March 14, 2007

March 5th Blog



We are delighted to present you with our 18th issue of Entrepreneurial Alternatives Newsletter and our third issue of 2007. Our theme for this edition is "Staying the Course." It is our intention to do just that as we continue to expand our research activities and business training programs for 2007. I can honestly say that I have never been more excited, motivated, and dedicated to continuing to enhance entrepreneurial development in our region, our state, and our nation. I am very happy that I continue to get more invitations to speak in cities all over the United States. Later this month, I will speaking in Los Angeles, California and in Springfield, Massachusetts. Our readership for our newsletter has also expanded dramatically and we are also receiving more letters from people from all across America as well and this is also a source of delight. In the Dear Dr. House section of our newsletter, we present letters from St. Louis, Missouri, Port Chester, New York, and Cleveland, Ohio.

I am happy to inform you that I have transferred the administrative offices of the Entrepreneurial Academy from Cleveland, Ohio to Euclid, Ohio. We will maintain a training site in the Empowerment Zone. More information about our new location and upcoming activities will be discussed later in this newsletter. I want to thank so many of you for continuing to send us so many wonderful letters of encouragement and support and it means a great deal to us. Moreover, I am delighted to report that we receive calls almost every single day from numerous individuals who want to enroll in our business training programs. We remain doubly excited about this!.

In this edition, we provide you with James McQuiston's Top Ten Tips for Internet Businesses, an excerpt from the stellar independent evaluation of the Entrepreneurial Academy performed by Dr. Richard Njoku, President and CEO of The Benchmark Consultant Group, information about the new location of the offices of the Entrepreneurial Academy, information about Dr. House's new book on African American Entrepreneurship to be published in 2008, and our "Dear Dr. House" letters. We hope that you enjoy this edition.

Quote of the Week

'It took me a long time to realize that psychological capital is the best type of capital to possess. It you possess strong levels of psychological capital, your competitors may slow you down, but they can never stop you. "

---Dr. Bessie House---

Top Ten Tips for Internet Businesses
by James McQuiston

The Internet has an economy that is ever increasing. It does not take much work to receive considerable funds from the internet. In some cases, individuals can make more in the way of funds from the internet than they can running a brick and mortar store. I have operated an internet business since 1998, with the online version of my magazine, NeuFutur ( ) . Here are some tips, to be given out in the next few weeks.

1) Create a website for your business. The cost to buy a domain (the "name" of your website), coupled with internet hosting (the space where all your files reside) is much less than individuals would think. When I purchased a website for our own Dr. House, for example, the total bill was around $50 for one year’s worth of service. That was using . However, one can find a slightly better deal at, where an equivalent package costs around $40 One should choose a package based on the level of comfort that one has with the company.

2) If you have tangible goods, use eBay ( ) as a way to pander your goods. eBay is a great service for individuals to connect to individuals that may want your goods, but are removed geographically from your brick and mortar location. For example, I run a magazine that receives CDs for review. By putting the CDs that we have reviewed up online, we are able to generate revenues around $600 a month.

If you sell clothing, art, or anything tangible, eBay could be an easy way to supplement a brick & mortar location’s rent. eBay revenues can be enough to supplant a brick and mortar location. Just think about it this way, an eBay business requires nothing in the way of set up costs beyond having a computer, internet access, and a camera to take pictures.

3) Sign up for PayPal ( ) and Google Checkout ( ). These services allow individuals that use some form of monetary transaction to go forth and receive funds. While the use of Paypal and Google Checkout is typically tied to individuals that have goods to sell, non-profits can also elicit funds from individuals through Paypal. Google Checkout is a service that is in beta (which means that the service is stable, but is still being tested by engineers) but provides new sign-ups with a $10 credit towards any purchases (office supplies, for example). Regardless of the promotions tied to them, they are both good services with which to be familiar.

4)One can reduce the overhead from the costs of a traditional business setup immensely if they remove the brick and mortar component from their minds. Sure, it is nice to brag about if one has a storefront, but a lot of things have to be taken into consideration. Can you find a babysitter or time away from another job to sit at the store? If you hire individuals, will they be trustworthy? Running a store or business venture from the home is a better idea due to a number of facts. These facts include that there are no rental fees for the office space, no electricity or heating concerns beyond what is paid normally at the house. There is a larger audience for your wares. While office space cheap enough for a start-up company may be located far from busy thoroughfares, any one of a billion or so internet-surfing individuals may happen upon a company’s website.

5)After one has purchased hosting and a good domain name, enter your websites into various indices. Google, Yahoo, Netscape and the like. Each of those websites has an "add a link" section for free that one can provide information about their ventures. Doing so will make it easier for individuals that are looking for what one is providing, and this increases the probability that individuals will purchase one’s wares or otherwise support one’s venture. An addition to social networking sites ( , , ) about one’s venture or creating a profile based purely around the venture is also recommended.

