40 Next: Jason Smikle

In celebration of our 40th anniversary, Black Enterprise is taking a look both forward and backward at the world of black business. Our list of 40 Next celebrates the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders.

These BE Nexters—those 21–35 years old making a measurable impact within their respective business, organization, industry, or field—are standouts in the areas of entrepreneurship, corporate America, academia, nonprofit, the arts, and the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). And they prove every day that “business as usual” is not so usual. For them, leveraging expertise in one area to maximize an opportunity in another is standard operating procedure.

Using the legacy of their business predecessors to forge their own way, this new generation of leadership accepts the torch without trepidation. But the commonality between then and now is that success still takes a focused, strategic, and passionate mindset. Here, we introduce you to one of our 40 Next.

Jason Smikle, 24
Co-Founder/Managing Director
TUV Online/TUV Media Networks
Chicago, IL
Smikle recognized a void in cool, authentic media produced by young people during his sophomore year of college and teamed up with his friends Ebele Mora and Fabricio Sousa to launch Truly Unique Vision (TUV). The venture has evolved into a new media company that helps brands connect directly with young people (age 18–24). “There’s a huge disconnect between the mindset of young people and the companies trying to create products that young people buy,” says Smikle. With a growing client list including Foot Locker, BET, Toyota, and McDonald’s, the company expects 100% growth in year-over-year revenues.

Temple University earning a degree in broadcast communications and mass media

Favorite Book
Business: Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath
Leisure: Driven from Within by Michael Jordan

BE Manifesto
I love operating in stealth and innovation–an underdog mentality. Nobody knows everything. Just pieces of the puzzle. It’s how you make change

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