Entrepreneur Gets Lesson in Strategy 101 - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine January-March 2019 Issue

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0807_ENT Skool BoyeEXC

Tenisha Percell, CEO of Skool Boye Agency, helps companies generate brand awareness among youths.

Tenisha Percell has experienced the highs and lows of entrepreneurship. In 2006, by the young age of 25, she started the Skool Boye Agency Inc., which creates brand awareness for companies, universities, and celebrities in the college market. It is a marketing and event planning company that caters to the urban and hip hop youth culture. Now at age 28, she is projecting gross earnings of $131,175 by the end of 2009 and currently manages college tours for Grammy Award winner Chrisette Michele and many others.

Skool Boye grew out of a love for hip-hop and urban music, the opportunity to intern at Def Jam Recordings since the age 14, and then work for the company after college, which gave her the skill set to help keep her business float.

“The experience alone was worth more than money,” says the Bronx-native, who interned eight years and received high school and college credit between 1995 and 2003.

But in January 2007, Percell decided to pursue another dream in the cosmetology industry for which her knowledge was far less. Floating on the success of the Skool Boye Agency, she thought the joy of entrepreneurship alone would carry her. So with $15,000 from her savings, along with a $4,000 microloan from The Greater Newark Business Development Consortium she opened a beauty salon in Newark, New Jersey.

She hired seven stylists, bought all new furniture, mirrors, and chairs and installed new pipes and a hot water heater. Initially, the shop was profitable because it was one of four franchises licensed under the The Burjazz Hair Studio, salons that had a strong customer base in New Jersey’s Essex County. But the success didn’t last long and she realized that if she didn’t close the salon soon, she would be jeopardizing the success of the Skool Boye Agency.

BlackEnterprise.com talked with Percell about how she started her two businesses and what lessons she learned when one of them became too much to handle.

BlackEnterprise.com: How did you come up with the name Skool Boye?

Tenisha Percell: The name Skool Boye is a promise fulfilled. It was the nickname of a close childhood friend. As children we always talked about being CEOs and running our own businesses in the Bronx. We made a promise to each other that whoever had the opportunity to start their business first would name it after the other person. I was the first one to start my business so I named it after him.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.

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