The Atkinson, Capitol, Teutonia (ACT) Business Improvement District #29 held its annual neighborhood celebration on the triangle at Capitol Drive and Atkinson Avenue recently. Political figures, business owners in the area, residents and their children were treated to entertainment, food, information and fun while showcasing the many improvements in the area while highlighting future endeavors. The festival is held in honor of the late Willie Perkins, Jr., who owned Mr. Perkins’ Family Restaurant, 2001 W. Atkinson Ave. (Photos by Yvonne Kemp)
The Villard Avenue Business Improvement District #19 will be holding its free 2012 neighborhood street festival on W. Villard Ave. between N. 35th and N. 38th Streets on Saturday, August 25 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Alderman Ashanti Hamilton said the family friendly festival has consistently grown in scope and fun since it was founded eight years ago. “The Villard Avenue Day Festival offers great opportunities for family fun, for meeting neighbors, and for connecting with the friendly business owners and organizations which help bring commerce to the area,” he said.
The festival has two stages for live music and other performances, and there is plentiful food, games and prizes as well. This year’s event will feature a first-ever Kids Zone Play Area.
Fore more information about the festival, please contact Gracelyn Wilson at 414-444-8204.
(Photo caption: The new jewel along Villard Avenue, Villard Square as viewed from the avenue.–Photo taken from Celsus: A Library Architecture Resource website)
The Atkinson, Capitol, Teutonia (ACT) Business Improvement District #29 will be holding its free 2012 neighborhood celebration on the triangle at Capitol Dr. and Atkinson Ave. on Saturday, August 18 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Alderman Ashanti Hamilton, Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs, and Alderman Willie C. Wade will again be on hand to meet neighbors and business owners as they enjoy a day of community and fun. “This is the third year of the festival, and I am excited about the event,” Alderman Hamilton said. “I am especially looking forward to spending time with neighbors, and to seeing business owners doing a little outreach as they showcase their businesses in a relaxed and fun environment.”
The ACT BID will be highlighting area businesses and organizations, and providing food and entertainment, including live music.
The festival is being held in honor of the late Will Perkins Jr., who owned Mr. Perkins’ Family Restaurant, 2001 W. Atkinson Ave.
WHAT: Atkinson, Capitol, Teutonia BID celebration
WHEN: Saturday, August 18 — 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
WHERE: Triangle intersection of Capitol & Atkinson
(Family Features) Just like any good sports team, every business needs a good coach. Marketing consultant John Jantsch, bestselling author of “Duct Tape Marketing” and “The Referral Engine,” has some low-cost ideas that will help you create a strong message and communicate it to the right people.
- Keep Score – If you want to determine who your ideal client is, go through your entire client list and rank your clients by profitability. Then look at your most profitable clients and identify those that are already referring business to you. Figure out the common characteristics in this group and you’ve got a pretty good picture of your ideal client.
- Find Your Zone – Once you’ve identified who you’re marketing to, you need to fine tune your message. Ask how you’re really different from your competitors, Jantsch advises. The best way to find out is to ask your customers. Get with five to eight ideal customers and ask them to tell you one thing they love about your business. Listen closely to words they use. There’s a good chance the words your clients uses to describe what you do that’s unique should be part of your value proposition – no matter how simple they may sound to you.
- Be a Coach Yourself – Instead of advertising your products and services, promote valuable content that tells your prospects how to do or get something you know they want more of. This can be an ebook or video, but make sure you’re creating awareness for educational content and you’ll have the chance to build the trust required to start a sales conversation.
You can use print collateral materials to help you promote that content and your services. Straightforward language and well-designed materials can help set your business apart from the others.
- Know Your Fans – A lot of small business owners want to know how to make social media pay off. Jantsch recommends that you go through your client list and append every record with the Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles for each. You can do this by hand or use a service like RapLeaf. Now every time you make a client call you’ll know a great deal more about what’s going on in their world.
