TSD Memphis



15 year old’s IT company worth $3.5 million

teenbledsoe-500How many people can say they earned their first million before being old enough to drive? Jaylen Bledsoe, 15, of Gazelwood, Mo., is among the lucky few.

The high school sophomore founded his own tech company, which specializes in web design and other IT services, Bledsoe Technologies, at the ripe age of 13 years old. In just over two years the tech titan managed to expand his small business – run by two people – into a global venture worth $3.5 million, employing 150 contracted workers.

Bledsoe credits a web design class, offered as apart of his school's gifted education program, as the foundation for his business idea. When he's not busy running a global technology company, you can find Bledsoe partaking in more typical high school roles such as being president of the Student Council and the Parent Teacher Student Association.


PomWave gets a ‘MeMpHiTz’ face

10pomwaveCL74325-400(PRNewswire) – Ampro Industries, Inc. – manufacturer of Ampro Pro Styl®, the No. 1 Gel in the U.S. – is making Mickey 'MeMpHiTz' Wright Jr. the face of PomWave, the newest addition to the Shine 'n Jam® product line.

Ampro Industries, Inc. is a Memphis-based manufacturer of multi-cultural hair care and beauty products. PomWave is a styling pomade for men that Ampro pitches as uniquely "free of wax, petroleum, grease and silicones ... alcohol, parabens, sulfates and dyes...."

"To say I'm elated at the opportunity to team up with Ampro once again would be an understatement. This new, greaseless wave pomade is an amazing product that I am using daily now to maintain and optimize the appearance of my natural wave pattern," said MeMpHiTz.


Rainbow PUSH Seeks Economic Parity in Automotive Industry


The Rainbow PUSH Automotive Project, an initiative of the Citizenship Education Fund, will convene its 14th Annual Rainbow PUSH Global Automotive Summit, October 2-3, at the MGM Grand Detroit Meeting & Events Center in Detroit. This year’s theme, “Economic Parity: Driving The Plan For Success,” addresses the release of the Rainbow PUSH Diversity Automotive Scorecard.

The Rainbow PUSH/CEF Global Automotive Summit provides viable solutions in an industry that is still recovering from significant economic downturns. The Summit’s ultimate goal is to bring inclusive
strategies to the forefront of the global business landscape as an endeavor to identify, sustain and grow ethnic suppliers, dealers, media outlets, advertising agencies and firms that provide professional services.

Summit conversations will include community and industry leaders discussing The Assault on Diversity at the Leadership Town Hall Breakfast. As the automotive industry bounces back and reaches
unprecedented growth rates and profitability, African American automotive suppliers and dealers have

dwindled to an alarming rate. Automotive leaders will also Speak on Diversity: The Business Case during the Business & Education Awards Luncheon. The Summit will conclude by recognizing living legends and emerging leaders in the automotive industry.

“We will continue to celebrate diversity within the automotive industry by recognizing companies whose business model embodies inclusion. However, we will also highlight those companies that resist diversity,” said Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., president and founder of Rainbow PUSH Coalition.

“Minority consumers support automotive companies with more than 22 percent of new vehicle purchases, yet some companies’ diversity plans continue to lag woefully. This is unacceptable.”

In January the Rainbow PUSH Automotive Project released an Automotive Diversity Scorecard to provide a snapshot of each manufacturer’s success of building and sustaining diversity and inclusion. The Automotive Diversity Scorecard is the basis for the establishment of unbiased diversity standards that will be presented at this year’s Summit.

The Summit sponsors include (but are not limited to) Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Toyota Motor Sales USA, Chrysler Group, Honda, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Subaru and Volkswagen.

For more information about registration for the 14th Annual Rainbow PUSH/CEF Global Automotive Summit visit www.rainbowpush.org.

A true story about true value

Harry-Alford-160Let me tell you a true story about one of my friends.

His city was going to allow one permit to build a medical waste facility (an environmental friendly incinerator to destroy the wastes). He recognized the value in this, as he owned enough land to build such a facility and had the political connections to make it happen.

My friend got the permit, built the facility and hired people who could operate it. The business started off with a "roar". He told me that his ultimate plan was to sell this "plum" to a Fortune 500 company and cash out in a lovely way.

Before long, several of the waste management giants were making overtures to him. He had a problem though. He never had a handle on the true worth of his company.

Possessing the only permit in his metropolitan area made the company worth many of millions of dollars by itself. He never priced it. He decided on a buyer but there was a catch. The suitor didn't want to buy it, wanting instead to joint venture with him. That way he could get a piece of the volume forever. He took the deal and waited for his revenue share.

Boom! The partner shut the facility down forever and transferred all business to one of its out-of-state facilities. All the suit-partner wanted was to kill its new competition. My friend was devastated. He should have found the true value and sold it completely.

Word to the wise!

(Harry C. Alford is the founder, president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Website: www.nationalbcc.org. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

Officially undercapitalized

CarleeMcCullough-160The day has come for the doors of your business to open. The paint is fresh on the walls, the business cards are professionally printed and the widgets are ready to be sold. There is a little money left in the bank but not enough to cover the rent for next month or payroll.

This means that the business is officially undercapitalized.

Undercapitalization means a business does not have and cannot obtain the funds required through equity or debt for current operational expenses or to pay creditors. With little money remaining to cover the operational costs, the business is exposed to risk and potentially bankruptcy.


