Entrepreneurship

Fridays with Dr. Glass: Getting to Know Cheesecake For The Cure, Inc.

Cancer Awareness

Photo Courtesy of Santresa L. Glass

What led you to found Cheesecake For The Cure, Inc.?

Cancer is an atrocious beast that has impacted my family and friends, and I am a resilient and boisterous fighter who wants to bring awareness through baking cheesecakes as a medium to communicate awareness, so in March 2014 I founded Cheesecake For The Cure, Inc.

I knew I wanted my first venture in philanthropic work to be based in food. There is something about a connection that exist between a cook . . . a chef and his or her cuisine, between an artist and his or her canvas, between a baker and his or her confections, between a musician and his or her instrument. I wanted to embody the word meraki, a Greek verb often used to depict what happens when an individual leaves a piece of who he or she is (his or her love, creativity, soul) in his or her work; simply, the adoration of doing something from the core of who you are and embedding that into your passion. When you love doing something, anything, so much that you put something of yourself into it—that’s the essence of what meraki means.

Without funding for research, it’s difficult to seek any form of advancement in treatment for each cancer awareness. Why not explore “Pampering your Sweet Tooth” for “Year Round Cancer Awareness” through baking or purchasing some darn good cheesecake!? I want there to be more awareness, education, information out there about ALL of the cancers battled during the awareness month.

I noticed that Breast Cancer (pink ribbon), for instance, is recognized vehemently during its awareness month of October by local communities, professional sports, and celebrities, but not every cancer has a celebrity face to it. October is also Liver Cancer Awareness Month (emerald ribbon), and most individuals aren’t aware of this nor do they acknowledge it during the month of October. One of the main reasons, therefore, that I started Cheesecake For The Cure, Inc. is to bring “Year Round Cancer Awareness” to each cancer during the awareness month.

What does Cheesecake For The Cure, Inc. do?

The mission of Cheesecake For The Cure, Inc. is to generate an interactive and educational platform about the various cancer awareness causes that take place throughout the year. This is accomplished through the baking and selling of individual portioned cheesecakes during the respective host month where significant contributions by Baking Ambassadors through donations to cancer research and cancer research facilities can be made.

January, for example, is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month with the cancer ribbon colors of teal and white. The color of the ribbon is taken into consideration for flavor profiles and decor of the mini cheesecakes. Part of the proceeds from the sales of CFTH, Inc. and the organization of the Baking Ambassador will go to the local charities, research, events, etc. specific to the cancer awareness month. Most people don’t know that every month of the year, except August and December, has a national cancer awareness and ribbon color(s).

What distinguishes Cheesecake For The Cure, Inc. from other non-profit organizations?

All cancers, no matter how rare or lesser known, have an immeasurable impact on the individuals who battle them daily as well as their families. The research, however, for most of the cancers are underfunded.  YEAR ROUND CANCER AWARENESS, funding, research, education and empowerment are needed to provide ALL individuals battling cancer a FIGHTING chance for a cure.

Cheesecake For The Cure, Inc. is different because in the spirit of love, compassion, darn good cheesecake, and hope we will foster empowerment, gratitude, the healing power of laughter, revenue, and community to lead efforts across the globe in promoting “Year Round Cancer Awareness.”

Where do you see Cheesecake For The Cure, Inc. in the next five years?

In the next five years, my desire is to see Cheesecake For The Cure, Inc. trending on Twitter and Facebook, flourishing on a national and global scale with Baking Ambassadors from various states and countries, established grassroot events for each respective cancer awareness (races, walks, bake sales, etc.), funding grants and new treatments for various cancers, and scholarships for cancer patients and survivors in pursuit of higher education.

How are you able to balance running a successful for-profit small business and a successful non-profit corporation?

Again, as I stated in our last interview, “No success is ever an individualistic act.” Yes, on most days, I find myself having late nights and early mornings processing thoughts and organizing all I want as an empire builder, but the power of laughter and just letting go of the reigns helps tremendously. I ask for help from those I trust, seek advice from mentors, ask as many questions as possible from other cancer non-profits based in the food industry receptive to answering, TIME MANAGEMENT, I say “no” without qualms to some extended opportunities, hard work in keeping up with both organizational cultures, volunteers, interns, and libations.

What do you need from others to reach optimal success with Cheesecake For The Cure, Inc.?