- Grow Your Local Team – Small business owners have to wear a lot of hats. But doing too many things can take the focus off of the main reason you got into business in the first place. Take advantage of local resources, like The UPS Store, to take things off your to-do list. For example, they can handle the logistics of printing and delivering direct-marketing mailings through the Every Door Direct Mail™ Retail initiative with the U.S. Postal Service to every address in a neighborhood. Things like that free you up to do what you do best.
For more small business solutions, and to find out what print, mail, shipping and other services are available, visit www.theupsstore.com.
(Editor’s Note): This week, the Community Journal kicks-off an ongoing, biweekly series profiling successful African Americans in our community. The series will be written by Michael Brox, an educator in the Milwaukee Public Schools and the founder of the first Afro Fest (now African World Festival).
This series attempts to counter the negative news we’re flooded with by the local mainstream news media by detailing the positive aspects and influences of Black people who give back to their community in various ways, whether it be volunteer service or owning businesses employing members of our community. Either way, the individuals we will profile are dedicated to bettering the lives of others who are less fortunate and only need an opportunity to succeed.
This week, we profile Robert Robert Pyles, a mininster who pastors at Abundant Faith of Integrity, and is the owner (along with his wife Betty) of 12 McDonald’s restaurants in the Milwaukee and Menomonee Falls areas. orn Bernard Ridley in 1964, Robert Pyles started his humble beginnings in Hobson City, Alabama. His mother, Magnolia P. Ridley, worked hard to support the family by taking on domestic jobs.
His father, Robert A. Pyles, a career military man, joined the U.S. Army in 1964. He later retired in 1976 and returned to Hobson City.
Robert (Bernard) was raised with his two brothers and six sisters in a three bedroom project. Robert, who learned the value of hard work at an early age, always wanted to help provide for his family, and at the age of seven he worked after school every day and every summer until he was 13 years old.
At age 14, Robert attended Oxford High School in Oxford, Alabama. Oxford High was a segregated high school with a 20% African American student population . Interestingly, the town where he lived was 100% African American.
Upon graduating high school in December of 1982, Robert went into the U.S. Air Force as a security police officer. While serving as a raw recruit in Grand Forks, North Dakota, Pyles was exposed to things in the military he had never experienced growing up in Alabama. Among those new experiences was snow, sub zero temperatures and whiteouts. His first roommate in the military was a Native American.
His roommate had never seen an African American until he enlisted in the military. Robert and his roommate began to realize their own social barriers. Through this time, beyond his own beliefs, Robert realized there was a much bigger world.
From Grand Forks, Robert’s military career took him to Texas where he continued his advanced training for his overseas duties at an American Air Force base in Kunsun, South Korea. While stationed in Korea, two very significant things occurred in his life. One, he met his future wife Betty. Their friendship continued at their next duty station in Cheyenne, WY. Robert and Betty’s lengthy friendship transitioned to courtship, and in 1986 they were married. Together, they have three lovely children; Anthony, Ebony, and Katrina Pyles, and five grandchildren. In addition, his retired father was stationed in Korea at the same time working with the U.S. Department of Defense. There they bonded, prompting Robert’s father to ask him to change his last name from Ridley to Pyles.
Upon his return from South Korea, Pyles continued helping his mother with his younger siblings. Mounting debts forced Robert to take on a part time job.
Little did Pyles know the career path he was taking. He began working at Long John Silver seafood restaurant. He was later hired as a crew person at the local McDonalds.
Not knowing his deepest call and purpose, he loved serving others and was quickly promoted to part-time swing manager working the afternoon and weekends.
During this time, Robert was balancing his career and family but was rapidly being promoted in the military.
As a Master Sergeant, he approached the owner to see if he could have a leave of absence from McDonald’s to receive additional training and schooling to continue his military career. That is when the owner, Jack Priess, suggested Robert consider becoming a McDonald’s owner. Jack, a white owner, saw something in Robert that was special. He took Robert to Denver, Colorado to meet African American owners/operators.
