“Health and wellness keeps us open,” said Hopkins, “but the books are a foundation — everybody knows us as ‘the bookstore.’”
Both are products not readily available anywhere else nearby. “You don’t see that in the hood,” he explained. He offered, for comparison’s sake, the idea of a sushi spot opening on the corridor. “If someone came to Erie Avenue and opened a sushi restaurant, the line would go all the way to the bus stop.
“Because we’re a bookstore, it’s a big deal for people,” he said. “I’ll always sell books, whether it’s slow or fast.”
In an article for Black Perspectives, the blog for the African American Intellectual History Society, University of Baltimore history professor Joshua Clark Davis evaluated the black bookstore as not simply a book retailer, but as a locus for Black Power.
“African American booksellers were much more than small business owners,” Clark wrote. “In the late 1960s and 1970s, a successful black bookstore could bring together the campaigns for black politics, black arts, black studies, black community control, and black economic empowerment into the space of a single business. In so doing, these activist entrepreneurs realized Black Power’s goals for self-determination, and they helped to redefine what black businesses could and should be.”
Hopkins would concur with this argument, but he also thinks the digital age and political climate are changing the customer base. He pointed out that he doesn’t always know what color his online shoppers are. He set up a table at the Women’s March in DC, where he sold health products and tees.
“I sold out of everything, and it wasn’t too many of us there, as far as black people,” he said. “People were buying black culture that weren’t black… I think we’re living in a different time. People are coming together more now than ever.”
Before you enter the bookstore, vendors greet you outside.
Hopkins says online business is key. The store also maintains an active YouTube presence, where it has nearly 40,000 subscribers.
Hopkins stocks books from mostly independent authors and publishers. He felt inspired to go into the business after voracious reading pulled him through a dark period in his life. He doesn’t like to get into what had happened back then: “I try not to go too deep into negativity.” After participating in a six-week career development program at Temple in 2004, he started vending books downtown and built up the business until he eventually opened a storefront in 2007.
Before books, Hopkins wasn’t a stranger to vending. He had sold oils, tees and the like. “We come from that hustle mentality,” he explained. “Me and my team, we’ll be setting up at 9:30 to sell hot soup and products at the Gucci Mane show.”
Hopkins said he wasn’t unnerved by industry trends. “I’m not bitter at all. I helped develop a lot of talent and artists,” he said. “I can’t be scared, I have to be sturdy.”
He said the store’s evolution has been a natural one: “You don’t need to have a book everyday, but you do need to wash your body everyday, hopefully two or three times a day.”
Inside, it’s not unusual to hear Hopkins having long discussions with customers. The bookstore as a place to hang out and politic — Hopkins loves that. “It’s kind of dying breed, but we’re holding on to it,” he said. “So people can feel human and not nano, not technology. That’s where the world is going. That’s where the world is. We do a mix of both.”
The web domain WeShipToPrisons.com redirects to Black and Nobel’s website. The store, thanks in part to its eye-grabbing signage, has become known for this service. In October 2015, Hopkins told Philly Voice that he was shipping 50 packages to prisons daily. He couldn’t put his finger on a figure when we checked with him. “Every week it varies,” he said.
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By Elliot Booker — 1 year agoEthiopia is one of the Africa countries expecting strong growth. Photo: Petterik Wiggers/Wall Street Journal.The news last month from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) regarding sub-Saharan African growth has investors breathing a sigh of relief.
The IMF expects sub-Saharan Africa to grow by 3.4 percent in 2018, up from the 2.6 percent in 2017. Although such figures create optimism, they do not match the higher growth numbers in previous years.
Between 2004 and 2011, for example, sub-Saharan Africa grew 6.2 percent, with a peak growth of 7.6 percent in 2007 and a low of 4.1 percent in 2009 due to the 2008 global financial crisis.
The average growth between 2012 and 2015 was 4.5 percent, and growth has trended downward since then.
The rebound in 2018, according to the IMF, is not an indication of strong momentum in growth going into 2019.
One-third of the countries will grow 5 percent or more in 2018—largely in the eastern and western regions of Africa—however, combined with a decline of per capita incomes in 12 countries which house 40 percent of the region’s population (~400 million people), according to the IMF’s report.
This piece looks at the countries offering the best opportunities in 2018, with a strong consideration for the challenges in 2019. That qualification for 2019 underlines the economic and political uncertainty that will be created by a few elections in the coming 18-24 months.
Expected growth of 1.9 percent and 1.1 percent in Nigeria and South Africa respectively will bump up against elections in both countries in 2019, which has some investors skittish about the coming year.
The election of Nana Akufo-Addo in 2016 excited many investors. Getting an administration in place and making some economic changes, however, took some time, thus 2017 receives mixed reviews. But all indicators point to a strong 2018 with growth expected at 8.9 percent.
Oil production is expected to pick up in the country to match the current $60-plus thinking on Brent prices in 2018.