One of the main things I need from other individuals is to capitalize on the power of social media and good old-fashioned running your mouth to others: follow Cheesecake For The Cure, Inc. and use hashtags on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, share Cheesecake For The Cure, Inc. posts on their personal and business Facebook pages, tweet/retweet about the cancer awareness for each month, and purchase the cheesecake flavor(s) featured from us and our Baking Ambassadors in each respective month. Oh! If someone could let Ellen DeGeneres, Oprah Winfrey, and Jimmy Fallon know about Cheesecake For The Cure, I’d be forever indebted.

Stay Connected with the Power of the Hashtag . . .

#CheesecakeForTheCure® – #CheesecakeForAwareness® – #TheKitchenIsOURHaven® – #Sweetspreneur® – #YearRoundCancerAwareness® – #FudgeCancer

Site: Cheesecake For The Cure, Inc.

Instagram: cheesecakeforthecure

Facebook: Cheesecake For The Cure, Inc.

Twitter: cheesecake4cure

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Fridays with Dr. Glass: Overcoming Obstacles as an Entrepreneur

Santresa L. Glass

(Photo Courtesy of Santresa L. Glass)

What are some obstacles you have faced as an entrepreneur?

Money. Working in the food industry, specifically specializing in cheesecakes, and having a non-profit based on food, is not inexpensive. It takes money. One of the things I started doing was to attend wedding/bridal shows, inquiring with local events planners about being added to their preferred vendors’ list, going to small businesses (including gas stations) with samples of my baked confections to discuss potential wholesale contracts.

Support from the people I know. Believe it or not, some of those closest to me in kinship and former friendships were not the biggest supporters, and it hurt tremendously having the support of complete strangers as opposed to those I’ve know forever.

Revamping my business. Deciding to revamp my business structure in 2008 was extremely scary, but it is one of the best things I could have done for my brand. Magnolia’s Sweet Haven, LLC will turn 11 years old next month (February), and it has become a go-to premier      delivery-only bakery that specializes in cheesecakes, chocolate-covered strawberries, boozy berries, wine-infused and traditional flavored cupcakes, dessert tables as well as candy buffets. All of the aforementioned would not have been possible if I had not discontinued offering everything under the sun available for baked goods. I found my niche and I’ve benefited greatly from it.

Time. Time management is important to entrepreneurs because we often wear many hats (owner, human resources, public relations, and accountant). It is alright to schedule most things and create a healthy balance socially and professionally.

How did you overcome the barriers you have faced as an entrepreneur?

Different things work for different people, but without a doubt prayer and faith serve as the foundation of resolving any of the barriers I have overcome. Another way in which I have bulldozed barriers is learning how to take breaks . . . just to breathe. Sometimes, as entrepreneurs, we are so driven with a dogged determination we forget to just, well . . . be. I say this because I am extremely tough on myself; more than the normal “I’m my toughest critic” cliché.

What advice can you offer to current and future entrepreneurs about confronting challenges as an entrepreneur?

One of the first things I would like to say is NO success is EVER an individualistic act. No matter how “Type A” my dominant personality is and how creatively affluent I’ve become, I cannot and will not continue building an entrepreneurial empire by myself. In the areas where I can improve my strengths, I seek the advice of experts and professionals in said industries. In the areas where I excel, I have learned to delegate some of the responsibility to interns who are willing to learn and be students of their passions.

Another piece of advice I would give to entrepreneurs is learning to discern between genuine support and convenient support. All of us should have that small Cheerio circle of personal and professional people we can call on to seek advice or just rant. DO NOT TRY TO DO IT ALL! You will fail. We all need help and must be receptive to not only asking for it, but also progress through all of the nos—they will come.

Finally, work your asparagus off! Create opportunities for yourself, be a student of your passion, and fall in constant love every day with exactly what you love to do.

Many entrepreneurs’ dreams and aspirations are often doubted by numerous people. What advice can you offer to current and future entrepreneurs about dealing with naysayers?

*laughing boisterously* Would you like a response from Dr. Glass or San? Listen carefully, an entrepreneur cannot allow unsupportive individuals, whether it be family, friends, or associates, to deter him or her from doing EPIC things. It all starts with you, the individual. Tenacity, a tough skin, reception to constructive criticism, and hard work should stem from the motivation of what naysayers have to say about another’s dreams and aspirations.

Stay Connected to Dr. Glass . . .

Facebook: Magnolia’s Sweet Haven

Instagram: @magnoliassweethaven

Twitter: @magsweethaven

Facebook: Cheesecake For The Cure, Inc.

