Rock It! Lab launches discussion series with a bang!
On Thursday, Feb. 25, The Rock It! Lab hosted a panel of four business owners for Black in Business, Keith Fulks of Mr. Keith’s Gourmet Kettlecorn, Latasha Moore of Tasha Teaches Spanish, Kolby McNeal of Sweets in a Jar, and Shunqetta Cunningham of the KHARIS Group. This panel discussion revolved around the challenges faced by black entrepreneurs. Each business owner gave a bit of background on themselves, discussed the challenges they faced and how they were able to overcome them, and participants asked questions.
Latasha Moore had some great advice for those considering starting a business, “Get out of the side hustle mentality and have a business mentality.” While she feels that there’s nothing wrong with a “side hustle,” she believes that it takes a different level of commitment to really tackle a business. “Don’t do it if you’re not serious,” she added. Keith Fulks stressed the importance of consistency and added that “Being a business owner can be lonely.”
While Keith and Kolby sell tangible products, Shunqetta and Latasha provide services, which adds a level of difficulty. Shunqetta said, “Without a tangible product, I get a lot of scrutiny.” She emphasized the importance of illustrating her value in other ways. Kolby rounded out the advice, “A lot of doors might close in your face, so you have to stay persistent. The ‘no’s’ make all the ‘yesses’ that much better.”
This event was moderated by Leah Patterson, a recent addition to the Rock It! Lab team. Leah is an entrepreneur herself, founding MOVE makeup, a sweatproof and natural cosmetic line and Leah’s School of Latin Dance. She is excited about joining the Rock It! Lab and helping to build a bridge for other entrepreneurs to start and develop their businesses. She is looking forward to forming a community and creating an environment of support and mentorship. Her goal is to help remove roadblocks for up-and-coming entrepreneurs by offering practical guidance and working with policy makers. Leah has worked with Benito Lubazibwa prior to joining the Rock It! Lab, through “Shop Black Live,” a weekly web show she hosts showcasing black businesses where viewers can buy directly from proprietors during the show.
Rock It! Lab has multiple upcoming events, including an informative discussion on how startups can leverage technology to gain a sustainable competitive advantage; this lecture, led by Dr. Christopher M. Jones of the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub will take place March 4.
Join the discussion on the first Tuesday of every month with Beyond the Idea, where entrepreneurs can share their ideas, challenges and best practices. Become a part of this priceless community.