Category: Business Written by Christian Morrow - Courier Staff Writer
NEW DEVELOPMENTS—Robert Rubenstein of the URA and Deputy Secretary Carolyn Newhouse from the state Dept. of Community and Economic Development, right, pose with President and CEO Doris Carson Williams and Board Chair Sam Stephenson after speaking about new small business opportunities and resources at the African American Chamber’s March PowerBreakfast.
Robert Rubenstein, acting director of the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh said he would have spoken longer at the African American Chamber of Commerce’s March PowerBreakfast, but ceded half his time to allow state Department of Community and Economic Development Deputy Secretary Carolyn Newhouse to talk about small business benefits in Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed state budget.
Still, Rubenstein covered a lot of territory, from the authority’s mission and history to its investment strategy and, most importantly, the three different methods chamber members and entrepreneurs can do business with it.
“Most commonly, we provide opportunities when we directly contract for services through requests for proposals and requests for quotes,” he said. “We post these on our website, and we also have a monthly newsletter that anyone can have emailed to them.”
The other two methods for working with the authority are through its developers, and through direct employment.
“When we provide the land or loans for a project, they’ll do the hiring. But we refer firms and stipulate minority hiring requirements that typically outperform city goals by 50-60 percent,” he said. “Lastly, people can come to work for us directly. A change in administration usually means there are openings and we’re always looking for people with expertise in public policy, sustainability, grant management, compliance, and accounting and finance.”
Rubenstein added that while they like to keep as much in-house as possible, there are times when the URA will contract out accounting and legal work, and real estate appraising.
He also noted the authority has a number of major projects either just underway or starting shortly that will provide many of those opportunities. Just some of these are the Connelley/Energy Innovation Center, the Homewood Station Senior Apartments, Bakery Square II, and the East Liberty Transportation Center, which includes 330 apartments, 50,000 square feet of retail space, and construction of a new street between Centre and Penn Avenues.
Rubenstein also announced the authority’s Center for Entrepreneurship would partner with the chamber’s Business Institute on a number of small business improvement programs.
Chamber President and CEO Doris Carson Williams said Newhouse did not appear on the PowerBreakfast program because it went out before the governor released his budget proposal.
“She was happy to come by and give us an overview of what’s in there for small businesses,” said Williams. “As deputy secretary for innovation and investment, 75 percent of the development funding comes through her area.”
Newhouse also addressed streamlining in the department, and the addition of staff that will replace automated phone operators with human beings who will walk applicants through the process step by step.
Another benefit for businesses of all sizes is the proposed reduction in state business tax rate from 9 percent to 6 percent, she said.
(Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 March 2013 08:02
Category: Business Written by Courier Newsroom
Let’s Get it Started
MARCH 22—The Greater Pittsburgh National Association of Women Business Owners will host “Think GINORMOUS-Let’s Get it Started” from 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Greentree, 500 Mansfield Ave., Greentree. This seminar will feature national and local speakers to inspire attendees and show them the best branding ideas. The featured speaker will be Susan Newman, founder of Broadcast-Louder. The daylong event will consist of workshops, panel discussions, a trade show, networking and more. Registration is required. For more information, call Mary Pam Kilgore at 412-854-4827.
MARCH 23—The Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University will host a Business Skills Development Workshop from 8:30 a.m.-12 p.m. at Chatham University, Woodland Road, Oakland. The topic is “Elements of a Formal Plan.” Interested individuals who want to write a business plan will leave with a thorough understanding of the components, development process and the uses of a formal plan. Reservations are required and the cost is $35. For more information, visit www.chatham.edu/cwe.
