Kevin O'Leary and Ureeka Launch Coaching Program for Underrepresented Entrepreneurs - Valdosta Daily Times

Kevin O'Leary and Ureeka Launch Coaching Program for Underrepresented Entrepreneurs - Valdosta Daily Times

Kevin O'Leary and Ureeka Launch Coaching Program for Underrepresented Entrepreneurs - Valdosta Daily Times

Posted: 13 Oct 2020 07:01 AM PDT


Ureeka Inc, a community that connects Next Wave Entrepreneurs to the human, financial and technological capital they need to grow and scale their businesses, announced the launch of a new program with long-time Ureeka supporter and Shark Tank investor Kevin O'Leary.

Minority-owned small businesses are employing more than 8.7 million workers and generating more than $1 trillion in economic output annually. At the same time, data also shows these businesses have less access to capital and business and management skills important to running a company. The Kevin O'Leary Bootcamp provides underrepresented business owners access to the same exclusive knowledge and advice they would get if Kevin O'Leary invested directly in their business. Participating companies are paired with a Mr. Wonderful certified Coach along with three to five like-minded entrepreneurs, to work through their business challenges, build a network of advisors and accelerate revenue – the same way Kevin's Shark Tank portfolio companies do.

"Underrepresented entrepreneurs, women, people of color are time and time again barred from the type of access so many take for granted, whether it be financial, educational or otherwise," said Kevin O'Leary. "We have to do better. Ureeka is doing incredible work to make tools and connections that are usually reserved for the big fish, actually accessible and all in one place. I'm thrilled to be working with them and to be able to provide small businesses access to my all-star team and resources."

Sara Margulis, the founder of the honeymoon registry service Honeyfund, is a Kevin O'Leary portfolio entrepreneur and Ureeka community member who sees immense value in the partnership: "Kevin O'Leary and Ureeka have both been key to the growth and success of my company. I'm thrilled about this one-of-a-kind bootcamp that brings together the best advisors and resources in business. I've worked with Kevin and his network of advisors for more than five years and it's been a game changer. That, combined with the coaches, mentors and resources provided through Ureeka's community, has added millions of dollars to Honeyfund's business."

Ureeka's powerful community of coaches, peers and resources provide on demand support for members during the bootcamp and beyond. In August, Ureeka announced that 8,000 new underrepresented entrepreneurs had joined its platform during the COVID-19 pandemic alone, seeking help in business recovery.

"To have Kevin and his team so aligned with our mission and supporting the work we're doing is a huge step to break access barriers and bring what big businesses get every day to the small business community," said Dave Jakubowski, Co-founder of Ureeka. "The gaps are easy to see, getting access to the Kevin O'Leary Bootcamp is a huge step to bridging those gaps and having real impact. This partnership is an approachable step for most businesses; and a huge leap toward equity. Giving all businesses the same advantages that the privileged few have enjoyed for too long bridges an important access inequity to help those entrepreneurs with great ideas and great companies that have been historically left out."

The first bootcamp launches on November 2 nd with new sessions starting each month. For more information on Ureeka's Kevin O'Leary bootcamp and how to join visit

About Ureeka

Ureeka is a community and platform that connects female and minority small business owners – the Next Wave Entrepreneurs – to peers, mentors and coaches; trusted business and technology advice; vetted resources and capital that business owners need to grow and scale. Ureeka is a for-profit business, founded by a diverse team whose expertise ranges from technology and investing to the public sector. The company's mission centers on creating economic opportunity by igniting the potential of small businesses through a platform of resources and a community of peers and experts.

Learn more at Follow Ureeka on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.

