the future, which companies consider vital information in tailoring their outreach and products.
Now in its 11th year, Buzz Marketing Group’s revenues for 2006 were $3.5 million, and in 2007, they were just shy of $4 million. Its clients include: Procter & Gamble, Sony BMG, Sesame Workshop, and Time Inc., as well as companies in countries as far away as Brazil and Israel.
Wells’ journey into entrepreneurship began at 16. She wrote product reviews for a newspaper, eventually starting a business to help clue companies in on what teens want. Some clients didn’t take the buying power of teenagers seriously, but Wells solidified her credibility with thought-provoking and insightful research studies on topics such as Internet downloading, sex, religion, and politics. “You don’t always tell people what they want to hear,” she says. “But I think it’s important to be known for telling them the truth.” By 2002, Wells was a graduate of Hood College, with a bachelor’s degree in communication arts. She was unsure of the road ahead for Buzz Marketing, which was in its sixth year and generating steady revenue.
Wells contributes a love for writing to her current successes. And she’ll bring her passion full circle when Harper Collins publishes her book series, The Adventures of Mackenzie Blue. Scheduled to launch in 2009, the multicultural books will
target tween girls in an effort to positively tackle the issues young people face. In recalling her own adolescent angst, Wells is amazed at her tenacity. “I look back and I always say, ‘The hits I took as a kid, if I had to take those same hits
today, I wouldn’t make it.’ When you’re young, you’re unafraid and unstoppable.”
–Tennille M. Robinson
Andrew Ryan, 29 CEO/Founder ARC Solutions (Washington, DC)
“There’s always risk. I have this goal, whatever it is, there’s no path to that goal without risk,” says Andrew Ryan, the 29-year-old CEO and founder of Washington, D.C.-based ARC Solutions Inc. (www.arcsolutionsinc.com).
It was that tenacity and fortitude that led to Ryan launching the management software company at the age of 23. ARC Solutions’ Polaris On Demand Association Management Software allows membership associations to efficiently manage the business end of their organizations, including tracking membership fees and donations, fundraising, and accounting. The software is designed to increase efficiency, cut costs, and eliminate paper. Among the clients are the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Women Engineers, Black Data Processing Associations, and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.
The 25-employee company came into being after Ryan, an MIT graduate with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and electrical engineering, began consulting for NSBE. “That was the epicenter of the dot-com boom. And all the irrational _exuberance and the things you hear people talk about reminiscent of the time–ridiculous bonuses and insane corporate valuations–was happening at MIT,” Ryan recalls. “We had _venture capitalists posting fliers soliciting business plans. When you hear about 19-year-old kids starting companies and exiting out at 20 and making millions of dollars, it changes your view of what’s possible.”
While doing his consulting work, Michele