January 1, 2009
BE Next: Fearless Young Entrepreneurs Reveal Most Valuable Play
Age is just a number. Yeah right. Take youth, smarts, tenacity, ambition, savvy, and fearlessness (a little bit of swagger doesn’t hurt either) and you’ve got a near-perfect entrepreneur. Of course, in their eyes, it’s just another day at the office.
Call it what you will, young entrepreneurs know how to make money. This group of tenacious businesspeople, age 21—35, represents the cusp of a changing entrepreneurial landscape, which they have the potential to soon dominate. It behooves us to take note because people in this age group are more likely to have started a business right out of school than the baby boomer generations (27% vs 9%). Today, this latest generation relies on themselves and their peers to bring creativity, passion, social consciousness, innovation, and purpose to the masses.
To highlight this, black enterprise brought together a group of young, spirited entrepreneurs, each with a different story yet the same dedicated fervor needed to launch and maintain a business venture. What makes them unique is that they all implemented that all-important game changer into the equation which proved positive– that critical decision or pearl of wisdom that when coupled with their youthful energy and business acumen, propelled them to the next level.
The other commonality among this new breed of entrepreneurs is a bold mind-set that charges them to develop and successfully execute a vision on their own terms and by their own rules. Of course, the angst of entrepreneurship isn’t lost on the youth. The world of business is tough. The economy is worsening. They get that. But rather than fret, they keep at it, growing right along with their enterprise, remaining eagerly involved in the minutiae of it all.
In identifying the young entrepreneurs of today who stand to be the business leaders of tomorrow, BE acknowledges that it’s their time … and that we can all take something from this new energy and new age in an effort to be energetic, be innovative, and BE Next.
Jerome Boykin Jr., Age 26
JB Sweeping / Houma, LA
Type of business: Commercial parking lot detailing and maintenance
Year Launched: 2006
2008 Revenues: $850,000
Game changer: Cultivating relationships and attention to detail
A lot of people who knew me, were like, ‘What is Jerome doing picking up trash?’ I got a lot of double takes and some even laughed at me. But the light bulb didn’t go off right away for me either, that this was something I should be doing. It wasn’t until they told me the contract was $3,500 a month, that’s when I knew I had to get into this industry and improve it.
We don’t work on a set schedule like others, because it really is when the job is done. That’s when we move on to the next lot. That’s what sets us apart and gets us the contracts. Of course, it’s not [just] about the money. That store manager I got my very first contract with has grown to be a good friend of the family.
I’m always looking for new services to add. We purposely