The Next Big Thing

With all of this year’s Sturm und Drang (storm and stress), now is the time to figure out your next big move for your business, career, and life. Shifts in public opinion and practices have changed how we view the world. In less than a month, for example, the economic crisis and its subsequent financial bailout have transformed Wall Street. With such rapid change, the prevailing wisdom is to rethink everything. Look to the unconventional to avoid landmines and seize opportunities.

Rather than identify prospective trends, BLACK ENTERPRISE highlights what we see as the next big ideas shaping some of our core coverage areas. On the following pages, and at, we’ve selected concepts influencing business, money management, health, technology, careers, and lifestyle. We share examples of how some people profit from global markets or transform themselves personally and professionally, and how others embrace risk or apply technology to bolster their lives.

Our goal is simple: to keep you ahead of the curve. By presenting a snapshot of how individuals and enterprises are changing lives and redefining business, we are positioning you to take advantage of the next big thing before it becomes the next big thing.


Bet you’ve heard the proverb “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Here’s a new one: If you train a Sierra Leonean woman how to relax, roller set, and style a head of hair, you may just save her life. For hair stylist Diane Cole Stevens, the Cinderella Foundation, her nonprofit organization designed to empower African American girls throughout the Washington metropolitan region, was the vehicle to do just that. She’d already helped plenty of local teenagers inviting them for a day of beauty intertwined with life-skill training, tutoring, motivational talks, and etiquette tips. Then she got the calling to do more.

“I never had the desire to go to Africa,” says Stevens, who owns the Cole Stevens Salon and Day Spa in Greenbelt, Maryland, which grossed $933,000 last year. However, she was convinced to go to Africa by the woman in charge of missions at her church. In October, Stevens took a team of eight volunteers on a mission to war-torn Sierra Leone to train 100 women in various beauty services so they could use those skills to start businesses. “When I realized that I could help these women realize their dreams, I knew we could change the world.”

More and more people are trekking abroad to lend a helping hand. Says Troy Peden, founder of “While there has been a growth in green-eco volunteer work, social welfare and community development type projects are still the most popular.”

To make the Sierra Leone mission a success, the Cinderella Foundation partners with 500 local salons, which donate everything from eyebrow tweezers to textbooks, and throws fundraising events to help pay for the three-day trip “They can’t wait for us to get back,” Stevens says. “They are so hopeful that there’s