About Kevin O'Leary

Kevin O'Leary has proven business experience and greatly understands entrepreneurial strategy, marketing and finance having founded and sold companies of his own including The Learning Company which was acquired by The Mattel Toy Company for $4.2 billion. Today, O'Leary is the Chairman of O'Shares ETF Investments and Beanstox an automated internet-based investment advisory service. He is also an investor/host of ABC Television's four-time Emmy Award winning venture capital reality programs "Shark Tank", a contributor to CNBC, ABC News and Good Morning America, and author of three number #1 best selling books "Cold Hard Truth", "Men, Women and Money" and "Family Kids and Money".

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CONTACT: Kelsey Quickstad



SOURCE: Ureeka Inc

Copyright Business Wire 2020.

PUB: 10/13/2020 10:00 AM/DISC: 10/13/2020 10:01 AM

Lae SME incubation hub helping growth of small businesses - POST-COURIER

Posted: 13 Oct 2020 09:32 AM PDT


Lae small medium entrepreneurs (SME) incubator hub a project initiated by a local consulting firm is progressing well assisting in the growth of SMEs in the city.

The hub, endorsed by Lae City Authority (LCA) and Lae MP John Rosso and operated by the dedicated team from Tok Stret Consulting Limited (TSCL), continues to provide technical expertise to SMEs in the city.

Owner and manager of TSCL Julliane Terry said the SME incubator hub project launched in July this year creates a hub where local micro SME and SMEs can share ideas and grow.

Its purpose is to get people to meet and talk about their business ideas and teach them management skills, how to develop an idea in a business, and to get established organizations to talk about the services provided and how these services can be of importance to the MSMEs and SMEs.

"The mantra of people +process =profit resonates across all businesses from small to large and many businesses focus too much on process and profit forgetting that it is the people that make it happen," Ms Terry said.

"The idea of the hub came about when we were doing our training and development with different people and we realize that there is no platform for innovative ideas to be staged on, people were isolated with no avenues to share ideas to assist each other to grow,"

Ms Terry said despite the challenges faced with this new and innovative way of doing business, the programs carried out continue to help existing and prospective business owner.

"It is very early days and we understand the challenges face but as we say from little things, big things grow and our biggest success will be seeing our people grow," she said.

"Over 75 per cent of our participants are not surprisingly women but our men are equally proactive and already there are some great success stories developing though it is in the early days."

LCA has donated K50, 000 towards the hub to utilize for growth programs and is passionate about using the hub as a center of growth and opportunity for the people of Lae.

Businesses Open Doors in Tough Times - Alachua County Today

Posted: 13 Oct 2020 06:02 AM PDT

HIGH SPRINGS ‒ The COVID-19 pandemic has been disastrous for the economy with multiple business restrictions and shutdowns including a six-week quarantine. It has especially been tough on small locally-owned businesses with little reserve funding. In pre-pandemic times these businesses operated on a thin profit margin and would anticipate when their slow seasonal times were and plan to make up for it with higher volume seasonal sales. Many small businesses have closed their doors permanently, while others continue to struggle to survive.

Despite hard times and an uncertain future, some entrepreneurs have opened new businesses or revived existing businesses. Julie's Pins & Needles and Ms. Jeanne's Hair & Co. are two entirely different business with the same goal—persevering to successfully come through the pandemic.

Julie's Pins & Needles opened for business in May 2014 on Main Street in Alachua. Owner Julie Tucker had wanted to open a quilting store in High Springs, but at the time there were no good locations. Tucker spent her career as an animal nurse caring for everything from dogs and horses to dolphins, and she had also been a quilter for years and sewing for as long as she can remember.

Quilters are a tightknit hobby society, corresponding with others throughout the country and internationally. When Tucker retired, she opened her quilting parlor to create a space for quilters to find supplies and also exchange ideas with quilters locally and visitors from throughout the world. In addition, she also taught classes for beginners and intermediate level sewers and made or repaired quilts for clients.

In December 2019 Tucker found a place closer to home and moved the shop to High Springs, opening in February after it was renovated. She didn't plan on opening a new business during a pandemic. "We were open for two weeks, with people just recognizing our business location and our regulars finding us when the state-wide shutdown occurred. In store business and visiting quilters from other areas disappeared in an instant," Tucker said.

