ARE ENTREPRENEURS BORN OR BRED?

  There are many theories about entrepreneurs and whether or not being an entrepreneur is an inherent talent or a science. Certain educators believe business owners are born, with the tenacity of natural-born leaders. On the other hand, you have actual entrepreneurs who subscribe to the thought that it is a skill; which can be taught, like music or baking. A study from the Harvard Business School shows that says if you can lead a student to entrepreneurship courses, they will start their business. Harvard professor Howard H. Stevenson says, "If you presume that the vast majority of our students are opportunity-driven and achievement-oriented, smart and hardworking (traits they've demonstrated to get here in the first place), then what we do is to give them some tools and techniques to improve their odds of success." Professors Professors at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, analyzed a surveyed 3,755 alumni and found that two ("or better yet three") entrepreneurship classes strongly affected students’ decisions to pursue start-ups, and that writing a student business plan also had some influence, though not as strong.

TRAITS OF A SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEUR

  According to recent data released by the United States Department of Labor, the youth unemployment rate, “Rose by 692,000 from April to July 2013, compared with an increase of 836,000 for the same period in 2012.” In response to the recent data, The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, (NFTE) CEO, Amy Rosen, released a statement as to what these rates mean for today’s youth in America and around the world. “It's not getting any better for young people,” said Rosen. “High youth unemployment undermines long term economic growth and stability. It's been a persistent problem in Europe and a powder keg in the Middle East - it's an issue we literally cannot afford to overlook." In 2013, this organization published a full report on the impact entrepreneurship training has on today’s youth if given the opportunity to learn how to become a business owner.   When surveying up and coming teen entrepreneurs, they are on the fence when it comes to the born or bred question. “I think it’s 50/50. You could be born rich or poor and still be an entrepreneur, in my opinion it boils down to dedication and drive,” states 17-year old, South Florida based entrepreneur Kaleb Smith. Smith is a product of NFTE. He completed NFTE’s course during his senior year of High School. Kaleb is half owner of a clothes-bleaching business he created while taking his NFTE course. He and his partner named it Makoulian Smith. His business specializes in bleaching denim. He customizes each order. “Basically we bleach clothes, in a way that’s fashionable. We can take a shirt, jacket, a pair of jeans, a skirt, any article of clothing, and bleach it for you. There are close to 8 billion people on the planet. They all have different styles. Our company allows them to be fashionable and unique, without breaking the bank.” During the first year of their business, they profited $10,000.     Smith's 16-year old business partner, Jacob Makoulian on the other hand, has a different opinion. “Entrepreneurs are most certainly bred. Honestly, you can be born into a financially stable family, which will give you a little bit of a head start; but if you lack motivation and you do not have mentors guiding, you will not go far. Having experienced mentors on our team really helped when we started our business. We started back in elementary school with a simple lemonade stand and look where we are today. At the end of the day, being an entrepreneur takes time and dedication if you are going to be good at it. Things like marketing and negotiation and are all things that can be learned in any classroom.”       NFTE program manager, Careline Romain say's, "Year after year, I'm blown away by the ideas student's present at NFTE finals." She adds, " 2014's, South Florida's regional winning business idea was an app, created by Karen Bonilla from Miami,Florida. Bonilla, created the app, which explains epilepsy to young children, after her five-year old sister witnessed a classmate having an epileptic seizure. The talent we have in our ranks truly is limitless."       Frank Pinkney is part of the “classroom” element. Pinkney teaches NFTE’s curriculum, at Piper High School in South Florida. He just completed a refresher retreat provided by NFTE. He says the number one goal in his classroom is to provide support and guidance for the students and to provide real feedback for them to improve as entrepreneurs. “At the end of the day as entrepreneurs, you are a competitor. You have to compete every day with your competition to serve your customers, and retain them for repeat business,” says Pinkney. “Student’s need honest feedback, that’s why I’m here,” he adds.       NFTE philosophy supporters include rapper, actor, and media mogul Sean “P-Diddy” Combs, President Obama, and Sam’s Club.       Patrick Muhammad took an unconventional route to baking and so far, it has led to becoming an entrepreneur. He owns the online baking company, 954SweetShop. “My father was a modern day janitor. My dad would take me to work to help him clean office businesses and bathrooms when I was still in kindergarten. When I think back to toys I had growing up, it was a broom, a mop or a vacuum cleaner." A downturn in the economy forced Muhammad to work outside of his "comfort" zone. Foxnews.com reports that the recent recession has given birth to a new wave of entrepreneurs. "If you would have told me 15 years ago that I would have a full-fledged baking business, an online delivery service that specializes in southern desserts, a tricked out food truck, a full catering service; I would want to know what you were smoking,” said Muhammad.
Patrick Muhammad's food truck, "954 Sweetshop". Image taken at food truck event near downtown Fort Lauderdale,  Aug. 25, 2014.
Patrick Muhammad's food truck, "954 Sweetshop". Image taken at food truck event near downtown Fort Lauderdale, Aug. 25, 2014.
  Muhammad says, although he took an unconventional route to his current career, he believes that there is a little bit of entrepreneurship in all of us. It just takes the right mix of dedication, passion, and a lesson or two on business to make it happen. “I honestly think we all have the ability to be business owners. At the end of the day, it all boils down to whether you want to do it or not. That is the number one reason I wrote my book, Patrick Turns His Play Into Pay. I wanted to let young children see that they have it in them to be successful. They just need to see an example of what the end of the tunnel looks like. They need to see that business owners basically find solutions to problems.”
Caricature version of "954 Sweetshop food truck", as illustrated in "Patrick Turns His Play Into Pay," picture book. Book published Oct. 2013.
Caricature version of "954 Sweetshop food truck", as illustrated in "Patrick Turns His Play Into Pay," picture book. Book published Oct. 2013.
In an effort to promote his message of turning your passion into your profession, Muhammad has plans in motion to donate 20,000 copies of his book to under-served youth. Muhammad also adds it all begins with a seed. “My desire is to plant a seed in the minds of today’s youth. They need to know that they control their future. As long as they have the ability, drive and a model in front of them, they can accomplish anything. There is no need to wait until you are an adult, to starting thinking like an entrepreneur. I really embrace being an entrepreneur,” says Muhammad.
Entrepreneur Patrick Muhammad participates in "Storytime Fun", at the African American Research Library & Cultural Arts Center, near downtown Fort Lauderdale.  He begins by introducing his self-published book to a group of young children, for an afternoon read. Fri. June 20, 2014.
Entrepreneur Patrick Muhammad participates in "Storytime Fun", at the African American Research Library & Cultural Arts Center, near downtown Fort Lauderdale. He begins by introducing his self-published book to a group of young children, for an afternoon read. Fri. June 20, 2014.
5-year olds, Qadeer Khiree left and Yadiyanna, right listen to author/entrepreneur Patrick Muhammad read his self-published picture book. Fri. June 20, 2014. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
5-year olds, Qadeer Khiree left and Yadiyanna, right listen to author/entrepreneur Patrick Muhammad read his self-published picture book. Fri. June 20, 2014. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
He says the road to being an entrepreneur is really the road less traveled, but he hopes to change that. “Often times, I just wanted to throw in the towel. If you do not surround yourself with people that have like goals, being an entrepreneur can be isolating. At the end of the day, you have to look at the big picture of things. For me, that big picture was my legacy; which will remain long after I am gone. I am out here for the young boy being without a father."
Shani Muhammad, left and Patrick Muhammad, right pose before giving motivational speech to group of young teens on their "Be The Boss," book tour in Miami,Florida. Sat. Aug. 7, 2014.
Shani Muhammad, left and Patrick Muhammad, right pose before giving motivational speech to group of young teens on their "Be The Boss," book tour in Miami,Florida. Sat. Aug. 7, 2014.
  My wife, the co-author of the book, is the example for the little girl without a role model of what female empowerment really looks like,” says Muhammad. “Even if there is only an ounce of desire, becoming an entrepreneur is possible,” he adds.