After meeting other owners and operators, Robert decided he wanted to become an owner/operator. He was later interviewed by the Franchising Manager for McDonald’s corporation and was accepted into the program to become an owner/operator.
In 1998 the Pyles family relocated to Milwaukee where they planned to raise their three children. Little did they know the profound impact their move to Milwaukee would have on the soon to become Pastor Robert and Lady Betty Pyles.
In February of 1998, Robert and Betty bought their first McDonald’s restaurant on 76th and Mill Road. When Robert and Betty moved to Milwaukee, they thought they were relocating to sell burgers; however, it was much more than that.
They have taught their employees how to dress, how to purchase cars, how to work with the public, how to change their mindsets, and become homeowners. Robert and Betty view their restaurants as ministry opportunities not only to their employees, but to their customers as well. Robert and Betty Pyles are currently the owners of 12 McDonald’s franchises. Eleven restaurants are located in the Milwaukee area, and one in Menomonee Falls. Overall, they employ roughly 700 people.
In addition to Robert’s many accomplishments, he is the first African American President of the Milwaukee co-op.
Pastor Pyles received his religious education under Bishop Milton Gannison. Pastor Pyles also acknowledges Pastor Walter Harvey, the pastor of Parklawn Assembly of God, as his trusted mentor, and Pastor Leroy Jackson as his spiritual father.
Pastor Pyles puts Christ first and center in everything he does. However, Pastor Pyles understands that in order to keep his ministries relevant to the community he must minister to the physical as well as the spiritual needs of others through the various services he offers such as The Life Course, The Men’s Fraternity, and additional ministries. Pastor Robert and Lady Betty Pyles have initiated new ways to improve the community by giving people hope through helping them to move from poverty to prosperity. This is what Pastor Pyles refers to as his “Up and Out” philosophy. Asked what three immediate goals he hopes to accomplish in the near future, Pastor Robert Pyleslisted three goals: “1) To acquire a Doctorate Degree in Theology, 2) To become debt free within the next five to seven years, and 3) Develop his “Up and Out” Ministry (help individuals move from hourly wages to ‘salaried careers’).”
In conclusion, I would like to say that it is people like the Pyles’ who have been blessed, and unselfishly give back to the community, provide hope and encouragement in our daily lives. This is their story, what is yours?
For more information on the ministries and opportunities available through Pastor and Mrs. Pyles, you may contact Abundant Faith of Integrity at 6737 N. Teutonia Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53209, (414) 464-5001.
Nairobi — “Innovation” – promoted as a way to find solutions to social and economic challenges – has joined “entrepreneurship” as a focus of philanthropies, governments and businesses.
One of the organizations championing innovative approaches to Africa’s problems is the African Innovation Foundation launched by private equity investors, entrepreneurs, scholars and diplomats. Ambassador Walter Fust, a former director general of the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation, chairs its board of directors.
The foundation is inviting entries for its second annual Innovation Prize for Africa in partnership with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. Prizes totaling U.S. $150,000 will be awarded for ideas that promise sustainable economic development and encourage an interest in science, technology and engineering among young African men and women.
African Innovation Foundation co-founder Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais, a Swiss entrepreneur and equity investor with strong African ties, talked to AllAfrica’s Lauren Everitt about the prize and its purpose. They sat down together in Nairobi and followed up the conversation by email.
You have an extensive background in business and investing. How did you decide to get involved in sustainable economic development in Africa?
When I am in Africa, I see many opportunities and get a clear view of what can be done to address challenges the continent faces. Also, my father who is Angolan, played a big role, because he encouraged me to return to the continent and apply the lessons I’ve learned to fuel economic and social development.
After spending time in Angola – where I now reside at least 40 per cent of my time – and across Africa, I’m impressed by record growth rates and unrealized potential. I am convinced, now more than ever, that the best way to build Africa’s capacity is to invest in local innovation and entrepreneurship.
You’re a dual citizen of Angola and Switzerland. How does that shape your outlook toward aid and assistance?
