Creation, it is said, starts with an idea, a thought that builds in the mind. The mind contemplates it, turns it over and around, studies it from different angles, and images how it could work under various conditions and circumstances.
The appearance of that idea, turning it from a thought into a tangible reality, is where the mind uses its power – its experiences, its reasoning ability, its access to resources, its outward actions through the physical body it controls – to act on the idea.
Faith (idea) without works (action), after all, is dead.
Putting faith into action is how TheCASHFLOW, and its non-profit foundation 100 Urban Entrepreneurs, came into existence. The idea is to provide start-up funding and coaching to young inner-city entrepreneurs who have great business ideas but little to no support that can help them turn those ideas into reality.
Lucas Riggins, a hard-charging street entrepreneur from Jamaica Queens in New York City, freed himself from the drug-and-thug culture that surrounded him by dreaming up workable business concepts. One was a publishing company that helped inner-city authors get their novels on the streets.
But he was distressed at the number of budding, but frustrated entrepreneurs in his community who were stuck. They had little financial resources and few, if any, business role models to pattern themselves after.
Instead of going to the traditional Black institutions that were supposed to help the community, Riggins reached out to a man he read about in Black Enterprise Magazine. The man was a successful entrepreneur who had started an electronic stock trading company in London with other enterprising associates, then sold it for millions. Riggins took a chance. He sent the man a long email, detailing his idea, and hoped for a response.
The man, Magnus Greaves, was also in a place where he wanted to do more to help other business owners become successful. So when he finally read Riggins’s email, he responded with a phone call and a meeting. The two men clicked instantly. Together, they formalized Riggins’ concept, with the help of other like minds and people with financial resources.
So now Riggins, Greaves and their associates are coming to Birmingham this Saturday to give urban entrepreneurs here a chance at winning $10,000 and mentoring support for their budding business ideas.
Their ultimate goal is to give up to 100 awards, for a total of $1,000,000, by the year’s end. They’ve got about 70 more entrepreneurs to find.
TheCASHFLOW and 100 Urban Entrepreneurs are hosting their 60-Second Business Pitch Competition, where people get on stage and get one minute to explain why their business idea deserves funding. In an American-Idol type atmosphere, Greaves and other judges will decide who among the competitors will get plugged in to their network.
But they also encourage those who don’t win to stay on their hustle, to study why the winners won, and refine their ideas. Those who don’t win can re-submit their revised ideas, even after the competition is over. Some have gotten funded that way, including Meagan and Darrius Peace.
The founders of Hayah Cosmetics received $10,000 by submitting their idea through TheCASHFLOW’s website. But they say that the mentoring and business coaching support from Magnus and his peers through 100 Urban Entrepreneurs is worth more than the money. Their network now includes other entrepreneurs from around the country whose businesses also got funded. They are all learning and growing their “net worth” through the new “network.”
They wanted other urban entrepreneurs in Birmingham to get the same opportunity through TheCASHFLOW. So they invited Riggins and Greaves to bring the pitch competition to this year’s Magic City Black Expo, which the couple founded three years ago.
The expo itself started with an idea. The Peaces needed to get their products in front of potential customers, women of color who had trouble finding makeup that matched their skin tones. They were tired of traveling across the country to other expos. So they decided to launch one in Birmingham.
The expo is filled with scores of Black vendors and merchants, and sponsors who want to reach an urban market. And that market has turned out by the thousands to buy products, see the entertainers and get uplifted by motivational speakers. The event has now grown so large that the Peaces had to move their expo to a bigger space, the BJCC’s North Exhibition Hall.
One idea gives birth to another. The good ideas grow, multiply and produce more good ideas. And they produce more opportunities, greater prosperity, and more positive results.
If you have, or if someone you know has, a business idea to share, then bring it to the Magic City Black Expo and to TheCASHFLOW’s pitch completion this Saturday.
Birmingham could use a lot more good ideas from enterprising minds.