ABC’s of Selling Online
2013 HR Energy Summit
MARCH 27—The Marcellus Resource Group and the Pittsburgh Human Resources Association will host the 2013 HR Energy Summit from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn Pittsburgh/Southpointe, 1000 Corporate Dr., Canonsburg. The theme is “Serving the Marcellus and Utica Shales.” This summit is to build new skills and know-how or to brush-up on key energy-specific HR issues and ideas that will increase the impact one will have on their organization’s success in this demanding industry. Bill Flanagan will be the keynote speaker, along with other featured presenters. For more information, visit www.pittsburghhra.org
Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 March 2013 10:09
Category: Business Written by James Clingman
(NNPA)—Who is the first Black person that comes to your mind when you think of wealth? Probably 99 out of 100 of us think of Oprah Winfrey, followed by Bob Johnson and his ex-wife, Sheila Johnson, and then on down the line with the likes of Michael Jordan, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, and Tiger Woods. Let’s not forget about P Diddy (or whatever his name is these days), Jay Z and Beyoncé, Tyler Perry, and Bill Cosby. Sadly, we’d probably leave Dr. Michael Lee-Chin and the Roberts brothers, Michael and Steven, off the list because they choose not to be as visible and flamboyant as the others.
The estimated net worth of the top 12 Black tycoons in this country is approximately $10 billion, with Oprah leading the pack at a robust $2.7 billion. Following are athletes, entertainers, corporate execs, and entrepreneurs—not necessarily in that order, which comes to an additional estimated $10 billion. That’s a lot of “jack” as they say; makes those folks who are “only” millionaires look poor.
Now most of us know that Warren Buffet and Bill Gates alone have more than $100 billion in net worth. Heck, the mayor of New York is worth $25 billion! What does that tell us about the so-called “wealth gap” disparity between Blacks and Whites that has once again raised its ugly head? What it tells me is that we had better not go for the distraction of trying to get even, which would be an exercise in futility. Closing the wealth gap is a worthwhile cause, but getting even is out of the question.
There is another group of Black folks we should be cognizant of when it comes to wealth: Africans. Those of you who still have images of Tarzan movies in your mind, and those of you who picture Africa as “the Dark Continent” are in for a pleasant surprise. While we know about all the natural resources Africa possesses, despite it being called by some the “poorest” continent, we should learn more about its “official” 54 countries. Pull up some photos of the cities in various countries and you will notice they look just like American cities. Prior to his transition, Brother George Subira would bring large posters of African cities to any conference he attended. I bought one for my daughter when she was very young so she would not grow up like I did—cheering for Tarzan.
To add even more positive information about the land from which we came, there are three men and two women whose collective wealth is more than $37 billion. According to the latest Forbes calculations, Aliko Dangote of Nigeria tops the list with a net worth of more than $16 billion. Mohammed Al-Amoudi, with a net worth of $13 billion, is said to own more than 70 percent of all the oil in Ethiopia and produces four tons of oil per year. Mike Adenuga, a Nigerian who made his fortune in oil, telecommunications, and banking, is worth about $4 billion. African females, Folorunsho Alakija of Nigeria, and Isabel dos Santos of Angola, billionaires themselves, also stand out as some of the wealthiest people in the world with more than $5 billion in net worth.
Our images of Africa and Africans must be couched in reality, not myth and certainly not stereotypes promulgated by those who want us to think Africa is not worth anything. Black Africans are leading the world in wealth creation and growth, and we should be proud of the brothers and sisters who have turned the tremendous natural resources of Africa into billions of dollars for themselves and their families. Notwithstanding other Africans such as the Oppenheimers and their diamond empire, along with other Europeans who benefitted from the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 to divide Africa, Black folks have made significant strides in the Motherland.
Let’s work to change the perception of Africa, especially among our young people, as they will be exposed to the many opportunities therein. As they approach adulthood and begin to choose careers and business strategies, they should have information about Africa so they will not continue to see Africa in a negative light, the way many of my generation were taught. Believe me, the Chinese, Lebanese, and Indians have not missed the opportunity.
Don’t hate. Don’t rationalize African prosperity with corruption excuse. Yes, corruption exists, but you don’t have to look all the way across the ocean to find it. Just look around here in the U.S. Congratulations to all of those Africans who are taking care of their business and doing quite well at it. They have capitalized on Africa’s natural resources, in many cases starting from meager beginnings, and used what they had to become some of the wealthiest people on earth.
