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Business

Entrepreneurship: An upside to a downsize

CarleeMcCullough-160Layoffs, downsizing and restructuring have been felt by many nationwide. While the experience is rarely pleasant, the result can be life changing in a positive way if a successful, thriving business is the end product.

Across the country, entrepreneurs have taken lemons and made lemonade. From bed and breakfasts to cider companies, these former employees decided to become the employers in creative businesses that set them apart from others.

Our Town America

After working in corporate America for over 30 years, at 60 years old Su Hartung was laid off after a company buyout. Putting her experience in sales and marketing to great use, she purchased an Our Town America franchise in DeKalb, Ill. The franchise provides other businesses an avenue to market to new folks in the neighborhood.

State’s only MBDA Business Center celebrates first anniversary

The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center kicks off the celebration of its first anniversary at 10 a.m. on Friday (July 19) and its operator – the Memphis Minority Business Council (MMBC) Continuum is signaling success.

The MBDA, a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce, helps create and maintain U.S. jobs. It does so by "promoting the growth and global competitiveness of minority businesses through access to capital, new markets, contracts and strategic business consulting." The Memphis Business center, located at 158 Madison Ave., Suite 101, was the first in the state.

The MMBC Continuum reports that over the past year (April 2012 to March 31, 2013) the MBDA center had 61 clients that produced $27.7 million dollars in contracts and created and retained 251 jobs.

Entrepreneurship: When it becomes time to say ‘S.O. What!’

Summer Owens-400tON OUR WAY TO WEALTHY: After six years as a FedEx marketing specialist advisor, Summer Owens is guiding her own creation – the S.O. What! Foundation – as she pursues life after layoffs, downsizing and retirement. The foundation's goal is to help people achieve success regardless of their circumstances.

Carlee McCullough: Tell us about the non-profit you established.

Summer Owens: The S.O. What! Foundation ... provides support, information and resources to various groups who are determined to overcome their obstacles. The S.O. What! Foundation will hold comprehensive and interactive conferences, retreats and workshops for different groups, including teen moms, single moms, boys without fathers, college students teen girls and more. On July 26-27, we will hold the first S.O. What! overnight retreat. This one will be for teen moms. We will focus on the issues they need to deal with to become better young women so that they can be better mothers. The S.O. What! Foundation will also offer scholarships and mentoring programs.

Cybercrime update: Tips to protect your money, privacy and identity

CharlesSimsJr-160MONEY MATTERS: Federal prosecutors recently indicted members of an alleged gang of cyber thieves for stealing $45 million from banks in coordinated global attacks, each of which lasted only several hours. Sophisticated hacking techniques were used to remove spending limits on prepaid debit-card accounts at two banks in the Middle East. Organized crime cells then programmed corresponding debit cards to withdraw money from bank ATMs around the world, including $2.8 million from nearly 3,000 ATMs in New York City in two separate attacks that took place in December 2012 and February 2013.

The heist is believed to be the second-largest global bank robbery on record. In New York City, the bank theft was second only to the 1978 Lufthansa robbery depicted in the movie "Goodfellas."

News of such brazen and costly attacks demonstrates how difficult it can be for individuals, businesses and governments to detect the latest cyber threats and protect their interests. Unfortunately, millions of American consumers could become victims of cybercrimes such as debit- or credit-card fraud and identity theft each year.

Entrepreneurship: Summer Owens makes her case

Summer Owens-400tON OUR WAY TO WEALTHY: Summer Owens, a former FedEx marketing specialist advisor, is living proof that there is entrepreneurial life after layoffs, downsizing and retirement.

Carlee McCullough: Tell us a little about yourself.

Summer Owens: I am originally from Jackson, Tenn., but have lived in Memphis since 1997. I moved here to attend the University of Memphis, where I graduated with a BBA in Marketing in 2001 and was also named Miss University of Memphis. Last year I was named the Fogelman College of Business and Economics Young Alumna of the Year. I also earned an MBA from Belhaven College. I am the 34-year-old mother of an 18-year-old son and the author of "Life After Birth: A Memoir of Survival and Success as a Teenage Mother." I am also the founder and president of S.O. What! LLC and founder and executive director of The S.O. What! Foundation.

Expanding a student’s college options

CharlesSimsJr-160Would you be disappointed if your child or grandchild was not able to attend his or her "dream" college solely for financial reasons? If you aspire to help a student cover rising higher-education costs, it may be wise to start saving as early as possible.

Parents and other family members can contribute to state- and college-sponsored 529 plans that feature tax-deferred accumulation. Withdrawals are tax-free if used to pay qualified higher-education expenses. There are no income restrictions for participation, although each state sets a maximum annual contribution limit.

Life after layoffs, down-sizing and retirement

CarleeMcCullough-160ON OUR WAY TO WEALTHY Across the country, whether in the private sector or government, companies are laying people off, downsizing and/or forcing early retirement. In some circumstances it can be devastating to a household.

Immediately after the initial shock of learning your fate, it is easy to become paralyzed by fear. Next comes the scrambling around for a new job to replace the income that will soon be lost.

Some may wait to look for another job until savings or severance packages have been depleted. Still others will pursue unemployment pay as an alternative. However, this is usually only a portion of the lost wages and will not fill the gap.

MULYP Empowerment Conference upcoming

4MULYP-300The Memphis Urban League Young Professionals (MULYP) is offering young professionals in Memphis and the Mid-South an opportunity to build their legacy during the Empowerment Conference August 16-18, at the East Memphis Hilton Hotel.

This inaugural conference will offer insights and panel discussions from locally and nationally known business leaders and entrepreneurs, as well as job opportunities and social engagement.

The conference will begin with an event to commemorate MULYP's 10-year anniversary, paying homage to founders and trailblazers. The "Hiring Lounge" will offer real-time opportunities for job seekers to meet business owners, decision makers, and hiring managers. Mixology is the social event of the conference.