It was the 25th of June 2016, when M-Lifestyle had the privilege of holding its first Emerging Entrepreneurs Summit. Founded in 2014, the influential online magazine was created for one purpose, to feature the inspirational. M-Lifestyle finally had the opportunity to come together as coworkers, family and friends, to celebrate its vision and future for the next generation of young professionals. A finance graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University and current resident of Richmond, Virginia, Peter Olatuyi found the digital renaissance magazine. Olatuyi conceived the idea with the hope of creating a positive media platform that highlights the achievements of young leaders. Launching the beginning of the summit, Olatuyi gave a warm oration, chronicling the journey he embarked upon in making the magazine a lasting success.
Subsequently, we had our first key note speaker, Chairman of the National Minority Technology Council, Karl Cureton. It was his pleasure to have given his heartwarming compliments toward the magazine and how it represents the accomplishments of young minorities. Karl Cureton said during his keynote speech that “the conversation is rules, norms, and institutions. M-Lifestyle is saying we are beautiful, but they are proving we are beautiful by actually showing our beauty, showing that we have access, showing that we have spirit, showing that we have energy.” He also stressed on the need to realize within our country, that “we are beautiful and we are powerful. If we don’t recognize rules, arms and institutions, then we are not going to be able to support each other. M-Lifestyle has the potential to become an institution, the challenge is that we have to bring institutions together in order to make that happen. In order to change the norms, our heart needs to be able to listen to something distinct. As an entrepreneur, the challenge is not about the risk, the challenge is about mitigating the risk. As people, the best way we can mitigate a risk is begin to truly understand who we are not just as a nation, but as the African diaspora. If we can embrace change, and be comfortable within it, we can be billionaires.”
Our panel members, whom also happen to be entrepreneurs, included Tasha Moore, Randy Wilson, and Steven Couch. Tasha Moore, founder of H.E.R. Enterprises, makes sure that every young woman has the opportunity to walk away feeling encouraged to create their own destiny and to become a leader of every part of their lives. Randy Wilson, founder of Conscious Consultations, strives to empower communities through voice and executional vision. Wilson strongly believes in taking ownership of his own life, and encourages others to take ownership in theirs. Lastly, Steven Couch, founder of Mr. Eat Right, wanted an organization where he could provide friendly meal preparations. Couch has been inspired by his travels around the world, using the diversity he finds in other countries to come up with new recipes.
One of the most influential speakers in attendance, was Ebenezer Olatuyi. Ebenezer was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, and attended Morgan State University to study engineering. He has successfully promoted the M-Lifestyle’s brand using the best and latest cutting edge technology. He touched us with his encouragement, saying that those who come in contact with the magazine, should share a similar goal, to be an inspiration to those who come in contact with you. Olatuyi went on to address his role with STEM, citing the lack of influence in the minority sector, which he believes is the reason for the lack of passion of working with minorities. It is our job to get our next generation of children to be interested, and to stay interested. A question of his, that really got many of us thinking, was why is it that minorities don’t gather together to do STEM activities. Olatuyi pointed out the striking imbalance regarding the lack of diversity among certain groups, as well as there not being enough done by individuals in giving more representation to young minorities. Having made it clear that we have a long way to go, he highlighted some of the initiatives that must be carried out to make this dream happen. STEM includes programs like NSBE-SEEK, a summer engineering experience, and STEM Club Hub, created to influence young minorities to gather together as a community. It is with these innovative platforms that STEM can work to fulfill its dream of changing the way our children go out and interact in the world. Olatuyi made sure to remind us that it is not only these programs that really make the difference amongst our children, but it is us as individuals who must influence them, so that they too can influence others. Olatuyi wanted each and every one of us to walk out of there with a message, that we have a privilege of being able to give back to people. “We all have to give back. It is a privilege that we STEM professionals have today, especially for minority professionals. We have to give back to our community, because young people are looking for people who will give back.
Also in attendance, was Kwaku Osei, founder of Farmer, seeking to convert people’s excess and unused land, turning that land around into farms to produce organic produce. Osei also happens to be a former executive associate at Rock Ventures. Osei’s most poignant moment in his presentation, was when he explained that entrepreneurship is not easy, but one must embrace the difficulties that come with entrepreneurship, rather than always expecting success in the end. “Entrepreneurship is not easy. I think we see the end result as glorious, but the turmoil, the sacrifices that are involved with it, it’s beautiful.”
Coming to a near end of our ceremony, President Peter Olatuyi stood up for one final thanks. Each and every person walked out of there having learned something, having saw something, having felt something. If there is one thing we all know to be true about the summit, there was progress. There was progress among M-Lifestyle for not only holding its first summit, but for standing up for what it truly believes in, serving as a spotlight for people of youth, of color, of entrepreneurial spirit. We celebrate being young, brave, influential, and taking up new challenges, and it was our first Emerging Entrepreneurs Summit where we were able to share that. Final words from our amazing CEO and president, “Millennials are no longer seeking for a perfect job; we are building businesses and opportunities that revolve around our passion…”
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