(Jim Clingman, founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce, is the nation’s most prolific writer on economic empowerment for Black people. He can be reached through his Web site, blackonomics.com.)
Last Updated on Friday, 15 March 2013 09:44
Category: Business Written by Cheryl Pearson-McNeil
As I write, Chaka Khan's empowering "I'm Every Woman" loops in my head – like a soundtrack. (By the way, have you seen her lately? All slim, trim and more fabulous than ever). It's Women's History Month and the lyrics to that iconic anthem should be resonating with all women, and those who love us, as we celebrate ourselves and the countless contributions we make everyday – both large and small – that keep the world turning.
No matter how small or far-reaching the radius of your world is every choice you make is important. Nielsen shines the light on women's choices and our dynamic impact as consumers with two new global reports: Does Gender Matter and 10 Things to Know About Today's Female Consumer.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again – "Vive la différence." Yes, we know that girls are just as smart as boys and women can do pretty much everything a man can – but, like it or not – our brains are wired differently. And, that's ok. Women are master multitaskers and there's a scientific reason for that. Who knew, right?
Nielsen's NeuroFocus research shows that "ability" is driven by what happens to developing brains in the womb. Traits like big-picture thinking and multitasking are hard-wired in women's brains, along with "gut" reasoning, social and verbal skills and the worry/empathy tendency. We balance work (either outside or in the home), take care of our families – nurture, budget, shop, schedule, run hither and yon – and keep it tight with ourselves as best we can.
Men's brains, on the other hand, are pre-conditioned for concrete thinking, goal-oriented tasks, logical solutions and competition/defense. (Cheryl's translation: give them one thing to do at a time if you really want something to get done).
How we think and respond influences the way companies and advertisers design their messages to us to achieve their economic bottom line. See how much power we have? These types of insights tell them that women respond to concepts that are authentic. Touch our hearts and you might earn our dollars. Even those of us who may be tomboys at heart, messages that focus on conflict simply aren't going to resonate.
And, you know how we love a bargain and will hunt high and low to find the best price? That's something American women have in common with our sisters around the world. A Nielsen survey of more than 29,000 people with Internet access in 58 countries shows that we women are browsers, no matter where we live – going for the best deal (in the store or online) while men are more likely to pay a higher price. That's because men are typically on a mission to just win (uh, get the item no matter what).
Here and across the globe, women are responsible for $12 trillion of the $18 trillion of global buying power. So, if marketers want our business, they need to offer products and services that reflect our needs. Consider these facts:
• Women worldwide are optimistic about their roles, with 90 percent reporting they believe their role is changing for the better.
• Worldwide, 70 percent of women surveyed have cut household spending over the past year in clothes, gas, electricity and entertainment outside the home.
• Women in the U.S. spend significantly more time on social media sites than men. We're online users of social media 44 percent more than men; and visit social media sites on our mobile devices 39 percent more than men.
• African-American women between 18-35 are 72 percent more likely to publish a blog or express our preferences online via links or "likes" than the average adult in this country.
• In the United States, African-American households are 127 percent more likely to include a single parent – usually a woman. (These are my people as I am one of them and I live by the mantra, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.")
• Women in the U.S. talk 28 percent more and text 14 percent more than men every month.
• Globally, women are 25 percent more likely than men to rely on friends or family for personal finance advice.
There's so much more wonderful information on www.nielsenwire.com that affirms women's power and influence as consumers. Take time to visit the site during March, and feel free to belt out a couple of lines along with Chaka: "I'm every woman. It's all in me . . ."
(Cheryl Pearson-McNeil is senior vice president of public affairs and government relations for Nielsen. For more information and studies go to www.nielsenwire.com.)