Instagram: @cheesecakeforthecure

Twitter: @cheesecake4cure

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Fridays with Dr. Glass: Entrepreneurs Should Capitalize on the Power of Blogging

Santresa L. Glass

Courtesy of Santresa L. Glass

Today, I had the distinct honor of interviewing Dr. Santresa Glass, a social media and small business expert, about why it’s important for entrepreneurs to engage in blogging. Each Friday, Dr. Glass has agreed to lend her expertise here at Revolutionary Paideia on sundry issues pertaining to social media and small business. If you have questions and/or comments for Dr. Glass, leave a comment on the site and she will respond.

Provide a brief summary of your academic training and professional experience.

My academic experience started long before graduating from high school and college. I stem from entrepreneurs, both street and academically adept. My passion for food, cooking, baking, giving back, educating, empowering other people, events and meeting planning, entrepreneurship, public relations, and writing will always rest at the core of who I am as an individual. No, I didn’t need ANY formal education to glean some of the things I’ve learned. However, the information obtained and applied from my collegiate experiences is proving invaluable to me. Earning my bachelor of arts in English from one of the best historically black universities, Albany State University, served as the foundation of my academic matriculation. I then proceeded to earn my master’s degree from Troy University in Business Management, and most recently, my educational doctorate from Argosy University in Organizational Leadership.  The combination of my layered passion and academic accomplishments have served as fuel to live my life fearlessly, love unabashedly, and laugh boisterously.

How can entrepreneurs benefit professionally from blogging?

One of the greatest ways in which entrepreneurs, the risk-takers, the doers, can benefit from blogging is to establish themselves as experts or burgeoning professionals in their field. Over time, as you continue to share your expertise, your consistent insight will make clear to industry peers and readers that you are truly an expert in your respective industry.

In your own experience as a successful small business owner and non-profit corporation executive, have you benefitted professionally from blogging?

I have benefited from blogging and most recently learned the lesson of backing up ALL files to prevent losing your hard work and priceless photographs. Blogging has helped me make connections nationally and internationally, both personal and professional.

Are there additional ways in which you’ve benefitted professionally from blogging?

One of the most invaluable ways in which I have benefitted professionally from blogging is the connections that I’ve made with industry peers and readers.  The interaction and engagement with people that you’ve never met, people you only know virtually, becomes invaluable.  Blogging and other social media platforms have opened flood gates for individuals, like myself, with layered passions to pursue them resiliently. I have also become a better writer.

What should entrepreneurs blog about? Are there things they shouldn’t blog about? 

Entrepreneurs should blog about those things, people, places, etc. that are relevant to their respective industry, interest, passion, and purpose.

Name some quality locations online entrepreneurs can begin a blog.

I would suggest that entrepreneurs start with hosting sites that are user-friendly such as Blogger or WordPress.

How can blogging be used as an effective marketing medium for entrepreneurs?

When done consistently, blogging is an incredibly effective marketing medium for entrepreneurs. The use of blogging combined with active use of social media cultivates turning passion into profit.

Stay Connected with Dr. Glass . . .

Facebook: Magnolia’s Sweet Haven

Instagram: @magnoliassweethaven

Twitter: @magsweethaven

Facebook: Cheesecake For The Cure, Inc.

Instagram: @cheesecakeforthecure

Twitter: @cheesecake4cure

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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What Makes an Entrepreneur?

Entrepreneur

How do you know if you’re fit to become an entrepreneur? Do you see sparks of creativity, dedication, determination, flexibility and leadership in yourself? More importantly, do others see those things inside of you? Those are some of the common qualities seen in the best entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurial Insights

Successful business people who started as entrepreneurs arrive at their aha moment at various moments in their career. Some are young, others are older, and they differ in income levels, gender, race and many more facets. Entrepreneurs may have different levels of education and business experience. Having self-confidence, determination, leadership and passion can make all the difference in a startup.

Maybe you’ve been working in business for a while and are feeling ready to branch out on your own. You’ve got a few teammates to join you, the work space is available and the team already has a few clients eager to see work. What’s next?

Get Mobile

You might consider equipping your team with synched mobile devices for contact, coordination and collaboration. An increasing number of great things are being written about the new cell phones from BlackBerry. The company’s Q10 and Z10 models offer NFC purchasing compatibility, thanks to an agreement with Visa earlier in the year. Plus, the two models offer tailored keypad options for users. The Q10 offers the traditional exterior keypad for heavy typers and texters, while the Z10 model’s keypad is built into the software.

Recognizing Inner Talent

Some of the world’s most effective entrepreneurs may not have recognized the traits that would hold them in good stead later. At the early stage of a new business, entrepreneurs need to wear many hats, including chief organizer, top producer, best salesperson and most excellent marketer.