Because of my deep personal connections and the fact that I am a business man, I know that aid is needed in some situations, such as emergencies. However, I believe it is by fostering the spirit of entrepreneurship and business that one can achieve a lasting impact and improve the quality of lives of many Africans.
There are so many untapped talents on the continent. We need to take advantage of African human capital if we want to achieve sustainable development. We need African led-solutions, where Africans are the ones driving the agenda of what the continent needs.
Would you classify the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) as aid?
IPA is focused on market-driven, social-impact investing. It incorporates lessons learned from aid experts and the insights of private equity investors, seed funders, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs.
We are looking for ideas that move Africa forward and know that a multi-sector approach is necessary to speed up African growth. We are collaborating across sectors – and are encouraged that after learning about IPA, African ministers attending the 5th joint annual meeting of the African Union and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa passed a resolution to promote an innovation society for Africa’s social and economic transformation.
How many entries do you expect this year?
In its first year [last year], IPA received more than 450 applications from 38 African countries. We hope to expand this number as people spread the word about applying online.
The contest prioritizes a number of areas: agriculture and agribusiness; environment; energy and water; health and wellbeing; ICTs; manufacturing and service industries. Why those?
Based on the feedback received from previous applicants and other IPA stakeholders, we identified these areas because we see them as key growth sectors across the continent, as they present many needs and opportunities. We encourage potential applicants to get in touch if they can classify their innovation in any of the priority areas.
What do you hope to achieve through this competition over the long term?
We hope it will inspire African innovators and encourage leaders from all sectors to invest in innovation by Africans for Africans. Since the prize recognizes innovative breakthroughs that unlock new African potential, we also want to send a message that “Yes!” – Africans are capable of finding solutions to their problems.
The IPA website says that innovators and entrepreneurs are not highly profiled on the development agenda.
Conversations often happen in distinct sectors – we are focused on building a common dialogue and a more successful approach to fueling African innovation. Our goal is also to change the narrative on how Africa is discussed, when it comes to the best ways to move forward.
Are investors truly interested in Africa?
Yes. Investors are quickly realizing Africa’s incredible investment potential, in part, because of the impressive economic growth rates. The World Bank reported that excluding South Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa’s regional growth rate in 2011 was 5.9 per cent. This beats rates in many Western regions. Investors have also realized the potential of Africa’s youth – both as a market and a workforce. Beyond minerals, oil or other wealth, Africa’s greatest resource is its human capital and ingenuity. The IPA encourages even more investors to realize the proven economic potential of the continent.
In 2012, the prize’s first year, the winner designed a multi-broadband base station antenna. Where is the product now? Has it caught the eye of investors?
The IPA’s inaugural winner, Professor Mohammed Sanad, received $100,000 for creating an in-phone and light-weight external antennae that leapfrogs current solutions to provide better mobile access, improved productivity and the potential for technology to change lives. He recently met with global investors and received positive feedback.
We know there are countless game-changing innovations like Professor Sanad’s across the continent and hope to identify them to ensure Africa’s development continues to be led by African innovation.
by local business owner Matt Steiner
Hartland, Wisconsin: Millions of U.S. jobs have been lost due to American businesses seeking lower cost alternatives to manufacture their goods in other countries. I understand the importance of allowing free trade, but this has gone way too far. Our economy has suffered greatly from it. As a businessman in the Milwaukee Market, I want to do all I can to help, and that starts with pursuing ‘buy American’.
I own a Gutterglove Dealership where I install American made gutter covers for your home so you never have to clean your gutters again. I could be selling other similar gutter covers, but they are made in China. Buying American fosters independence and would help other countries to look internally rather than being dependent on us.
The message I’m trying to send here is for building contractors to be more selective in their construction material purchases. They should buy American made components where all possible. Wisconsin homeowners and U.S. manufacturers will appreciate it, and our overall economy will benefit from it, I guarantee it.
