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How A Rural HBCU Prepared VIBEHEAVY's Founder To Thrive As A Serial Entrepreneur

At 4 a.m., most people are still catching a few more hours of sleep before their alarm clocks go off, but that’s the time that VIBEHEAVY founder Arif Gursel is usually sending out emails and starting his day. “I believe in getting a start on my day before the world gets moving,” Gursel said. “I know a lot of people probably think I’m weird because they’re getting messages from me at 4 a.m., but it allows me to clear my day and understand the most burning issues that I’m going to have to deal with.” Gursel isn’t alone. Many entrepreneurs know the struggles of early starts and late endings to their days. It’s one of the few ways Gursel can effectively manage his time between his digital agency VIBEHEAVY, his coworking space, The Union Seattle, and his non-profit PACE. VIBEHEAVY offers a wide range of services in product development, marketing, and business strategy. Gursel works as the founder and CVO (chief vibe officer) for VIBEHEAVY while implementing new initiatives as CEO for The...

Arriana McLymore

Oct 29, 2019

Big Sean Officially Launches Entrepreneurship Competition

Earlier this year, Ally Financial Inc., the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and Sean “Big Sean” Anderson announced a partnership to create the Mogul In the Making program, a weekend dedicated to student entrepreneurs solving real-life problems. Now, students from around the country are convening in Detroit to network, compete, and learn about the ever-changing world of business. “It’s all about inspiring the youth – providing them with opportunities and knowledge to build their futures,” Big Sean said in a statement. “I’m excited to see what they come up with.” Since 2012 , entrepreneurial education at historically Black colleges and universities has become increasingly popular. These programs range from creating on-campus incubators, building partnerships with other brands, and ramping up the business schools. Big Sean’s role in the Ally Financial and TMCF partnership leans on the mission of his Sean Anderson Foundation to promote education and well-being in college-aged youth in...

Arriana McLymore

Mar 28, 2019

How Empowrd Is Using Tech To Increase Civic Engagement

When Horace Williams left his executive position at Oracle, he wanted to create something that could have a huge impact on his community. The New York-native began developing his own platform focused on civic engagement in 2013 and Empowrd was born. Empowrd is based in Atlanta where the startup scene is taking off for Black entrepreneurs. Williams said the city has become communal space for Black founders and many leaders are leaning on each other to foster success. Empowrd is an app for individuals and organizations to stay informed and to motivate political action. Users can access news, contact elected officials and find ways to get engaged within their communities. Organizations use the app to conduct surveys on their constituents, build partnerships with influencers and political leaders, and access data analytics. Photo: Empowrd AfroTech had a chance to chat with Williams about Empowrd and the problem he’s trying to solve using tech. This interview has been lightly edited for...

Arriana McLymore

Mar 12, 2019

The Howard Blockchain Lab Wants To Bring Cryptocurrency Education to HBCUs

This article was originally published on 01/22/2019 The growing world of blockchain has made its way to Howard University with the help of a team of current students and alumni. Howard Blockchain Lab was founded in 2017 by Yohannes Ghebreyesus and Alston Clark, now graduates of the university, and civil engineering major, Johan Greene, after students on the campus began wondering about blockchain’s many uses. The lab organizes events, meetups, and informational sessions to teach students and people in the greater Washington, D.C.-area about the uses of blockchain and cryptocurrency. “The semester was just starting and there was a buzz on campus about cryptocurrency,” Clark said. That year, Ghebreyesus created a group chat with students around campus who were interested in learning about cryptocurrencies. Greene, in a separate venture, was building a team of students who wanted to be on the engineering side of blockchain. “Watching these two make moves on opposite sides of the campus...

Arriana McLymore

Jan 22, 2019

This FAMU Grad Created An App To Add Some Inspiration To Your Week

Everyone needs a little motivation now and again—iShallBe wants you to find inspiration right in the palm of your hand. iShallBe is an app working to give daily doses of inspiration to its users. Founder and CEO Shelby Tinsley created iShallBe as “an Instagram strictly for affirmations.” “Through daily affirmation, you learn that you are not the only one going through obstacles,” Tinsley said. “iShallBe’s daily affirmations are not just about how to get through life and the struggles of it, but how to enjoy life and remain positive no matter what.” iShallBe is giving users daily inspirational quotes, activities, and videos to get them through their week. Users set goals at the beginning of the week, and the app provides content daily to ensure users stay on track. iShallBe also allows users to create their own motivational quotes and affirmations within the app. The Detroit-based company gives a social-platform feel without the mental health toll. One of the biggest benefits is...

Arriana McLymore

Dec 27, 2018