Wave of fast food strikes hits 60 cities

wage increase-600Fast food workers in 60 U.S. cities – including Memphis –walked off the job Thursday in a protest for higher wages.

Workers from fast food giants McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's and Yum Brands-owned KFC are calling on their employers to pay them a minimum of $15 an hour and allow them to form unions without retaliation.

Currently, the median pay for the fast food workers across the country is just over $9 an hour, or about $18,500 a year. That's roughly $4,500 lower than Census Bureau's poverty income threshold level of $23,000 for a family of four.


Partner up for success, says Economic Development Forum keynoter

4W5A2420-M-1-600Warren Thompson guides the largest minority-owned restaurant/hospitality company in the country, with revenues of over $320 million. He knows about the value of partnerships.

On Wednesday (Aug. 28), Thompson, president and chairman of the Thompson Hospitality Corporation, pitched the importance of partnership and having like-minded partners while delivering the keynote address at the Economic Development Forum Power Breakfast at the Memphis Cook Convention Center.

The Mid-South Minority Business Continuum (MMBC) produces the Economic Development Forum (EDF) annually. For President & CEO Luke Yancy III and the MMBC team, the 2013 Economic Development Forum is another step in an ongoing push to grow minority and women-owned business enterprises (M/WBEs).


Facebook rolls out shared photo albums

facebook-600Next time you host a soiree, you can collect photos of the event from your guests in one album on Facebook.

The social network has added shared photo albums so people can throw photos from an event or of a common subject into a single spot. The new shared album feature, first reported by Mashable, is rolling out to English-speaking users of the social network but will eventually be available around the world.

When you create a new photo album, there will be a new button that says "Make Shared Album." Click and add up to 50 other people you want contributing to the album. Each person can upload 200 photos for a maximum of 10,000 images in a single shared album. Every contributor can tag, edit and give captions to the photos they add.


What advantages does a biweekly mortgage offer?

CharlesSimsJr-160One of the most precious assets that you are likely to possess as you progress through life is your home. Owning their own homes is something that most Americans strive for.

Unfortunately, for the vast majority of people, one of the major drawbacks in owning a home is the long-term mortgage that must be paid off. Mortgages often stretch out 30 years with interest and principal repayments.

Most mortgage repayments are made on a monthly basis. However, arranging to make payments biweekly can have a dramatic effect on the amount of money you have to pay and the time frame before it is all paid off.


Road to Retail: O’Taste & See Simply Delicious Pies and Quiche

BJackson-250Barbara Jackson is a woman blessed with a gift to cook. She runs from the title of chef but the taste and presentation of her food places her with the best of the best. As humble as they come, Jackson proves that with hard work and dedication to your passion, dreams do come true.

Carlee McCullough: How did you get started in the food business?

Barbara Jackson: I received an Easy Bake Oven in second grade for Christmas. I got two boxes of cake mix, white and chocolate. My mom loved nuts, so I added nuts to the top of the chocolate mix and actually made a brownie before I even knew what a brownie was. I continued to add different nuts to the tops. Later, I attempted to make other stuff in the Easy Bake Oven and burned it up. The wattage was not strong enough for what I wanted to do.

CM: What do you sell at O'Taste and See?


Grand opening signals intermodal growth for Memphis area

hardyintermodal-600Carolyn Hardy, CEO of Chism Hardy Investments, has a track record of success when it comes to aligning with business opportunities that yield dividends for the Memphis area. On Monday (Aug. 19), Hardy helped unveil a venture that she puts in that category.

Mayor AC Wharton Jr. and Shelby County Mark Luttrell Jr. participated in the grand opening of the Marine Repair Services and Container Maintenance Corporation (MRS-CMC) new multi-million dollar maintenance shop and intermodal yard at 4530 Clarke Road in Memphis Tennessee. The facility has a 10,800 square foot maintenance shop on 30 acres for intermodal container and truck storage on a bonded yard.

Additionally, the facility is one mile from the BNSF Memphis Intermodal facility.


Tax-conscious investing

CharlesSimsJr-160MONEY MATTERS Because of tax changes that take effect in 2013, some upper-income households are facing the prospect of higher tax rates on investment earnings.

The potential for taxes to claim a larger share of investment earnings means that many people might take advantage of opportunities to invest in tax-deferred retirement plans such as 401(k)s and IRAs. Of course, many factors other than taxes should influence investing decisions, including your investment goals, time horizon, and risk tolerance.

The following rate increases explain why you might consider the tax implications of investment decisions.


Breaking into retail: The Candle Bakery

bakerycandles-600ON OUR WAY TO WEALTHY Breaking into retail is never easy, which is why Tiffany Greenlee tapped into her creativity and obtained a kiosk in the Wolfchase Galleria to give herself a leg up.

Rather than wait for her candles to be in every retail store, Greenlee decided to create her own retail opportunity and now envisions a chain of kiosks across the region.

Carlee McCullough: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Tiffany Greenlee: I wear many hats! I am a mother of three boys, one of whom has autism. I am a wife, a published author and a nurse by profession. I am an advocate for autism and currently sit on the board of The Autism Lives Foundation. I am a very humble God-fearing woman.

CM: How and when did you begin your career in the candle making industry?