Children Who Mean Business: Developing Next-Gen Entrepreneurs

 Trusted Counsel speaks to Monica Lage, executive director of Break into Business, a non-profit organization in Atlanta, GA dedicated to train entrepreneurs 9-17; and Professor Richard Linowes, management educator at American University in Washington, DC. 

Trusted Counsel speaks to Monica Lage, executive director of Break into Business, a non-profit organization in Atlanta, GA dedicated to train entrepreneurs 9-17; and Professor Richard Linowes, management educator at American University in Washington, DC. 

You know this child. The neighbor’s son or daughter selling lemonade on the corner during a hot summer day. A daughter who charges siblings interest to borrow money or loan them possessions. The budding artist who sells her artwork to friends at school. Meet the next generation of entrepreneurs―who may very well change the world as we know it.  

The rate of startup growth has increased quite meaningfully in the last year. Reports indicate entrepreneurship is alive and well across the United States, with regions of start-up innovation emerging across the country at an increasing rate. There are a growing number of success stories that debunk the myths that you have to live in Silicon Valley or have to be…well…“old” to sow your entrepreneurial oats with success.

Where there was once a lack of resources to educate and promote entrepreneurship among young people several years ago, a strong passionate community has quickly arisen to embrace, mentor and fund our next-gen entrepreneurs.

This week in In Process (Trusted Counsel's bi-weekly podcast show), we speak with Monica Lage, executive director at Break into Business, a non-profit organization dedicated to training entrepreneurs age 9-17; and Professor Richard Linowes, management educator at American University in Washington, D.C.

“The most successful children entrepreneurs have a total determination and focus to drive forward what they believe needs to exist,” said Monica. “That has to come from a deeper source of passion―coupled with that determination to keep pushing since it’s so easy in the early days, especially, to call it quits.”

“The making of a great entrepreneur comes from a clarity about what kind of needs you want to address, and then just building the tools and team necessary to address that need,” said Richard. “It comes down to finding your passion and building a business around it.”

During the course of the podcast “Children Who Mean Business: Developing Next-Gen Entrepreneurs,” parents, investors and business mentors will learn:   

  • The benefits of educating children on real-world business and entrepreneurship
  • How to recognize a child's propensity for entrepreneurship
  • Resources available to promote entrepreneurship, from elementary school to college
  • Characteristics of the successful entrepreneurs

Stream the conversation with Monica and Richard in the player below to learn how to best foster entrepreneurship in young people. You can also subscribe to In Process on iTunes to receive this episode as well as future updates from the show on your smartphone.

Atlanta and Southeast Getting More “At Bats” for VC Investments

 Mark Buffington, CEO at BIP Capital, one of the premier investment firms in the Southeastern United States discusses the firm's inaugural "The State of Startups in the Southeast™” report. 

Mark Buffington, CEO at BIP Capital, one of the premier investment firms in the Southeastern United States discusses the firm's inaugural "The State of Startups in the Southeast™” report. 

The real key to growing more venture opportunities is getting more at bats. A little more than 10 years ago, the majority of the most “solid deals” were generally confined to the West Coast. Think Silicon Valley. However, as that investment marketplace continued to grow more and more competitive with each passing day, venture capitalists started to turn their attention to second-tier innovation cities. But that doesn’t mean they’re second-class citizens. These cities are building world-class companies.

Within the last decade, the Southeast as a whole has seen a maturation within its start-up ecosystem. Investments in seed- and traction-stage companies are flowing, and there appears to be a clear focus on building the necessary infrastructure to support funding to grow global enterprises.

For example, in a city like Atlanta, your batting average as an investor is going to be higher, but maybe the magnitude of your wins is not going to be as large. However, if the region’s growth and investment opportunities continue on the same upward trajectory, the home runs will quickly begin to tally. 

This week in In Process (Trusted Counsel's bi-weekly podcast show), Mark Buffington, CEO at BIP Capital, one of the premier investment firms in the Southeastern United States, discusses the firm’s inaugural “The State of Startups in the Southeast™” report. The research delivers a comprehensive overview of the venture capital and start-up ecosystem in the region by taking an in-depth look at activity throughout nine states in the southeastern United States during the time period Jan. 1, 2012–Aug. 31, 2017.