"We had to reinvent our way of working and survived the shutdown by making masks for individuals and hospitals and online 'no contact' sales, placing the orders outside for customers to pick up," said Tucker. "We got by, but are just beginning to see business return. It's almost like opening a new business all over again. But overall, the quilting business took a hard hit and a lot of stores have closed down including Suwannee River Quilt in Trenton," she said.

Quilters prefer a lot of fabric choices and often visit shops when traveling, which accounted for much of Tucker's business. Because quilters like to have a variety of fabrics to work from, they maintain a surplus selection referred to as a "stash."

All of these factors affected her business. "Due to the pandemic, we aren't seeing any travelers, and many of our regulars are elderly and more cautious about going out in the current conditions," said Tucker. "Many quilters are just going through their "stash" and not buying fabric or supplies." Tucker explained that the store closing in Trenton compounded the problem since they had to liquidate a huge fabric stockpile when they closed at discount prices.

"However, we are beginning to see more business as locals use up their stashes and we are expanding our services," said Tucker. "We haven't started classes yet but will as soon as allowed by the state."

In addition to fabric and supplies sales, Julie's Pins and Needles offers other services. The shop is equipped with a long arm sewing machine, which is used to sew together a quilt top, quilt batting and quilt backing into a finished quilt. The longarm sewing machine frame typically ranges from 10 feet to 14 feet in length. With this machine Tucker and her staff can make quilts for clients or repair existing ones in a much shorter and less costly time.

Tucker specializes in repairing heirloom quilts and hers is the only store in a multi-state area that does work on these family heirlooms, which are typically more than 75 years old.

Tucker also works on Memory quilts. These are quilts made from cloth or items that have a special memory for the customer, often comprised of clothing from a deceased loved one. "It's interesting to do the Memory quilts. You often get to know the personality of the person they are in memory of, based on the items," said Tucker. "

Julies Pins and Needles is now fully open for in-store business as well as website sales and is located at 18646 Main Street, Suite 10, High Springs. They can also be contacted by phone at 904-214-6633 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ms. Jeanne's Hair & located next door to Julie's Pins and Needles and is a new business that opened as the restrictions eased. Located in a small standalone building facing U.S. Highway 27, Ms. Jeanne's Hair & Co. specializes in men and boys' haircuts.

Jeanne Hodges is a licensed cosmologist and a barber of 24 years, always working for someone else. She was a barbershop manager in Brooksville when she met her husband, a sergeant in the National Guard who worked with a black hawk helicopter unit in Brooksville.

Todd Hodges was originally from High Springs and convinced Jeanne to move with him back to his hometown when he was transferred to Cecil Field in Jacksonville.

While Jeanne Hodges had always wanted to open her own shop, the opportunity never seemed right. "After we moved up here, we were having ice cream at the shop across the street during the shutdown and noticed this vacant renovated building across the street," she said.

That building had been known for years as the Adventure Outpost, but it had closed the year before and the landlords totally renovate it.

"I had always dreamed of opening my own shop, but didn't plan on making such a decision during the pandemic, but we decided to take a chance," said Jeanne Hodges. "When God provides an opportunity, you don't want to waste it, so we went for it."

As it turns out, the pandemic gave them the time to turn the building into a two-chair barbershop that was ready to open as soon as the state allowed. "The regulations for opening didn't really affect our industry as far as health and sanitation, since the industry is already heavily regulated on sanitation and disinfecting between customers," said Jeanne Hodges. "The main restrictions for us dealt with masks and social distancing."

Other restrictions included having only one customer in the building at a time and to have 15 minutes between each customer, meaning they would work by appointment only, with no walk-ins. "This is still in place but may change as restrictions are lifted," Hodges said.

She also said that business has picked up and she is getting repeat customers. "I feel it's going well and it was a good decision. I finally have my own business."