I’ve noticed that homeowners respond in a very positive way when I tell them I only use American made gutter covers. When more people are buying American, more jobs will be created, our economy will be stimulated and more taxes paid to our government. Some people argue that American made products are more expensive, but they are missing the big picture because the money is staying here and not going to another country.
Gutterglove is designed to keep leaves and pine needles out of your roof gutters. With every 1,000 feet I install locally, it keeps a U.S. manufacture worker employed for one month and infuses $2,500 back into the American economy. The Gutterglove company sells millions of feet a year. That’s a great feeling to have. I’m hoping statistics like these will encourage homeowners to make sure that any home improvements they get done, they will require the contractor to supply American made components.
If you are a contractor, you can even look for U.S. made tools for doing your installations.
It has never been a surprise to me, the number of people who ask where Gutterglove is made. I can hold my head up high and tell them it’s manufactured right here in the United States of America!
Then there is the moral issue that other countries illegally use child labor to make U.S. products. It is hard for me to close my eyes to this. America has laws in place to protect our youth from such misuse. Buying American assures me this isn’t happening with Made in USA products.
Along with the installation of gutter guards, I offer several other services such as new gutter installations, gutter repairs, gutter cleaning and roof deicing heat panel installations. You can reach me through my website at www.GuttergloveLakeCountryWI.com.
Start now to ensure your family receives maximum benefit from your hard work
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Rising commodity prices and the boost in demand for grains and soybeans have been a boon for farmers in recent years. They’ve also sent land prices soaring. Farmers in the Midwest find the average price for farmland is around $2,400 per acre, and sometimes the highest producing land goes as high as $9,000 per acre.
Prices like these impact not only short-term purchases and tax values, but also the longer-term succession strategy of the family farm. A little extra planning can yield a better result and help ensure your heirs are not overburdened with steep estate taxes, income taxes, gift taxes, etc. that can take a toll on your business assets and leave your heirs strapped for cash.
The most important step in the succession of your business is to start now. Developing a strategy does not mean giving up control – it means you’re taking control of your future. Working with a team that may include your accountant, attorney, banker, financial advisor and your Farm Bureau agent, you can assess your business today and define your goals for your exit strategy. You can begin thinking through these items using the business transition assessment questionnaire.
Once you’ve established broad goals for yourself and your business, your succession strategy team will help you understand your options. “The transition of the family farm is often a sensitive topic. Each operation has its own dynamic and requires a unique succession strategy,” says Jim McCarthy Advanced Markets Vice President at Farm Bureau Financial Services. “Sorting through these issues is a major step toward avoiding the personal conflicts and family feuds that can arise during the settlement of a farm estate. We helped clients Miles and Joyce work hard to keep everyone involved during their transition of land that has been in the family since 1878.” Watch their story here.
The most successful family business transition strategies create advantages for everyone. Parents are reassured the business will remain in the family and goodwill among the children will also be preserved. Active business heirs are provided enhanced opportunities to explore funding options for a buyout of non-active heirs. And non-business heirs know that their inheritance is not dependent on the business heir’s work with the business.
“Once you establish your family farm transition strategy, don’t forget to revisit it and make updates as needed,” says McCarthy. “Rising land prices have rendered many old strategies ineffective. An annual discussion with your business transition team can help you rest easy knowing your strategy is in order.” For more information, visit www.small-business-transition.com.
About Farm Bureau Financial Services
Farm Bureau Financial Services salutes the work of farmers across the country. Join us in saying thanks to those who work the land day in and day out at www.FBFS.com/SayThanksToAFarmer. Through an exclusive, multi-state agent force, the companies affiliated with the Farm Bureau Financial Services brand underwrite, market and distribute a broad range of insurance and financial services products to individuals and businesses. Neither the Company nor its agents give tax or legal advice. Consult with your attorney and other professional advisers for tax and legal advice to determine the best solution
Fif’s latest business venture is that of boxing promotions, with his company TMT.
50 Cent is getting into boxing promotion. The rap mogul just started a boxing promoting company, TMT, standing for The Money Team.