“If you want to build a world-class innovation ecosystem, the capital base has to be local,” said Mark. “In Atlanta, there is a ground swell around innovation and leveraging technology which is the result of state, academic and business leaders willing to make investments in incubators and capital aggregation programs as well as developing and attracting world-class talent. The groundwork is being laid for Atlanta to be one of the top innovation centers in the country.”

During the course of the podcast “Atlanta and Southeast Getting More ‘At Bats’ for VC Investments,” entrepreneurs and investors will learn about:          

  • Emerging trends impacting venture capital and start-ups in the Southeast
  • Why investments are shifting to later stages  
  • How the venture asset class is democratizing
  • Best practices for entrepreneurs and investors to work together
  • The qualitative and quantitative assets needed to build a sustainable, market leading innovation hub

Stream the conversation with Mark in the player below to learn about entrepreneurial growth and future investment opportunities not only in Atlanta but also throughout the Southeast. You can also subscribe to In Process on iTunes to receive this episode as well as future updates from the show on your smartphone.

Diffuse Stress, Increase Energy and Focus At Work: Mindfulness Meditation

 (This podcast originally aired in May, 2016)

(This podcast originally aired in May, 2016)

Is your new work normal disruptive, and noisy? With the advent of instant messaging platforms, text messages, plus the social media channels that pull us in - it’s no wonder we struggle to stay focused at work. So, if this is your new work normal and you are nodding your head, this is the podcast for you to listen to.

This week on In Process: Conversations about Business in the 21st Century, hosts Evelyn Ashley and John Monahon of Trusted Counsel revisit a previously aired podcast (May, 2016). They were joined by Angela Buttimer and Dennis Buttimer, co-founders of the Atlanta Center for Mindfulness and Well-being to discuss adding a mindfulness practice into your daily routine to help you enhance your energy, focus and creativity. The couple works with companies, school programs and even hospitals and treatment centers to implement mindfulness and wellbeing practices through yoga and meditation. Everyone benefits from mindfulness practice – it’s not just for yogis anymore!

According to Angela and Dennis “mindfulness is coming back into the present moment over and over again in a spirit of non-judgment and acceptance. It's really waking up to the present moment, and not just in meditation, but in everyday life, so it might be mindful eating, mindful walking, driving, listening, working, etc. It's really that realization that the point of power is always in the present moment.”

During the course of the podcast you will learn about:

  • The difference between meditation and mindfulness
  • The different styles of meditation
  • Why leaders meditate?
  • Why mindfulness meditation benefits the workplace and saves businesses money
  • What research tells us about the effects of mindfulness on the brain and body

“The only thing you really need is yourself,” says Angela. “That’s the great thing—you don’t actually have to have any equipment. What we do encourage people to do is to create a habit. To do that, we suggest they find the same place and the same time each morning to practice, and that really sets the tone for the day.”

For more of an overview on mindfulness practice, as well as a short guided meditation from our guests, stream this episode of ‘In Process’ below. To download and hear more Conversations About Business in the 21st Century, subscribe to In Process on iTunes.

Don’t Struggle with Your Bottom Line: More Effectively Reach Better Profit Goals

Profit Chart. jpeg

We are operating in a new disruptive world that’s defined by a high-demand for innovation, dynamic work, rapid-fire decision-making and more. In the new book “DECIDE TO PROFIT: 9 Steps to a Better Bottom Line,” author and consultant Dorriah L. Rogers, Ph.D argues that leaders and employees need “a renewed focus on the very reason businesses operate if they want to thrive ahead of the curve. That is, a simple and clear-cut path to a profitable bottom line that anyone can implement.” She outlines 9 clear steps that will give you and your company the tools and roadmap to more effectively reach better profit goals.  

In this episode of In Process: Conversations about Business in the 21st Century, hosts Evelyn Ashley and John Monahon of Trusted Counsel speak with consultant and author Dorriah L. Rogers, Ph.D about profit. Rogers began her career in engineering and technology. She founded her consultancy firm in 2003. She specializes in identifying and solving issues affecting efficiency, productivity, and profitability. She has worked with Fortune 500 organizations as well as many smaller progressive firms.

We asked Rogers what led her to write the book. She went on to explain that in her experience, she’s come across many cases where poor decisions are made by decision managers that have nothing to do with the ultimate goal of the company – to make a profit. In other words, decisions are made to purchase equipment or implement some processes that are completely unrelated to profit making. “And so a light-bulb went off in my head…why don’t I write an operations manual for this company…and during the process of that it became a book.”  