6)The creation of a website for one’s company is essential in this day and age. There are enough websites online, such as Lissa Explains ( ) and HTML Help ( ) that will provide individuals with information how to make a crisp, attractive website. Services like the aforementioned Godaddy and 1+1 have HTML editors, and there is a program called First Page ( ) that is free that will allow business owners to make even the most difficult pages. A website does not need to be flashy, but should show what the company is offering, what it costs, and why an individual should purchase from that company instead of others.

Please tune into this column next issue where James lists tips #7 through 10. Contacting the e-mail present at the end of the blog is a good way to get in touch with him, should anyone have questions about his tips.
Entrepreneurial Academy Receives Stellar Evaluation
by Dr. Richard Njoku, Independent Program Evaluator

Note: This is an excerpt of the report written by Dr. Richard Njoku.

The Entrepreneurial Academy (E-Academy) belongs to a genre of non-academic and non-accredited entrepreneurial programs that are in the forefront of preparing ordinary citizens to take the plunge into the murky waters of entrepreneurship. Its mission is premised on assisting residents of the Cleveland Empowerment Zone communities to acquire the hands-on skills necessary to achieve economic success in the marketplace. However, the E-Academy is not just another entrepreneurial program, as it is differentiated from the pack by at least three factors. First, it was founded as an innovative partnership of a broad-spectrum of community stakeholders including 1) Kent State University, 2) the City of Cleveland Empowerment Zone, 3) the Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation, 4) the Glenville Development Corporation, 5) the Consortium for Economic and Community Development, and 6) Midtown Cleveland. Second, its founding values are grounded in sound research, especially, on the predictors of economic and business success. The affiliation with Kent State University has ensured that the E-Academy benefits from a pipeline of sound research in the field of entrepreneurship conducted by Dr. Bessie House and other instructors at the Center for the Study for Minority Businesses. Finally, the E-Academy boasts of a practical curriculum that aligns business training with skill development, and business coaching conducted by accomplished entrepreneurs.

The Goal-based Evaluation

This goal-based evaluation was designed to generate usable information to guide policy and programmatic revisions of the Entrepreneurial Academy (E-Academy), with a view to strengthening its overall quality. The evaluation assessed the success of the E-Academy in achieving its formative and summative goals. On the formative side, it assessed 1) the extent to which recruitment and enrollment complied with the eligibility requirements of the City of Cleveland Empowerment Zone; 2) the quality, quantity, duration and intensity of program delivery, including entrepreneurship training and business coaching; and 3) the rate of retention, completion, and graduation in the program. On the summative side, it assessed 1) gains in functional knowledge of business and entrepreneurship as assessed with pretest and post tests; 2) transfer of learning, and the extent to which participants used knowledge and skills to advance entrepreneurial activities, as demonstrated by the development of business plans; and 3) new business startups or expansions by participants. Levels of satisfaction with the program were also assessed and reported. The evaluation focused on the success of the 41 participants who completed both the basic and advanced workshop series in entrepreneurship in 2006.

A mixed data collection strategy was employed in the course of this evaluation, including an extensive review of program documents and records; key informant interviews with program managers; pre and post tests of participants; and surveys of program graduates.

Evidence from the evaluation leads to the following conclusions regarding the results of the E-Academy in 2006:

*The program targeted a diverse group of participants, in terms of age, gender, level of educational attainment, marital status, previous business experience and other relevant demographic and personal variables.

*Recruitment and enrollment met all the eligibility requirements of the Cleveland Empowerment Zone. Program records indicate that all participants (100%) were recruited from the EZ communities of Fairfax, Glenville, Hough, and Midtown Corridor.

*Participants received a total of 122 training hours and 284 business coaching hours during the year.

*Retention, completion, and graduation rates were very high. Analysis of data showed 82% retention, completion, and graduation rates.

*Levels of satisfaction with the E-Academy’s program were very high. At least 98% of participants rated the training workshops “excellent” or “very good” on all 5 categories of assessment, including 1) relevance of the workshop content; 2) usefulness of the workshop content; 3) instructors’ presentation style; 4) instructors’ level of preparedness; and 5) overall rating of the training workshop.

*Participants made statistically significant gain in their functional knowledge of business and entrepreneurship concepts as assessed with pre and post tests. On the average, participants in the basic workshop series made a 30-point gain in knowledge, while those in the advanced workshop series made a 32-point gain.

*All participants (100%) developed business plans of their current or prospective businesses; a clear demonstration of the use of knowledge and skills gained in the program.