Kosmos plans to resume drilling on Ghana’s TEN project in early 2018. Energy growth, including gas-to-power, will be the focus in 2018 which will further help Ghana strengthen local aspirations with consumer products and light industrialization.
Any forward movement on the “Made in Ghana” policy launched in 2016 would be helpful for a country that would love to manage its imports and build up local content.
Agri-business is also an exciting focus for this country, with many investors viewing Ghana as a key player in agriculture for the continent going forward. Education also always remains an interest in what is considered West Africa’s education hub.
Ethiopia is expected to grow 8.5 percent in 2018. To many investors, such high growth in Ethiopia is not anything necessarily new in recent times and has not always bred investment opportunity.
The positive from Ethiopia in 2018 may simply boil down to a three things: (1) the amount of consumers continues to grow (thus why Ethiopia has the largest mobile operator); (2) consumers are spending more; and (3) investments have been tried and proven (compared to pre-2012).
Investors will find a ready partner for manufacturing and light industry as the model has been tested and proven beneficial for both investors and the country.
Agri-business will also be a focus for investors as local content for packaged goods and food is big for the government’s tight management of imports in relation to the Ethiopian currency.
Non-food related goods, including pharmaceutical products and household products (i.e., toothpaste, detergent), still require more investment for similar currency reasons and to address local consumer demand.
The Francophone Africa show will continue into 2018 led by Cote d’Ivoire. The country is expected to maintain its 7 percent-plus growth in 2018 and 2019.
Power generation is improving, with increasing interest from private investors and development institutions, and accompanies West Africa’s second largest port, a modern airport, and a relatively strong road network.
The growth, however, may be outpacing other vital sectors, including the real estate and financial sectors. Housing and office space is in demand for a growing middle class and to support growing international businesses in the country.
The financial sector still requires some restructuring and offers opportunity for private investors with an appetite for smaller sized investments that are capable of producing strong returns.
Senegal is the other pivotal country in the Francophone story. The opportunity in the country is widespread and underpinned by 7 percent grow in 2018. Energy and transport infrastructure are still a vital focus for the country.
The story here is not new as Senegal knows its economic hub reputation for West Africa depends on its ability to support business in the region with basic infrastructural requirements.
Other exciting opportunities largely flow from small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which are more the story in Senegal versus some other West African giants.
The government is doing a lot to support entrepreneurship in industrialization, manufacturing and agriculture in the country to boost SMEs. The ongoing complaint, ironically (for this article), remains the same with a lack of operational and financial partners.
Those concerned about a Senegalese election in 2019 can probably find solace in the strong performance of President Macky Sall’s ruling coalition in the 2017 legislative election.
The next three – Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mozambique
Picking one of the above three to finish out a top five is hard. Burkina Faso is on the right track with 6.5 percent growth expected in 2018 to follow up what appears to be 6.4 percent growth in 2017.
Extractive industries and public investment, especially in infrastructure, have largely driven these growth numbers. But the government recognizes the challenges with a large concentration of its growth dependent on its own spending.
Thus current spending allocated for 2017 and 2018 significantly focus on entrepreneurship and boosting the business landscape for SMEs, particularly as it confronts extremism in the country.
Pulling in foreign investors has not been easy and makes the growth story a more cautious one.
Kenya remains the ‘beast of the east’ but is still settling its presidential election. Many investors expect a big 2018 for the country when the dust settles (hoping the dust settles before 2018). The business environment is familiar to investors and it is the economic and financial hub for East Africa.
The country’s airline has refinanced; the financial sector has finally digested an interest rate cap; and foreign investors had to sit still during a 2017 slow down – they will want to release the pent-up capital and energy.
The excitement is nevertheless cautious, as any political situation (as seen in 2017) can cause a complete slowdown.
Mozambique is quietly getting back on track after a debt fiasco…yes the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is still investigating the fallout. That said, President Filipe Nyusi is doing his part to clean up the country’s image.
The gas story is getting back on track for LNG. Investors are returning to the country with Kibo Capital making the latest investment in the country’s consumer goods space. Other investors are lurking around agri-business, logistics and warehousing which is great news after the last 18-24 months.
A strong turnaround would touch the Lusophone hearts in Africa (including yours truly).
Zimbabwe makes the list because there are many investors who have been excited by this country for years. The economic collapse in 2008 and subsequent economic hiccups have kept many investors away.
Playing politics is not fun for investors but you can bet that there will be investors closely watching how the political situation plays out in Zimbabwe.
Any economic opening with clear investment rules and laws, followed by an improved legal system and enforcement would excite anyone looking at the country. That said, there is a significant amount of work necessary to create a favorable environment to attract capital.
Kurt Davis Jr. is an investment banker with private equity experience in emerging economies focusing on the natural resources and energy sectors. He earned a law degree in tax and commercial law at the University of Virginia’s School of Law and a master’s of business administration in finance, entrepreneurship and operations from the University of Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Post Views: 41