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Destined For Business



Black entrepreneurship is on the rise in our community.  As the CEO of WDB Marketing, I am blessed to encounter amazing entrepreneurs on a daily basis.  Entrepreneurs that are not only trying to make a dollar but make a difference. Our network is filled with diverse business owners. We have clients that are inventors, organizational leaders, franchise owners and even creators of retail products with national distribution. Our diversity in business is growing and in turn, so is our impact. I recently read an article about Courtney Adeleye, a young Black woman who pledged $30 million towards a fund for Black women.  As an entrepreneur, Courtney made millions with her haircare brand The Mane Choice, and wanted to invest it back in the very people who made her rich, Black women.  She is the perfect example of the impact our success can have on our community, recycling our dollars into resources.  She may not have known this when she was born, but Courtney Adeleye was DESTINED FOR BUSINESS.  Why? Because her success is tied into the destiny of others.  This type of greatness is brewing all around us. The next wave of entrepreneurs will be the one’s who will change the trajectory of our communities.

Statistics show that if we all spent 10% of our money in our community amongst small and black owned businesses, we would create 1 million jobs.  

1. We create jobs and opportunities.  Let’s be honest.  An African American business is more likely to hire someone from within the community, regardless of their background history. We know that one of the hardest challenges our community faces is being over-policed; increasing our chances of having felony records and less than stellar background checks.  It is not to say that we should expect Black businesses to hire anyone, however, we are more culturally sensitive to the disadvantages that have been placed on us. We give our young brothers and sisters a fighting chance to redeem themselves, get on the right track and get themselves together. 

Madam C. J. Walker

2. We spread the wealth.  I am so proud to see the number of multi-million Black businesses I see sprouting up all across the country.  But what I am even more proud of is there continuous efforts to give back and spread the wealth they are blessed with.  Ariel Investments, one of the largest Black investment firms in the world has a school program where each first grade class starts out with an investment fund of $20,000 that follows them until graduation.  My company, WDB Marketing, nowhere near the size of an Ariel Investment, hosts a young entrepreneur award where we grant the winner over $10,000 in not only prizes but also mentorship for their business. And we all saw the social media frenzy when Black billionaire Robert Smith paid off all the student loan debt for the graduating class of Morehouse. These examples are just a small drop of what our impact can be the more we continue to grow in the business world.

Marcus Garvey

3. We create our own ecosystem to sustain each other.   Past statistics show that our dollar leaves our community within 7 minutes.  I firmly believe that this stat is dying.  We are becoming more conscious of where our dollars go and making sure it circulates in our communities first.  The more successful one business becomes; the greater likelihood the next one will become because of the support they can now receive.  It is like building an anchor.  We are creating strong anchors in our communities that will be able to support everything around it.  

Oprah Winfrey

4. We control our destiny.  We hear the outcries all the time, another big box is leaving our community and taking all the jobs with them.  Why, because they have no personal ties to our community so their decision to leave is easy.  Being a Black business doesn’t guarantee that you can survive and never leave a community but being from an area creates a sense of loyalty and a better understanding of the investment it will take to make that community thrive. 

Master P

5. We build legacy.  Master P recently had a conversation about creating generational wealth.  Because he sacrificed and built a company, he has increased the odds of his children’s success.   Entrepreneurship gives us the ability to pass on a legacy, an investment, an asset to our children and to our community.  Look at the wealth of families such as the Heinz family or the Ricketts.  They have built enough wealth to give the next 5 generations a head start, and we must do the same.  We can no longer be focused on the next year, we must focus on the next 100 years, that will be our legacy.  

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Black Bread company launching in Chicago!

Meet the founders of @theblackbreadco the first ever black owned sliced bread company. Launching February 2021!



Meet the founders of @theblackbreadco the first ever black owned sliced bread company. Launching February 2021!

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New Black owned joint venture in Orland Park!

New Black owned joint venture in Orland Park! We love to hear about powerful Black brands collaborating. Check out the newest restaurant addition to Orland Park, Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat and Phlavz. Whether you are looking for soulful vegan food or amazing caribbean, this spot has it for you. We LOVE the energy of the young entrepreneurs who started this. Make sure you support!



Just in time for Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s area-wide ease of COVID-19 dine-in restrictions on restaurants, a trio of Black entrepreneurs are teaming up to bring a new vegan/jerk food concept to Orland Park.

Phil Simpson and Andrew Bonsu, co-owners of University Village-based restaurant Phlavz Bar & Grille (717 W. Maxwell St.), and Laricia Chandler Baker, the owner of Hyde Park vegan/vegetarian eatery Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat (1368 1/2 E. 53rd St.) plan to open a hybrid location (24 Orland Sq. Drive) at noon Saturday.