The Hodges intend to make High Springs their permanent home, and when Todd Hodges retires from a 20-year Army career, he has another career planned—he wants to become a barber.

Ms. Jeanne's Hair & Co. is open 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday and open until 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays. On Saturday she is open 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The shop is located in downtown High Springs next to the Women's Club at 23652 U.S. Highway 27. Appointments can be made by calling 386-454-0220.

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Fintech Equality Coalition Engages Black Fintech CEOs - Forbes

Posted: 13 Oct 2020 04:00 AM PDT

Frequently, questions about diversity in fintech center on gender diversity, and that gender diversity means "white women." When an organization is predominantly white, it tends to focus on attracting customers who look like its employees and leadership—white ones, though that's often not deliberate.

This often leaves nonwhites, both employees and customers, feeling alienated and underserved. In financial services, where Blacks get excluded from access to products, services and fair lending practices, it also perpetuates systemic inequities. This problem is prevalent in fintechs, too, and gets driven by a lack of Black leadership in the firms.

In his Medium Post, "Fintech's Race Problem," Georgetown Law professor Chris Brummer cites a Harvard Business Review article that says fewer than 2% of tech executives and only 5.3% of tech professionals are Black.

He further asserts, "With fintech accounting for perhaps 10 to 15 percent of tech employment overall, the gross numbers of full time, African American fintech executives and professionals could be in the hundreds, not thousands."

Betterment Steps Up

To address inequities across fintech, Betterment, a money management fintech led by founder and CEO Jon Stein, spearheaded the launch of the Fintech Equality Coalition in August 2020. Like many, Stein got motivated by the ongoing murders of Black men by police and vigilantes to make the move.

He recognizes people might question his timing and commitment, but Stein, who spoke candidly about why he felt compelled to take a stand in June, says, "It's not that the problem wasn't there before, but racism as a pervasive and systemic problem has been highlighted by the current political environment."

"Sometimes movements are catalyzed by events," Stein continues. "We thought it was time to take action as a company and a community, so we started talking internally about what we could do to influence our industry, financial services, our sector, technology and the nation at large."

While Betterment is a small company within the financial services industry, it's one of the largest in the fintech space. He and his team decided the fintech still could make a significant impact on the industry and society by "changing the way we think about equality in our industry and society," he says.

Coalition members, Stein continues, are "committing to equality in the workplace, and to sharing data and annual reporting on hiring," particularly equity data.

"This fintech coalition was one of several ideas borne out of our conversations," he adds. "Over $100 billion dollars of value of companies have signed up, and more continue to join," he adds. There currently are more than 50 companies in the Fintech Equality Coalition, and all are publishing their individual equity commitments to equity by year-end.

Starting Change From the Inside Out

Betterment is examining its equity practices internally and publishing data about its employee demographics, which show that 71% of its full-time employees and 80% of its leadership team are white.

Just 5% of its full-time employees, and 2% of its leadership team, are Black. But Stein has pledged to increase diversity in Betterment's ranks. They're also engaging in "all hands" antiracism training, some led by newly appointed Black advisory board member, Netta Jenkins.

Moreover, the fintech is opening up front doors for clients that reduce barriers to underserved banking populations. They make it easy for customers to open checking and investment accounts with no minimum balance and no minimum fees. They're also considering the needs of customers who may have different priorities for opening investment accounts.

"Some of our team members said retirement in their families means they're taking care of their parents," Stein explains. "So, as we frame our advice, we might introduce caring for parents as an option." He also believes their increasing internal diversity is helping them define the needs of nonwhite customers.

Stein says the fintech is working with Black financial advisors and planners to serve Black community members. Betterment also is scrutinizing how it builds its advice platform to ensure the language it uses and the questions it asks aren't introducing biases.

Encouraging Racial Diversity Among Coalition Members

So far, four Black-owned fintech are among the 16 fintechs with nonwhite founders or CEOs who've joined the coalition, and five are women. The Black-owned fintechs include Cadre, Guidefi, Halo and Renaissance Payments.

Charlene Fadirepo is CEO of Guidefi, a Black-owned financial technology company that connects women and people of color with financial advisors and financial education. Of her decision to join the Fintech Equality Coalition, she says, "We are at a critical juncture in the history of America, where there is a real opportunity to create sustainable economic justice for all, starting with the Black community."

Fadirepo continues, "Systemic racism threatens our democracy and our economy and the Fintech Equality Coalition represents the start of a much-needed effort to create a more inclusive economy for all Americans."

She hopes her contribution to the Coalition will "accelerate sustainable and transformational change in the fintech industry," she says. "As a Black woman, I have seen the need for this work on Wall Street, Main Street, and in the federal government."

"I also have experienced the trauma of systemic racism during my 20-year career in financial services," Fadirepo continues, "and I believe that courageous, informed leadership in this moment is critical to create a new dynamic financial ecosystem, where everyone participates, and everyone belongs."

Renaissance Payments, which takes a microservices-first approach to HR/benefits to help small businesses compete at the highest levels, is another Black-owned fintech member of the Coalition.

Its Founder and CEO Joseph Akintolayo explains his reasons for joining: "Being one of a handful of Black founders in fintech means I have a responsibility to my community to create equity through leadership and a duty to my peers to educate them on blind spots that may be contributing to inequality."

Akintolayo says the firm recently launched, where small businesses can apply for SBA COVID-19 crisis loans. He says of the initiative, it helped "preserve the American dream for more than a hundred Black and minority businesses."

Coalition member Halo attempts to eliminate the need for payday loans with peer-to-peer lending, and Cadre offers users a professionally curated portfolio of real estate investments.

Black-Owned Fintechs You Can Support

While enterprise support of Black-owned fintechs is vital, many may not be as well-funded and need your support to thrive. Here are 10 you can help flourish while building your wealth:

  • BREAUX Capital. As Guidefi focuses on wealth development for Black women, this fintech focuses on helping Black men build wealth by letting them pool their money and forms of capital to support each other financially.
  • CapWay. Started as a solution to the lack of access in many Black communities to banking services, the CapWay account's FDIC-insured debit card offers no hidden, overdraft or minimum monthly balance fees. It's also committed to financial literacy.
  • Goalsetter. This app, which links to your existing bank account, is money management for the entire family, and it offers a debit card that helps you develop financial literacy as you spend.
  • GRIND Banking. Established in South Los Angeles, this fintech offers a fee-based FDIC-insured debit account plus a mobile banking app, and early pay if you set up direct deposit.
  • Invest Sou Sou. Establish goals with your friends, then borrow money from and lend money to people you trust with this lending circle app, which is especially handy if you don't have the credit to get a traditional bank loan.
  • Jamborow. Africa's first AI and Blockchain platform helps the continent's unbanked and underbanked, particularly street vendors, small entrepreneurs and rural populations. It offers access to secure financial services, including peer-to-peer and traditional lending.
  • Jammber. If you're a music industry creative, this app helps you get paid faster, track your creative collaborations and get your royalties or split payments all in one place. It's also available in multiple languages.
  • MoCaFi. Focused on helping low- and moderate-income people access low-cost banking services, the app offers a bank-backed, FDIC-insured debit card and helps you "transform your relationship with money, credit and wealth."
  • Qoins. If you want to pay off debt faster without overthinking the process, this app can help by automating monthly debt payments, while helping you save money each month.
  • Spendebt. Use micropayments generated through your daily spending to pay off your debt more quickly with this app that charges a maximum fee of $2.99 for unlimited monthly transactions.

As with any other fintech that offers investment opportunities, the investment accounts provided by these fintechs are not FDIC insured. (As stated above, the banking, or cash management, accounts are.) So, carefully research the accounts being offered to determine if they'll meet your needs.

