Brothers Who Mean Business

De’Juan and De’On Collins are amazed at the money you can make when you tap into the right market. The Lubbock, Texas, natives graduated from Texas Tech in December 2006 with degrees in finance and stewardship of their 2 — year — old real estate investment company. While at Texas Tech, the two created an entertainment promotions company that organized parties for students, grossing from $1,700 to $2,000 per event. By 2005, their enterprise produced nearly $75,000 in gross revenues.

The brothers ended the promotions venture, selling two binding contracts to another collegiate promotions firm and pocketing $10,000. They used their proceeds for a down payment on a housing unit they had been eyeing. “Our thought was not to buy property under our own name,” says De’On. “We were advised not to do that.

In January 2005, their junior year, the brothers formed a limited partnership, Collins Capital Investments. Collins Capital grossed more than $109,000 its first year. Most of that money came from property sales; about 16% came from rental income, notes De’Juan. “When you’re first going into a deal,” says De’On, “you make your money in how you buy the property.” The brothers look for distressed properties to which they can add value. In their area, the average value of a low — to moderate — income residential home is $120,000. “The last property we bought [at $200,000] was a little more expensive than we normally deal with,” De’Juan says. After $10,000 worth of renovations, the brothers sold the property for $250,000.

“We’ve been taking it day by day; looking at different properties to find the return requirements we’re set up for,” explains De’Juan, and, “working with different contractors to handle foundation issues, floor plan changes, and outdated amenities in older homes.”

The 21 — year — old identical twins always knew they wanted to work for themselves. “You would never build wealth working for somebody else,” De’On believes. “You would only do as well as the guy on top wanted you to.”

Their entrepreneurial attitude was born and nurtured out of necessity, according to the twins’ mother, LaJuanda Jones. When Jones found herself a divorced mother of four small children, she went back to college and later opened a daycare center.

“Entrepreneurship was my way of showing them they don’t have to settle for where they are,” Jones says. “It takes a lot of sacrifice. But I tried to teach them not to let their circumstances dictate what they can or cannot do.”

The importance of encouraging entrepreneurial interests among youth — within families, neighborhoods, and larger communities — strikes at the heart of BLACK ENTERPRISE Declaration of Financial Empowerment Principle No. 7: to provide access to programs that will educate my children about business and finance. There are plenty of resources available for parents that will help their children learn about business and finance including camps, economics programs, clubs, and associations.

You can never start too early learning about the right way to grow your money, says Randal Pinkett, chairman and CEO of BCT Partners and author of the book, Campus