Separately, Bonsu and Simpson — who met while working various gigs in the music industry —and Baker were unknowingly searching for business locations in Orland Park before deciding to collaborate.

Andrew Bonsu (left) and Phil Simpson are co-owners of University Village-based restaurant Phlavz Bar & Grille.
 Foto Mack-Media

The trio says their businesses have “thrived” during the pandemic, inspiring the ideas of expansion.

“I think we always wanted to do things together,” said Bonsu, who’s eatery specializes in jerk food and drink options such as their signature drinks “Blacker the Berry” and “Phlavz Punch.”

“Growing up together [with Baker] we always wanted to do business but the timing of this showed itself; we said let’s do it together.”

And Baker, a self-taught chef who’s nicknamed “Chef Fab,” says the eatery will have separate kitchens to prepare food, while customers can utilize a shared dining space.

“We won’t be cross contaminating; we have one big building and Phil and Andrew will have their kitchen and I have mine, too,” said Baker, who went to Northern Illinois University with Bonsu. “The vegans can feel comfortable knowing that it’s one room, but two kitchens.”

Instead of bashing Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot for implementing restrictions tough on gig economy eateries, the trio decided to focus on the things they can control. And while so many businesses in the Chicago area have either downsized — or shuttered for good — the trio counts their blessings.

“We’re looking forward to expanding even more,” said Simpson. “It’s truly a blessing because we know that we survived. If we can survive this pandemic, we can survive anything.”

Laricia Chandler Baker, owner of Hyde Park vegan/vegetarian eatery Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat.
 Shaun Michael Photo

This article has been reposted from The Chicago Sun Times

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All Coffee Drinkers Are Not Created Equally



As a business owner, one of the most important things that you can do for your business is to get to know your customer. This process should begin before the doors of the business open. When I say get to know your customer I mean really get to know them. You should be able to paint a descriptive picture of your ideal client.

As a coach and consultant for new and young businesses, a part of my process is to ask my clients “Who is your customer?”. How the client answers this question lets me know where we need to begin our work. The majority of the time new business owners will tell me things like “My customer is all women”. “My customer is anyone over 21 years old”. “My customer is everyone who has been heartbroken.” Each time I hear this I know that there is work to be done.

I like to start off with the coffee scenario. I am a coffee drinker. I like hazelnut coffee, with cream and sugar. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, let me break down for you why this is not as simple as it sounds.

When thinking of places that you can grab your morning coffee a few quick places come to my mind:

Dunkin Donuts

I can get hazelnut coffee with cream and sugar from each of these places, however just because I can does not mean that I will. Let’s dissect what I mean.

Starbucks is a more expensive cup of coffee. I usually go there for the experience. I want someone to make my coffee for me, put it in a cup with a sleeve and a stirrer, allow me to pay with my mobile app, and call my name when it is ready. My order at Starbucks is $5.43.

Starbucks Coffee

McDonald’s is a quick fix. I can go through the drive-thru, order a medium coffee with two pumps of hazelnut syrup, 2 creams, and 2 sugars. They will whip that up for me right quick. No frills. My order at McDonald’s is $1.35.

 7-11 is more of a grab and go. Here you make your own coffee, it’s set up buffet style. 7-11 offers a variety of coffee types and additives. Here you get it your way because you make it yourself. My order at 7-11 is about $1.09.

Dunkin Donuts is midrange. When I am in a neighborhood that has a drive-thru Dunkin Donuts I will go there. They have my hazelnut coffee beans, not syrup, and they add in something called a swirl which is cream and sugar premixed. My order at Dunkin’ is $2.49.

As you can see each of these places sells the coffee that I like and I can shop at either of them if need be. However, depending on what my preference is at the time I may choose to not visit one or more of them. There are some people who believe that it is absurd to buy a cup of coffee for $5.43 when you can get one for $1.09. Then there are others that would never drink coffee that is served buffet style with all those people breathing over the coffee.

 This is why you must know who specifically your target customer is. When you know who your customer is, you know what appeals to them, how to get their attention, and how to speak to them. Spending time learning your customer will save you lots of time and money. Starbucks knows not to market to the frugal customer. That is not their customer and they are okay with that. You have to be okay with knowing that everyone isn’t your customer.

A word of advice is, you want to market yourself properly and position yourself so that the customer you want seeks you out and not the other way around. Take the time early on and figure out exactly who your target customer is

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