Last Updated on Monday, 18 March 2013 16:49
Category: Business Written by Damon Carr
The paradox of singles and money is—the good thing is that everything falls on you and the bad thing is that everything falls on you. When you’re single you have the luxury of spending, saving, and investing money when, where, and how you want to. You are independent, self-reliant and self-sufficient. You don’t have the nagging money fights that many couples have about money. The downside of being single is that the income, decisions, and responsibilities associated with spending, saving, and investing money starts and stops with you. There’s no one to fall back on in the event you lost your job or source of income. There’s no nagging partner who will challenge you and force you to rethink certain money decisions that oftentimes lead to mistakes. As a result when you’re single, you have to be twice as smart, twice as cautious, and twice as responsible than the average couple with money.
Whether you’re married, single, shacked up or have a lifetime partner, we all have similar financial goals. We desire to work in a career that we enjoy and that pays well. Other financial goals include buying a home, saving for retirement, saving for college, building an emergency fund, eliminating debt, buying a newer car, making repairs to home, taking nice vacations, paying off home early, purchasing investment property, building an investment portfolio, giving to charity, becoming financially independent and building wealth.
The only real difference that we have is that we are at different phases in our life. Because we are at different phases in our life, our financial goals are prioritized differently. A younger person just starting out may be more focused on career planning and buying a home whereas a person who is nearing retirement may be more focused on paying off the mortgage early before retirement and saving for retirement. Given the fact that we all have similar financial goals, the process of financial planning is similar. You have to identify short-term and long-term financial goals and identify financial concerns and fears. Prioritize your financial goals. Develop and execute a game plan to achieve your financial goals and tackle your financial concerns and fears. But because singles are doing it alone, they have less room for error. Singles have to be more strategic in their planning and error on the side of caution when making financial decisions. For example, it’s recommended that you should have 3-6 months worth of living expenses set aside for emergencies. If you’re married and your spouse works, 3-months of living expenses will be okay. But if you’re are single, your goal should be saving the full 6-month worth of expenses.
There are four types of singles: Never been married, Divorced with no kids, Single parents, and Widows. Each type of singles has their own set of unique circumstances.
Never been married: This group of single’s primary focus is finding a soul mate. Their desire to find someone to love and grow with oftentimes overshadows their career and financial goals, resulting in poor financial planning and in many cases no financial planning at all. This group tends to overspend on dining out and entertainment and are very prone to impulsive shopping. It is extremely important for people in this group to get a financial game plan in place and stick to it. It is also recommended that people in this group find a money mentor—someone that they respect and admire in the area of money management. This mentor will serve to help you remain accountable to your financial plan. They will also serve as someone you can talk to and help you way the pros and cons before making large money purchases.
Divorced with no kids: Considering the fact that 80 percent of people who go through divorce sight money problems as the leading cause, this group is likely to be carrying both emotional and financial baggage. In addition to facing many of the same problems that the never been married group faces, this group tends to indulge more as a way to block out many of the negative experiences in the former marriage. This group also tends to try and maintain the lifestyle they lived when they were married even though there’s been a substantial drop in income. Because of the negative experiences this group faced with money and marriage, they re-enter the single world wiser and more cautions. A solid financial plan will help to bring about Hope and a fresh perspective on life.
Single Parents: This group is overworked, underpaid, tired and many times scared out of their minds because they face many of the same problems in the first two groups and they have the added pressure of their dependent children relying on them for guidance, safety, and money. The importance of this group having a solid financial game plan is magnified because it’s no longer all about you. Although single parents lack both time and money, it’s important to note that managed money works harder. Having a financial game plan in place where you know your children will be provided for if something happen to you will help ease the tension and fear associated with being scared.
Widows and Widowers: It can be emotionally crippling to lose a life-mate. Hopefully you and your mate had a financial game plan in place that will ease the financial tension that comes with the transition of now having to do it alone. This group faces many of the same issues that the other groups faces. One of the biggest problems with this group is when the spouse who handled all of the money and money decision precedes the other spouse in death. This leaves the surviving spouse who generally has no basic financial skills to fend for his or herself.
Last Updated on Thursday, 14 March 2013 09:32
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