BE THE BOSS BOOK TOUR

COMING TO A CITY NEAR YOU---CLICK HERE TO RECEIVE DATES AND LOCATIONS.

This year my husband and I pledged to give away 4 million copies of our book "Patrick Turns His Play Into Pay" at no-cost, to those who need it most...our disadvantaged youth. We want to help as many youth as possible turn their play days into paydays. We're currently looking to create partnerships with other businesses, corporations and groups that align with our goals. If you'd like to help deliver our message of entrepreneurship, please send a message to us, through the "contact me" page.  
Book Cover
Book Cover

How do we plan to distribute the books?

ROAD TRIP!!!

This is not any your normal road trip. Our road trip will be in a custom built food-truck stocked with books and desserts. We will load up our family(3 boys,3 girls) and hit the road. This idea was birthed as a way to teach my own children about entrepreneurship and owning a business. Right now the plan is to cover the entire US...but who knows where this tour will take us?!

BE THE BOSS TOUR

By delivering the books in our food truck, we want to be a real-life tangible example of what entrepreneurship looks like. We don't want to just drop off a good book. We want every child we encounter on this tour to be given the tools now, to take a proactive role in changing the trajectory in their own lives. This will be accomplished through financial literacy and goal setting activities. In conjunction with the tour, we're launching a business idea contest. The goal of the contest is to sow a seed of entrepreneurship. The winner will receive money to help fund their business idea and a business mentor to help them along the way.

Our "Be The Boss" tour is coming to a city near you.

Be sure to check back often and follow us on twitter. New dates and cities are added daily.

CITY DATE VENUE

Fort Lauderdale,FL TBA TBA

Liberty City,FL TBA TBA

Pompano Beach,FL TBA TBA

Overtown,FL TBA TBA

Orlando,FL TBA TBA

Tampa,FL TBA TBA

Ocala,FL TBA TBA

Gainesville,FL TBA TBA

Jacksonville,FL TBA TBA

Dothan,AL TBA TBA

Waynesboro,GA TBA TBA

Savannah,GA