What is 2017 Howard’s Very Own? A summit where bad and bougie, innovation, and Fifth Avenue fashion are all on display on the campus of Howard University.
On the evening of Wednesday, April 26, at Howard’s Blackburn Auditorium, students, alumni, and community members gathered to network, showcase, and support entrepreneurship led by Howard University entrepreneurs. The annual showcase serves as a platform for emerging and established Howard business owners, including students, professors, faculty, and alumni to market their products and services to the Howard community.
From Portfolio Project to Marquee Event
Organized by Founder Bola Olusanya along with Howard University’s Entrepreneurship Society, Culture Starved, and Champion Studios, the summit has developed into a marquee event for Howard entrepreneurs.
Last year, I attended Howard’s Very Own along with about 250 other people. The event included opportunities for vendors to pitch their companies from the main stage. This year, Howard’s Very Own attracted more student- and alumni-led startups ranging from clothing lines and logistics software to impact-focused basketball leagues and soy candles by Body Energy Balance.
As founder and president of Student Dream, a nonprofit that advances minority college entrepreneurship, I walked from table to table thrilled by the inventiveness and sheer pluck on display.
“Howard Girls Are The Dopest” is officially my favorite new T-shirt. Nappie Goods L.L.C. is now my go-to spot for sweet organic pies and cupcakes. When I need my sneakers cleaned I’ll mail them to The Sneaker Asylum.
Olusanya’s main goal for creating Howard’s Very Own is “to encourage entrepreneurship on campus. … Howard’s Very Own started as a portfolio project I worked on with my friend and fellow Bison Wale Olawoyin. Knowing that there were many Howard businesses that needed a platform, I was motivated to overcome a number of obstacles in order to turn HVO into something that could empower Howard’s entrepreneurial community. This platform helps foster a trend of supporting black- and minority-owned businesses, to in turn facilitate economic prosperity in our respective communities.”
Playing to Win
Howard’s Very Own serves not only as a great networking opportunity but also as a learning tool. Each year, a keynote speaker shares valuable business advice. As this year’s keynote, I spoke on 7 Principles on Playing to Win. Whether it’s business or school, the principles of having a vision, knowing your value, and enjoying the process are applicable anywhere.
André Taylor, Class of ’04 and founder of On.Us.Tees, said, “Everybody in the room needed to hear what [Nena Ugwuomo] had to say. Getting free and chasing after your goals and purpose. Hopefully, everybody can take that and move forward in accomplishing their goals.” Taylor left the keynote inspired to take his company and life to the next level.
For more about Howard’s Very Own, visit its website.
This post was written by Nena Ugwuomo, founder and president of Student Dream.