*A total of 28 businesses were either established or expanded by graduates of the E-Academy within the past year. On the legal structure of the businesses established by the graduates, close to one-half (48%) had established limited liability companies (LLCs), while slightly over one-third (35%) established C or S corporations. Thirteen percent (13%) established sole proprietorships, while 4% established 501(c) (3) tax-exempt organizations.

*The types of businesses started included personal services (21.3%); business services (17.9%); retail trade (14.3%); educational services (10.7%); professional services (10.7%); real estate (7.1%); energy/utilities (3.6%); computer & Internet (3.6%); Arts & entertainment (3.6%); maintenance (3.6%); and automotive services (3.6%). The evaluator, Benchmark Consulting Group, is currently collecting hard data on business and economic outcomes (jobs created, microloans raised, individual wealth created, etc.) to enable it assess the overall impact of the E-Academy on the city’s economy. For further information regarding this evaluation, please contact Richard E. Njoku, Ph.D at (216) 374-8655, or send an email to: [Picture on right: Dr. Richard Njoku, independent program evaluator]
The Entrepreneurial Academy Transfers Its Administrative Offices to Euclid; Training Site to Remain in Empowerment Zone

Entrepreneurial Alternatives is pleased to announce that the Entrepreneurial Academy has transferred its' administrative offices to Euclid, Ohio. A training site for the E-Academy will still be maintained, however in the Empowerment zone communities of Hough, Glenville, Fairfax, or the Midtown Corridor. The location of the new training site will be publicized very soon. The new address of the administrative offices is 25000 Euclid Avenue, Suite 206. According to Dr. Bessie House, the Director of the Entrepreneurial Academy, "we moved our administrative offices to Euclid, Ohio in order to best respond to the growing needs of our constituents. Although the Entrepreneurial Academy was originally created to respond to the needs of residents of the Empowerment Zone communities of Cleveland, Ohio, the E-Academy has received a tremendous demand pull in recent years from many residents who live outside of the Empowerment Zone. In fact, there is hardly a single day that goes by when we do not receive phone calls from individuals who want to enroll in our business training classes and many of these individuals live outside of the zone. To date, we have almost 300 people on our waiting lists to take our upcoming business classes and the demand pull continues to grow. We are also restructuring our centers so that we can maximize our impact and program delivery for the 21st century and beyond. In order words, we will to continue to provide business training to residents of the Empowerment Zone communities, but we will also provide services to those who live outside the Empowerment Zones communities as well."

According to Dr. House, "We are delighted to respond to the increased popularity and visibility of our centers. People find out about us in many ways. In some cases, they have seen us on television or read about the success of our programs in the newspapers. We also get many referrals from our former graduates of the Entrepreneurial Academy, former graduates of the Center for Minority Businesses at Kent State University, residents of Cleveland and surrounding communities, as well as from members of the Cleveland city council and our partnering community development organizations in Cleveland."

The new phone numbers for the Entrepreneurial Academy are as follows: main office number (216) 731-4426; fax number (216) 731-4617. If you call our old number of (216) 541-4140, you will also be provided with our new phone number as well. We will announce our upcoming schedules for our business training classes for this year in our upcoming newsletters. We look forward to seeing you in our business training classes for 2007.
Kent State University to Publish the 2nd Edition of Confronting The Odds

Kent State University Press has announced its' plans to publish the 2nd Edition of "Confronting the Odds", Dr. House's seminal work on African American entrepreneurship in Cleveland, Ohio. The 2nd Edition of the book will include an updated history of African American businesses and the African American community in Cleveland from 1795-2007 along with additional life histories of successful entrepreneurs, new public policy recommendations an additional information. The release of the 2nd edition is slated for 2008.

The first edition of "Confronting the Odds", published in 2003, experienced many successes. It was the recipient of the Henry Howe Book Award, received much favorable press coverage in several major newspapers and sold several thousand copies. According to Dr. Juliet E.K. Walker, one of the foremost experts on Black business history and entrepreneurship in the United States, "Confronting the Odds: African American Entrepreneurship in Cleveland, Ohio" provides one of the first systematic studies of the historical development of black business history in an American city. Proceeding from a multidisciplinary perspective in conceptualization, analysis, and methodology, this compelling well-written assessment provides a wealth of data, concluding with valuable and insightful public policy recommendations for black business activity in the twenty-first century. [It is] a well-conceived study that will have a significant place in the expanding field of both historical and contemporary assessments of black business activity in American cities. A must read for scholars, businesspeople and public policy analysts.'

