Ron Busby – U.S. Black Chamber president – to keynote 2013 Benny Awards

ron-busby-375Ron Busby, president of the U.S. Black Chamber, Inc., will be the keynote speaker at the 2013 Annual Benny Awards Lucheon sponsored by the Black Business Association of Memphis (BBA).

BENNY is an acronym for Black Entrepreneurship and Networking Need You. The BENNY Awards recognize "superior achievement in business by minority- and women-owned businesses and by supportive corporations."

The luncheon event will be held on June 21st at the Memphis Marriott, 2625 Thousand Oaks Blvd., from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.


Poverty in America: Millions of families too broke for bank accounts

unbanked-600Sabino Fuentes-Sanchez hid $25,000 all around his house because he didn't trust banks.

Lasonia Christon receives her Walmart salary on a pre-paid debit card.

Kim James was homeless for most of the past decade in part because she had no place to save money.


Ekundayo Bandele & the Business of the Arts – Part 1

22bandele E-400As the owner of the Hattiloo Theatre, Ekundayo Bandele is bringing the arts to a community that just may need a reminder of its great history. The productions coming from his stage rival those in other metropolitan cities, including Chicago and New York and maybe even London, England.

Carlee McCullough: What brought you to Memphis?

Ekundayo Bandele: I first moved to Memphis in 1994 with my youngest daughter, Hattie, and then in 1995 Lou was born. I moved here to care for my father who was then ill. My father died in 1996. I left Memphis and returned to New York. I traveled through Europe. I was in Spain, France and England before I returned to New York as an art broker. I moved to Memphis in 2004 permanently to be closer to my girls.


Do ‘moving goalposts’ threaten African-American businesses?

minoritybiz-600One of the city's least known – but arguably most important – committees held its most recent meeting on April 10th.

Mandated by city ordinance, the Minority Business Development Oversight Committee is charged with assuring that the city's minority- and women-owned businesses (MWBEs) get a fair chance at gaining contracts from both the public and private sectors.

The meeting's agenda called for evaluating a report (from the city's financial management office) that outlined local and MWBE firms' inclusion in managing the city's pension fund. Also on tap was a review of the Memphis Police Department's business plan as an example of forward-thinking MWBE inclusion. A third item related to refining the committee's mission and vision statements.


Business expo features young – but ready – entrepreneurs

expo-1-600Kustom Kosher, Treasured Collections, Thirtyone22 Boutique, Corn Cases and Elusive Expressions! are businesses that share a common trait. Each has an owner in the 16-to-25 age range.

Gregory Taylor, owner of iStylez, brought the young entrepreneurs – and several more like them – together for an Outdoor Business Expo at Audubon Park last Friday (April 12).

A 20-year-old student at the University of Memphis, Taylor too shares the young-entrepreneur trait. His company specializes in Apple product repairs, including iPhones, iPads and iPods. He describes the idea of creating iStylez as "a gift from God that I came across at 3 a.m. while watching videos on YouTube."


Lonnie Robinson – the intersection of art and business

Lonnie R 2012-400ON OUR WAY TO WEALTHY: Lonnie Robinson designs graphics for business cards, logos, stationary and posters. Although I initially viewed him as a graphic designer, I quickly learned that the graphics were only a byproduct of his full artistry.

Carlee McCullough: Tell us little bit about you.

Lonnie Robinson: I'm an artist. I say that first foremost because I have been creating art for most of my life. I've worked professionally over the years as an art director, graphic designer and an illustrator. But I've always made time to create art that stems solely from my internal thoughts and inspirations.


Advocates push to preserve foreclosure program

foreclosure sign-400A broad coalition of state and national organizations is pushing to preserve a key federal program that has helped more than 1.1 million troubled homeowners and reduced mortgage payments by a median savings of $546 each month.

The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), created in response to the nation's housing crisis, is set to close shop on December 31. Housing and consumer advocates are urging the U.S. Treasury Department to reconsider ending the program.


The business of the arts

WHconcert-500ON OUR WAY TO WEALTHY This month, "On Our Way To Wealthy" probes the business of the arts.

Cities across the country are seeking to strike a balance between the budgets required for public safety – such as fire and police – and those allotted to the arts. The need for solid, well-financed fire and police departments is generally recognized. However, the need for a strong arts community often requires more justification.

Cultural centers clearly offer value to all communities regardless of the levels of crime and poverty. Neither the size of your bank account nor your educational background is the sole factor when measuring appreciation of the arts.


Top 10 credit tips

beard-160April has been declared Financial Literacy Month in Memphis and the rest of the nation. This special, month-long observance should cause us to reflect more intently on financial literacy, which has received significant attention as a result of the Great Recession.

The loss of personal wealth by many households brought to the forefront the fact that too many adults, including those who are about to leave for college or enter the workforce, lack basic knowledge of financial topics.

This issue is of particular concern here because the Greater Memphis area in February was rated as having the lowest overall consumer credit score in the United States by Trans Union Credit Report Company. In addition, the City of Memphis has one of the largest amounts of unbanked and underbanked residents in the country.


Estate planning tools you need to know about



Charles Sims Jr., CFP

Special to The New Tri-State Defender

What key estate planning tools should you know about?

Here’s a list to get you started.

Wills and trusts are two of the most popular estate planning tools. Both allow you to spell out how you would like your property to be distributed, but they also go far beyond that.

Just about everyone needs a will. Besides enabling you to determine the distribution of your property, a will gives you the opportunity to nominate your executor and guardians for your minor children.


Tax time – A reminder of the basics

CarleeMcCullough-160We are quickly coming upon the deadline that many Americans not receiving a refund truly despise – April 15, the last day to file individual tax returns.

With Benjamin Franklin's admonition in mind – "...nothing is certain but death and taxes" – and serving as point of reference, here are some basics to help out those who have not yet done their tax duty.


Wages stink at America's most common jobs

wages-300America's most common jobs come with lousy pay.

Workers in seven of the 10 largest occupations typically earn less than $30,000 a year, according to new data published Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's a far cry from the nation's average annual pay of $45,790.

Food prep workers are the third most-common job in the U.S., but have the lowest pay, at a mere $18,720 a year for 2012. Cashiers and waiters are also popular professions, but the average pay at these jobs tallies up to less than $21,000 annually. There are 4.3 million retail sales workers out there, making them the most common job, but the position pays only $25,310 for the year.


Property ownership: What’s the best form for me?

CharlesSimsJr-160In planning your estate, it is customary to consider wills and trusts (as well as intestacy) as a means of property distribution. As a matter of fact, the manner in which you hold title to your assets may supersede provisions contained in other transfer documents. Likewise, significant tax benefits can be gained (or lost) depending on the characterization of your property.

Let's take a look at the general classifications of ownership.