Experts have studied what separates entrepreneurs from common working professionals.  The following is a glimpse of their findings.

  • Self-confidence: This characteristic of business and life isn’t just something that comes naturally. It’s a by-product of thorough planning, which experts say reduces risk and uncertainty for decision-making. Having great knowledge or zeal for a topic also helps to increase self-confidence for entrepreneurs.
  • Passion: This quality called passion is what spurs everyone forward toward a common goal. Can a team grab hold of an entrepreneur’s excitement and find the ability to follow its path and vision? Great passion helps a team get focused and stay there.
  • Great instincts: Entrepreneurial leaders all seem to possess great instincts. Using common sense, matching it with knowledge and passion, and experience gained along the way via school, friendships and work stints can all help build great instincts.
  • Leadership: Hundreds of books have been written about leadership over the years. Resolving an exact definition of leadership for entrepreneurs isn’t easy. Forbes tries to offer a strong definition, but this definition may not satisfy all entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs have an uncanny ability to make rules, stick to them, and follow through to reach goals. That’s leadership.
  • Determination: Achieving success comes naturally to many entrepreneurs. What gives them the drive to succeed is determination. Combining persistence, vision, money and determination ultimately leads to success.

Every entrepreneur has one or more of these qualities; he or she uses them in different degrees to achieve diverse goals.  In America, we must do what it takes to keep the entrepreneurial spirit alive.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Startup Act 3.0 Legislation Would Pave the Way for Foreign Entrepreneurs

Startup Act 3.0

(Photo Credit: Mark Warner)

A bill introduced to the U.S. Senate aims to create thousands of new visa programs designed to attract top-tier innovators, according to its proponents.  Senator Jerry Moran introduced the Startup Act 3.0 legislation in February, and experts have been combing through the details and implications ever since.

For top-tier innovators, the legislation represents an easier path to a struggling but powerful economy. The U.S. still dominates the information and technology markets, so online entrepreneurs in particular are keeping tabs on this bill.

The Details

Two previous renditions of the legislation failed to make it through Congress, but Startup Act 3.0 has momentum and support from both Democrats and Republicans. Startup Act 3.0 would permit 75,000 immigrant entrepreneurs to come to the U.S. for three years.  A fixed number of current immigrants would also qualify.  To qualify for these visas, foreign-born entrepreneurs would have to raise $100,000 for new businesses and hire at least two employees within a year. If these qualifications are met, the visa would be extended to three years.  Part of the bill also modifies the tax code to encourage small business investments.  Senator Moran and the bill’s other sponsors believe entrepreneurship is the key to the economy’s vitality.

The Startup Act 3.0 news release states, “Research shows that, for close to three decades, companies less than five years old have created almost all net new jobs in American — averaging about three million jobs each year.”

The Kauffman Foundation Report

The Kauffman Foundation analyzed the potential employment impact, and the numbers are encouraging.  The bill could generate up to 1.6 million jobs over the next 10 years, according to the Kauffman Foundation report.  Foreign-born entrepreneurs founded one-quarter of technology and engineering companies between 2006 and 2012.  The report lists a baseline of almost 500,000 jobs with the potential for more than 1.5 million.

Current Reception

The National Metropolitan Business Alliance (NMBA) expressed its support for Startup Act 3.0. In a letter to Senator Moran, the NMBA declared that the act would boost America’s innovation and facilitate growth.  Forbes published a more personal tale of support for the bill written by Nancy T. Nguyen, an entrepreneur born in the Philippines.  She describes how foreign entrepreneurs are woven into American history.  Without policies that enabled her parents to immigrate, Nguyen wouldn’t have started her own business and become Ms. Corporate America 2011.

Much of the support for this bill is based on a broader support for small business in general. From Mark Zuckerberg to Phil Knight to Bob Parsons, the CEO and founder of GoDaddy.com, some of America’s most successful tycoons, like Businessman Parsons and Zuckerberg, started in small offices with few employees.  All data indicates small business is good for the economy, and a strong economy is good for everyone.

What’s Next?

As the sponsors of the legislation continue to raise support, the bill is currently in the hands of a congressional committee.  Despite considerable support, a reliable source doesn’t like 3.0’s chance of survival any better than its predecessors.  Govtrack.us suggests that the bill has an 8% chance of getting past committee and just a 3% chance of being enacted.  That may sound small, but it’s actually average.  Just 3% of bills were enacted from 2011-2013, Govtrack.us reports.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison