Changing the Face of Entrepreneurship for Over 30 Years

Featured In This Issue

Cover Story
Different Drummers
Real Talk
D&I
Honoring WBES

Growing up in a single-parent household in Denver, Colorado, Marco Campos didn’t have much in the way of material things. But he had dreams—and the desire to not live paycheck-to-paycheck. He wanted to achieve something no one else in his family had achieved.

Campos’ first job, at age seven, was assisting his welder grandfather in the garage. There, he picked up a strong work ethic and learned valuable lessons—some good, some not—on how to run a business. After high school, he entered a field that’s underrepresented by minorities and women, pursuing an engineering degree at the University of Colorado–Boulder. Campos says he was intent on “making a good living immediately after graduation.”

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In September 1999, Hurricane Floyd threatened to rip the coast of Virginia apart, just as it had done earlier in North Carolina. The intensity of the Category 2 hurricane’s 104 mph winds and extreme rainfall caused $6 billion in property damage, more than $1 billion in farm losses, and 35 deaths in Eastern North Carolina. As the devastating storm roared toward Newport News, Virginia, where 21-year old Kaney O’Neill was stationed on the U.S. Navy’s USS Nimitz, she stood on her apartment balcony to get a glimpse of the approaching storm.

She never imagined that such a seemingly harmless act would forever alter her life.

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Like most businesses in the United States, the hospitality industry faces lots of changes today. Restaurant companies are rethinking their business models to deal with the rising cost of operations; private equity groups are bringing innovations into the business; and enhancements in technology are changing the way hotels and restaurants conduct training.

These changes spell opportunity for smart minority and women business enterprises. Restaurants, hotels, and other businesses in the hospitality industry are offering multiple avenues for minorities to get into business or to grow their current enterprises. Here are a few industry trends I hope can help readers identify an excellent business opportunity.

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Savvy companies recruit diverse talent. Sounds logical, right? So what happens when that doesn’t happen—when, as I like to say, “You don’t know what you don’t know”?

I’m going to share a story about executives at a Midwestern bank who didn’t know—didn’t realize, or understand, or admit to themselves—that their business wasn’t diverse, and what it took to make them aware.

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As is our annual tradition, we’ve spent the past few months searching for WBEs Who Rock! Women business owners who exemplify passion and courage in the pursuit of their business success. And, when we asked you to nominate women who met those criteria, your response was, as usual, overwhelming.

After reviewing the nominations of so many extraordinary women and much discussion and debate, we awarded 11 women plus our three Spring cover features, Ranjini Poddar , Pegine Echevarria , and Georgia Richardson with the distinction of being WBEs Who Rock!

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As I write this, I am still working through my emotions about the awful violence of this past week. I am full of words and yet at a loss as to how to articulate my feelings. I am angry, disgusted, afraid, helpless, frustrated, bewildered, and unspeakably sad. All three of the events that have brought so many of us, including me, to our knees, were acts that were so…despicable, it hardly seems possible that this is the country that just days before had celebrated an independence that was hard-fought and hard-won by more than just those long-ago colonists. It is an independence that was fought for and won by many groups over the years—women, black, Native American, Hispanic, Asian, LGBT.

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Departments

Master Your Brand

It May Only Take a Tweak to Keep Your Business Brand Strong

Recently, my colleague and friend,Carl Brown, executive director of the District of Columbia Small Business Development Center (DC SBDC/www.dcsbdc.org), asked me to present a branding workshop to local business owners and entre­preneurs. An outreach program of Howard University, DC SBDC works with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), schools, and community organizations to provide management and technical training in business development to area small businesses free of charge.

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People/Places

TheAirport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC) recently announced Krystal J. Brumfield as its new President and Chief Executive Officer. Brumfield will replace Shelby Scales who served as AMAC’s CEO from 2011 to 2016.

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Alliances

GC Micro Corporation, a minority-owned company based in Petaluma, California, has been announced as a subcontractor to Boeing as part of the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency ’s sale of nine Boeing-made P-8A Poseidon aircraft to the United Kingdom. The sale of the aircraft, which amounts to an estimated $3.2 billion, is designed for maritime patrol and long-range anti-submarine warfare.

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In Brief

New York State Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) introduced legislation to bring contracting and procurement opportunities to the estimated 86,000 LGBT-owned businesses in the state, as well as business owners with disabilities and veterans.

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