we need to build big businesses? How does the venture capital community react to us? How can the minority venture capital community thrive so that they can support black entrepreneurs?’”
Through his entrepreneurial pursuits and having worked with professional organizations over the years, Watt has formed thousands of business relationships. “At The Marathon Club, the goal is to help entrepreneurs collaborate to build valuable businesses,” explains Watt. “If you have people who are successful, they start other businesses, and that [breeds] success in the community.
“I’m able to share other relationships — with investors, strategic partners, potential employees, or individuals who have industry knowledge and experience that may be relevant to other entrepreneurs,” says Watt about the extensive network he’s built. He moved his wife, Joy, 30, and his firm from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles last year but still maintains his relationships on the East Coast. “I value other people the way they value me,” he says. “I think we all enjoy collaborating with each other and sharing ideas and relationships that help us build successful companies and create value.”
Because he’s well connected, Watt often helps businesses solve problems or moves them to the next level by simply picking up the phone. Using memberships and contacts to strengthen businesses is a strategy that can be used by anyone. The Marathon Club is just one example of how the strategy works. This is why Watt is someone who exemplifies Declaration of Financial Empowerment Principle No. 8: to support the creation and growth of profitable, competitive, black-owned enterprises. The importance of human capital is sometimes overlooked in business, but Watt has made it a mainstay of his success. He helps a number of businesses grow, either through collaborating with them, investing in them, or mentoring them.
Watt is excited about the future. The relationships he’s built have helped him in the past and he knows they’ll continue to be invaluable resources as he builds his company. NextMedium recently collaborated with Nielsen Media Research to launch the first product placement measurement service that tracks brand exposure in television shows. The collaboration was Watt’s reaction to advertisers shifting away from passive advertising and moving toward more integrated messages in entertainment products, such as sending a brand’s message during a television show or in a music video.
Watt says he’s impressed with the number of talented African American executives he’s met. He’s also noticed an increase in the number of talented and experienced African American executives in positions of influence and power. “I think the entrepreneur ecosystem for African Americans, which includes strong relationships with corporate America, service providers [law firms, accounting firms, etc.], and other professionals, is getting stronger.” And that’s good news for all entrepreneurs.
Watt made a commitment to do the following in order to support the growth of black- and minority-owned businesses: Support business organizations.
Having belonged to the NAIC and by presently belonging to the Marathon Club, Watt has placed himself in a position to receive information that could help his business and deliver information