To purchase a copy of Confronting The Odds: African-American Entrepreneurship in Cleveland, Ohio for personal or classroom use, please contact Dr. Bessie House at 330.672.5307 or email her at

Please also contact Dr. House if you have any information, pictures, or experiences relevant to the subject matter of the work. Look for additional information in following issues of Entrepreneurial Alternatives.
Dear Dr. House

Dear Dr. House -

You continue to hit the nail on the head in your focus on Economic Development and small business focus for Blacks, other minorities and those in 'urban areas' like Cleveland and Ohio. Kent State University Minority/Black Business Initiative and Cleveland Small Business Academy: Newsletter and "Blog" Focus on Minority Economic Development and Small Business--Entrepreneurism. Hats off to you and this effort.

Dr. Nolen Ellison
Former President
Cuyahoga Community College
Cleveland, Ohio
Currently, Professor Emeritus
Kansas City Bloch School of Business and Public Administration
University of Missouri in Kansas City

Dear Dr. Ellison:

Thank you so much for your very encouraging remarks in your letter above and in several other letters that you have written in recent months. We have many exciting plans for all of our centers for this year and look forward to discussing these with you more. I shall send you some additional information in the near future and also give you a call to update you more on our strategic initiatives for 2007 and beyond.

All the best,

Dr. Bessie House
The Entrepreneurial Academy
And Executive Director and Founder
The Center for the Study and Development of Minority Businesses
Kent State University

Dear Dr. House -

We met at the NBMBAA [National Black MBA Association Conference] in Atlanta last year, after your session on entrepreneurship. I was one of the last people at the session and I think you gave me a receipt on a business card. In any case, I just wanted to let you know that I have launched my own business, actually with family members, and we are pretty excited about this new venture. Daunting yes, but as weighty as that can be, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Below please find my announcement to friends and family. I must say that what I look forward to the most is the opportunity to really help others. I think that's why God has given me the gifts He's given to me.

I look forward to hearing back from you and trust that you and your inventions and other enterprises are going well. I have a few that I need to get busy with in the next couple of months myself. God's best to you and His peace for your journey too.

All the best,
Sherry-Ann Morris
President and CEO
McLean Enterprises, Inc.
Port Chester, New York 10573

Dear Ms. Morris:

I am happy to have received your lovely letter. I am very delighted that you have also decided to become an entrepreneur and have moved forward to launch your own business enterprise. You are indeed a part of a new phenomenon that we are witnessing in the African American community, where more and more people are realizing that their only hope of realizing true economic independence in this country is to own their own business enterprises to create wealth not only for themselves but for their communities as well. Welcome aboard the entrepreneurial bandwagon!

I look forward to staying connected with you as well as we continue to expand the work of our entrepreneurial training centers. It was truly a pleasure for me to have met you last year when I spoke at the National Black MBA Association Conference in Atlanta, Georgia at the World Congress Center. It was delightful and I look forward to the opportunity to speak again this year. It was truly an awesome event.

I continue to make great progress with my invention. I hope to commercialize it later this year and bring it to the marketplace. I will make public more information about my invention at the appropriate time.

Again, thanks for your letter, and if there is any assistance that I can give you, do not hesitate to let me know. I am including your website information along with your letter so that our readership can access information about your business.

All the best,

Dr. Bessie House
The Entrepreneurial Academy
And Executive Director and Founder
The Center for the Study and Development of Minority Businesses
Kent State University

Dear Bessie;

I must say that I have not had the time to read through one of your newsletters until today. It was enjoyable reading, from a purely informational point of view and as an example of how to make a point in a pleasant, positive manner.

Dr. Leon Brown
Pathology Department
Huron Hospital
East Cleveland, Ohio
Health Legacy of Cleveland

Dear Dr. Brown:

Thanks so much for your complimentary letter. Indeed, we make strong efforts to make our entrepreneurial work accessible to as broad a spectrum of the community as possible. Thank you for the great leadership you are providing to Health Legacy of Cleveland and for the work the organization has done in reducing health disparities between African Americans and other racial groups. I am delighted to serve as the Chairwoman of the Development Committee for this year's fundraising event and scholarship dinner which will take place in April. We will carry another press release about this important event in our next newsletter edition.

All the best,

Dr. Bessie House
The Entrepreneurial Academy
And Executive Director and Founder
The Center for the Study and Development of Minority Businesses
Kent State University

Quick Links
# E-Academy
# B. House Communications, Inc.
# The Dr. House Minority Business Blog

In Closing
Finally, we at the Center For The Study and Development of Minority Businesses and Entrepreneurial Academy want to make a call out to any former student of our Center. If you move or have some other method of contact, please notify us! We love hearing about your new businesses, business plans, and any other successes that you might be experiencing. If you could send us a recent photograph and a small description of your success, we will include them in one of our upcoming editions of Entrepreneurial Alternatives.

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.


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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