September 11, 2006

On Entrepreneurship and Motherhood

August and September are important months to all of us because these months represent a time of new beginnings and a new semester. Having been a professor at Kent State University for many years, this reality is all too meaningful and poignant. This year however, it has an especially important meaning to me because like many other parents all across America, my daughter has just enrolled as a freshman in college. So, I am also getting accustomed to the fact that she is not so small anymore, but has now entered into the realm of what I like to refer to as "young adulthood." As I was pondering on the importance of this period in her life, or in the African cultural cosmology, "an important part of the rites of passage", I was reminded of the all too important connection between parenting and entrepreneurship. Many of you might ask, what is the nature of such a connection.

The connection is clear and important. When I was performing research on entrepreneurs in the greater Cleveland area a few years ago which was later published in my third book, Confronting the Odds: African American Entrepreneurship in Cleveland, Ohio, the data indicated that individuals who came from family environments in which their parents or other members of their family owned businesses, were much more likely to be successful in business than those who did not. This finding is intuitive and what we would expect to see, but it also emphasizes the importance of developing a model within our individual households which both supports and encourages independence, creativity, and entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship, after all, is about developing a business enterprise, in many cases from scratch, and becoming the CEO of your own business venture. It is about the act of creating jobs and wealth for yourself and your communities. I am delighted to say that both my husband, Dr. Maurice Soremekun and I are both entrepreneurs and believe firmly in the importance of teaching young people at an early age the value of thinking for themselves and learning how to think out of the box. After all, many of our great contemporary entrepreneurs are doing just that. Over the next few months, we will continue to provide important information to you about the programs of the Center for the Study and Development of Minority Businesses at KSU and the Entrepreneurial Academy in the Cleveland Empowerment Zone. We will keep you up to date on important opportunities and challenges in the entrepreneurial arena and will provide important bits of information that will help you to expand and grow your businesses across time and space.

I close with one of my favorite quotes which is so relevant for institutions of higher learning and our mission as faculty members here at Kent State University as we interact to promote the development of critical thinking skills and knowledge for our students: " A mind that is fully stretched can never go back to its original dimension."

Sincerely Yours,

Dr. Bessie House

Intensive and Advanced Classes Start at Entrepreneurial Academy

The E-Academy is holding its sixth intensive class in the space of two years!

The Entrepreneurial Academy began its latest class at its building (540 East 105th Street, Suite 250) on June the 5th, 2006. This intensive class has a full compliment of 18 students enrolled, and runs until September 18th. Classes run from 6 to 9 PM on Mondays.

This class teaches individuals that have thoughts about starting a business, a new business, or an existing business the best ways to allow their business to thrive. The director of the E-Academy, Dr. Bessie House, has created a curriculum for the center that allows for a rapid education, based on implementing business essentials such as business plan development, cash-flow analysis, financial planning and many other imoprtant essentials that entrepreneurs need to know.

Continuing Education at the E-Academy

The intensive class is a good start for any individual that wishes to have their business grow, but there is no limit to the amount of information that one can gain about entrepreneurship. For those intrepid students that want to learn about other ways to streamline their business into a viable and strong organization, the Entrepreneurial Academy offers advanced classes, which cover Internet presence, grant writing, and more. The requirements for the program are the same as those with the intensive program (individuals wishing to take the class must be in one of the Empowerment Zone communities) and must also have successfully graduated from the intensive program at either the Entrepreneurial Academy or the Center for the Study and Development of Minority Businesses.

The advanced class is smaller and focuses on more complex issues than the intensive class. The instructors are many of the same as those that taught previous intensive classes. This means that individuals are more likely to create a bond with their instructors and gain more from the lectures. The next advanced class started up on July 5th, 2006 and will run until September 20th, 2006. This class has filled up, with 20 people attending courses.

The Mission of the Entrepreneurial Academy

The mission of the academy is to promote entrepreneurial development and economic growth in the Cleveland Empowerment Zone Communities of Fairfax, Hough, Glenville, and Midtown Corridor. The academy will provide a unique business curriculum to residents to the Empowerment Zone Communities who are interested in starting their own business enterprises.

The goal is to help the residents to acquire basic, hands-on knowledge and skills that can help them to achieve business success in the economic marketplace. The new curriculum takes many factors into consideration such as the historical development of the various business sectors of the City of Cleveland, the background of entrepreneurs who live in Cleveland, Ohio, cultural value systems, important business principles which are universal in nature, as well as a clear understanding of the constraints and opportunities that exist in Cleveland's economic environment in both the past and present time periods.

Eligibility Criteria for Classes at the E-Academy

All classes will be offered at no cost to the participants. Individuals who are interested in attending the classes of the Entrepreneurial Academy must demonstrate that they are residents of one of the Empowerment Zone communities of Cleveland, which include: Glenville, Hough, Midtown Corridor, and Fairfax; have a valid photo I.D.; a college degree, high school diploma, or GED equivalency. Individuals who apply will also participate in a pre-assessment interview with Dr. Bessie House, Director of the Entrepreneurial Academy.

Mail Registration to:

The Entrepreneurial Academy

540 East 105th Street, Suite 250

Cleveland, Ohio 44108

Phone: (216) 541-4140 | Fax: (216) 541-4150


Dear Dr. House

I am back in Alabama running a janitorial business and really am so grateful and blessed by attending Dr. House's class. She really was a excellent leader.

Art Milford


Cleaning Connection

Mr. Milford -

Thank you for your letter. It is always nice to see a graduate from our program successfully use the skills that were taught. By learning the basics of entrepreneurship, creating a business plan, and how to compete for the worker's dollar during his time with us at the Center, Mr. Milford has been able to create a viable business out of nothing more than a dream.

We hope to hear more from you Mr. Milford, and wish you best for your future.

Warmest Regards,

Dr. Bessie House

Keeping In Touch

Finally, we at the Center For The Study and Development of Minority Businesses want to make a call out to any former student of our Center. If you move or have some other method of contact, please contact us! We love hearing about your new businesses, business plans, and any other information that you choose to share with us!

There are individuals in our class that we have not heard from since they stopped attending; keep in touch! Contact information is at the bottom of this blog.

F.W. de Klerk Speaking At Kent State Stark

Bridging The Gap: Globalization Without Isolation"

Monday, Sept. 11 at 7:30 P.M.

Timken Greak Hall

Professional Education and Conference Center

Former South African President F.W. de Klerk was on eof the main architects of his country's constitutional democracy. He left a successful career in law for politics in 1972. After holding several positions in the cabinet of President P.W. Botha, he was elected state president of South Africa in 1989. In his first speech, he called for a nonracist country and for negotiations about the future of South Africa. Soon after, de Klerk ordered the release of the imprisoned African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela. In 1993, de Klerk and Mandela were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts toward reform in South Africa

Tickets are NOT required for this FREE lecture. First-come, first-served. Call 330.499.9600 for more information.


Dr. Bessie House

Director, The Center for the Study and Development of Minority Businesses

Director, The Entrepreneurial Academy


phone: 330-672-5307



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