During the course of the interview, Rogers discusses the nine steps to a better bottom line.

The 9 Steps (according to Dorriah L. Rogers):

 1.      Identify the system that needs improvement
A “system” is defined as any operation, process, method or organization. The identified system produces work inefficiently and, if improved, will positively impact the business goals of the organization. Often times, consultants are brought in and they can help organizations identify that area you need to focus on.

 2.      Put the right team together
Ensure you have the right balance and diversity of ideas by inviting team members with the right mix of experience together with member from outside the traditional or expected network.

 3.      Identify the goal
Identify a specific, measurable, achievable, and timely goal that will ensure that any improvements to the system will result in positive impacts to the business goals of the organization.

 4.      Observe the system
Utilize the correct analysis tools appropriate to your system, include and listen to input from those involved, observe objectively, document and present findings.

5.      Identify bottlenecks within the system
Ensure that the focus of system improvements directly targets those areasthat will impact the business goals of the organization most significantly.

6.      Brainstorm
Utilize the right team to accumulate a list of the best possible solutions for improvement to the system.

7.      Select optimal solution(s) for improvement
Ensure the best recommendations for system change are selected based upon thorough cost-benefit analysis, peer and stakeholder review.

8.      Implement one change at a time
Implement any proposed change independently of any other changes to ensure any measured impacts are the result of this change alone.

9.      Sustain a culture of continuous improvement
Ensure that the inertia of success or failure does not stop a culture of continuous innovation and improvement.

Rogers ended our interview with the following thought. “If you’re fundamentally happy with where your business is, don’t bother to read the book, but if you think there’s something that you could do better, read the book! The nine steps are meant to be easy to understand. This isn’t mean to be a bang-your-head-on-the-table process.”

Do you want to get the full conversation? Stream this episode in the player below. You can also subscribe on iTunes to receive new episodes of In Process Podcast directly on your smartphone.

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Investment's New ROI: Empowering Entrepreneurship for Social Change

 Photo Credit: The Center for Civic Innovation (Atlanta, GA)

Photo Credit: The Center for Civic Innovation (Atlanta, GA)

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well, even in communities that have been hit hard by financial recessions and divestment. Our innate drive to fight and remain entrepreneurial doesn’t ever go away. But, finding access to community resources and early-stage funding is not always equally or readily available for every entrepreneur with a dream of success.  

Take a city like Atlanta, as an example, which by all media accounts is thriving economically and is often touted as the next city for economic growth. Its skyline is graced with a number of Fortune-500 companies. However, Atlanta consistently has one of the highest income inequality gaps in the United States. Upward mobility in Atlanta is 4 percent, meaning there’s a 96-percent chance if you're born poor in Atlanta, you’ll die poor in Atlanta. 

This is a dichotomy that has to change―not only in Atlanta but across the globe.   

This week in In Process (Trusted Counsel's bi-weekly podcast show), Rohit Malhotra, founder and executive director of the Center for Civic Innovation, discusses how the Center is focusing on social entrepreneurship to bring community organizations together to solve civic solutions in order to transform business in Atlanta―and how this approach can serve as a model for other U.S. cities and even worldwide.

“Whether you're suited and booted at a Fortune 500 company on the 50th floor or you're on the ground working a farm each and every day, the joint thing we have in common is a love for our city,” said Rohit. “Atlanta's history is built on businesses and communities, both the public and the private sector, coming together to fight for what's morally right. To drive what business will look like, rather than business driving our morality.”

During the course of the podcast “Investment’s New ROI: Empowering Entrepreneurship for Social Change,” investors as well as community and business leaders will learn:

• The definition of social entrepreneurship

• The Center for Civic Innovation’s mission, goals and future plans

• Challenges and opportunities for social entrepreneurship in Atlanta as well as other metropolitan areas

• How to shift the conversation in terms of distributing capital and investing in true “economic value” that produces social change

• Real-world social entrepreneur success stories 

Stream the conversation with Rohit in the player below to learn how you, your company or any association you belong to can invest in Atlanta and/or contribute to social entrepreneurship in your city. You can also subscribe to In Process on iTunes to receive this episode as well as future updates from the show on your smartphone.