He’s licensed TMT in New York and he’s in the process of applying for a license in Nevada, reports say.
Sources say that TMT Promotions is looking to sign former featherweight title holder Yuri Gamboa and super middleweight contender Andre Dirrell, as well as continue to work with Fif’s longtime friend Floyd Mayweather.
While Africa is on the move, most of the world slumbers. Why do I say this? In Charlotte, North Carolina, a “new” market for promoting business in Africa, I had the great opportunity to speak about the business potential in Africa on a local radio talk show with Vince Coakley. But I was shocked that the majority of people, who called in, were harsh in their perspectives on Africa, particularly South Africa. This woke me up to how much the world still needed to be awakened to business in the New Africa.
The callers saw no hope or light. They were mostly truthful about what they had to say about crime, corruption, and security in what they understood. They weren’t vicious, but you could tell they actually believed or felt what they were saying.
I reminded the audience that US history wasn’t so great for human rights and politics in the 1800s. We had one of the bloodiest civil wars in history almost a hundred years into our history. And even though we are supposed to be a beacon for human rights today, we have a lot of problems here in the US.
African democracies are at most 60 years old and places like DR Congo less than ten years. Countries in this stage of development will not have the institutional strength, or strong rule of law in general, as mature democracies yet they grow fast and provide opportunities unmatched elsewhere.
The final point I made was that every country has its problems, but also has opportunities. It’s important to find what works for you in business and be open to possibilities.
This experience re-affirms my opening statement. There is a New Africa, but most of the world is unaware and little is being done to wake them up to the full reality of the Africa of today and of the future.
You probably think that this article is about the callers and people like them, but it’s not. It’s about the millions of people who know something about the New Africa, but remain silent, passive, or accepting of what is said and propagated. Everyone should have a right to speak and to his or her opinion, but those opinions do not have to go unchallenged or probed.
We who know should be sharing about the things in Africa that do work and how it is progressing. While admitting that Africa has the highest rate of poverty and HIV/AIDs in the world, we should be pointing out that the rate of poverty has slowed and the number of new HIV/AIDS cases is slowing compared to the growth of the continent’s population.
In business, we should be sharing about the low debt levels in many of the countries compared to the West and how investment risk in the West is rising. Also, we should be sharing about the impact African innovation is having on the mobile sector around the world. While this is “old” news to many of us, it is “new” news to most of the world.
It is not about create platforms to change the perception of Africa, even though more are needed. It is about individuals and organizations embedding Africa into normal, everyday, mainstream conversation. If people are talking about interesting news, share a comparative or insightful perspective on what is happening in Africa.
If you are focusing on business and investment in Africa, here are a few tips I gave on “pitching” Africa when I spoke last year at the launch of one of our books at the World Bank:
- Let Africa sell itself.
- Watch the terms you use, e.g., wealth creation versus poverty reduction.
- Be authentic – share realities, successes, and potential.
- Place Africa in context of what is happening in other global regions.
- Focus on Africa as an upcoming, emerging region, which already has close to 20 emerging economies.
- Don’t sell Africa at the exclusion of other global regions, but as part of a global strategy – one of several regions a global business strategy should touch.
- Explain how Africa can be used to expand markets and extend globally.
- Show people who have a passion to make a difference in Africa how they can achieve this by supporting for-profit ventures, or market-based social enterprises, which are more sustainable.
We also need to broaden our engagement. We need to move beyond circles that are familiar with Africa and get into mainstream business and social groups and share about the continent. Go and plant seeds where conversation about Africa in terms of business and investment would be new.
One caller shared his experience about being in Cote d’Ivoire. He found the people to warm, welcoming, and hard-working. He said Cote d’Ivoirien pineapples were much better than Hawaiian, and if he had the money he would invest there.
This caller represents to me an untapped, deep spring of people that I know exists. We just need to reach them.
And concerning the rest of the world, it’s not up to the world to change its perception of Africa. It’s up to us to create a new perception of Africa.