These platforms are more committed to personal financial well-being than many traditional banks and investment firms. That's because they're focused on serving underserved populations with easily accessible financial services. They also want to help close the global Black-white wealth gap.

If you're looking for a more traditional banking relationship with a Black-owned bank or credit union, visit nonprofit BankBlackUSA to find one.

Jerry Summers: Glenwood Manor - Educational Academy? - The Chattanoogan

Posted: 13 Oct 2020 06:20 AM PDT

Down Dodds Avenue at the western base of Missionary Ridge at the corner of McCallie Avenue a block from a prominent male prep school and the former site of the campus of the relocated Central High School is the location of a former institution of non-accredited learning about the facts of life that some young men from both schools acquired that was not part of the regular curriculum of young male high school students.

All that exists now to identify its location is a non-functioning rusting neon sign.

In the 1940s-1960s the sign glowed brightly as a welcome beacon to the young men and adults that were willing to part with a few dollars to learn further knowledge of the "oldest profession" known to man.

Glenwood Manor's social history is documented in the legal annals of Tennessee jurisprudence in a published case located at 352 S.W.2d 227 (1961).

The middle-aged madam was charged and indicted on a charge of operating a bawdy house and unlawfully engaging in assignation.

She was tried before a Hamilton County trial jury and was fined the astronomical amount of $50 on the first charge and $25 on the second.

The record shows that on or about February 11, 1961, the ever vigilant Chattanooga Police Department began an investigation of the Glenwood Manor by placing it under surveillance by a uniformed police officer who observed the motel on several occasions during which time he saw men, alone, in pairs or in small groups and men and women in couples enter the motel at all times of the night staying from 30 minutes to two hours and leaving.

The female defendant lived in the motel and used it as her home and as a motel and also provided other illegal and educational services.

Testimony from a neighbor was that most of the visitors to the motel arrived and departed in cars or taxi cabs bearing Hamilton County, Tennessee license plates.

The investigation intensified when the same neighbor stated that his family had been disturbed frequently with profane talk and excessive activity around the motel and that it had a reputation in the community of being a "bawdy house".

In order to crack down and eliminate a major criminal enterprise, the Chattanooga Police Department sent in a handsome young officer to do some "undercover" work and to rent a room for five days.

The officer observed unusual activities for a legitimate motor lodge and engaged the proprietor in conversation about the extent of services to the public.

She told the young man that she "dated" and also told him that she could supply any number of dates by her and her friends for a price of approximately $15 each (negotiable rate).

During his week-long sabbatical from more strenuous police work he saw women come to the motel and leave the motel escorted and unescorted by men.

After additional undercover police work by two more officers posing as potential clients and establishing a price of $60 for the joint companionship of the madam and another lady a search warrant was executed and the motel was raided.

The madam was found to be completely undressed and her companion was practically unclad.

A defense of entrapment was unsuccessful and the proprietor and assistant were convicted.

Unfortunately this did not end the efforts of the madam to continue her career of educating the male public of the values of her craft as she was convicted once again for an act of prostitution in 1968 during the twilight years of her career.

A law and order-minded trial jury this time fined the business woman the sum of $50.

Although Chattanooga does not have the best record of preserving historical relics it is hopeful that some public-minded citizen should purchase or at least refurbish the now decaying neon sign outside the Glenwood Motel to light up this symbol of the free enterprise system in Chattanooga.

An elder graduate from either of the two high schools might even pay for the repair of this treasure from the past. 

(With a chuckle or at least a smile!)


The madam who operated the establishment has been heard by witnesses that she had proudly exclaimed that she had graduated from a conservative church university in Spartanburg, South Carolina but no witness can verify that she displayed a graduation diploma on any of the walls of the brothel.

* * *

Jerry Summers

(If you have additional information about one of Mr. Summers' articles or have suggestions or ideas about a future Chattanooga area historical piece, please contact Mr. Summers at  


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