from-college-dropout-to-real-estate-mogul,-kenneth-bell-is-shaking-up-charlotte’s-investment-market

From College Dropout To Real Estate Mogul, Kenneth Bell Is Shaking Up Charlotte’s Investment Market

Kenneth Bell, a college dropout, is now a real estate mogul and the Founder and CEO of KB Holdings Construction and Development, a Black-owned residential real estate investment firm in Charlotte, North Carolina. He’s acquired a real estate investment portfolio – a mix of commercial and single and multi-family home properties – estimated at $35 million. And he has $14 million dollars in deals currently in the pipeline.

However, Bell’s public-facing success, in many ways, belies the extreme highs and lows he’s endured and transcended throughout his career and, well, his life. As the popular saying goes, Kenneth Bell doesn’t look like what he’s been through.

“I’m kind of an ‘idiot savant,’” jokes Bell, 51, referring to his tendency to transition professionally from one industry to another. He dropped out of college in 1995 to start a business and later owned a basketball camp for four years.

After his marriage in 1999 and the birth of his first son in 2000, Bell taught himself system engineering and eventually landed a “safe and stable” $90,000 – a year job working on the trading floor for Bank of America. But yet he found himself yearning for more.

“I was a young father at the time and I just really wanted to make sure that my family was straight,” remembers Bell, who was recently recognized by Pride magazine as one of the top Black real estate developers in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. “This spirit of entrepreneurship was ignited in me because of my desire to make sure that my kids were well taken care of. I always wanted them to have the best of the best and I still do.”

While many would have rested on the laurels of that early success, it only inspired Bell to dream bigger.

The turning point came when he dipped his toe into the world of real estate investment. “I bought my first rental property, a duplex, through sheer determination,” recalls Bell, now a father of three, including a toddler daughter. “Let’s just say that I used some creative financing to get my first deal, a mix of borrowing from friends and using some credit cards and savings. I piecemilled it all together to buy my first property, a duplex.”

He created real estate investment firm Agile Investments and at one point amassed a “43-door rental portfolio.” His excitement over being a landlord quickly faded, as he soon learned that dealing with difficult tenants wasn’t his thing. Next, he ventured into flipping houses, leveraging his skills and resources to turn properties for profit.

Things were great until the 2008 market downturn hit him hard. Then life hit him harder. In 2015 he hit rock bottom, after landing behind bars on an 11-month prison stint for leasing a commercial building to what turned out to be a marijuana business.

“I know this probably sounds crazy, but it ended up being one of the biggest blessings of my life,” he asserts. “I was finally able to slow down – I really needed to – and just think about the direction I wanted to take my life in. I was also able to help a lot of people that I met while in there. Since I’ve gotten out, I have been able to employ a lot of those people. I guess you could say I’m trying to take my second chance and help others get there’s too.”

Bell emerged from that severe setback stronger and wiser, transitioning into government contracting before returning to real estate, with an emphasis on infill development, a niche he’s mastered in the Charlotte market. “I noticed that while developers focused on large projects, there were overlooked opportunities in urban areas,” he explains.

One notable project, located near Johnson C. Smith University, an historically Black college in Charlotte, challenged widespread conventional wisdom in the industry. “People thought I was crazy, but I shut down the haters,” remembers Bell, referring to the skepticism he faced about selling homes in long-neglected areas. “I was able to transform neglected lots into lucrative properties.”

Since then, Bell has hit his stride riding a huge wave of success. “I hope to do $100 million worth of projects in the next two years,” he confides, adding that he’s now setting his sights on getting into the hotel ownership game, through Vesterr (www.vesterr.com), a platform touted as the nation’s first Black-owned and led crowdfunding platform for real estate investing. “Think of GoFundMe, but for commercial real estate,” he explains. “It’s the on-ramp many people need to get started in this commercial real estate game.”

In the midst of his winning season, Bell says he’s determined to continue helping empower others, especially members of the Black community, pursue a path to generational wealth. “Real estate is the lowest rung for generational wealth for Black people,” he asserts. “It’s the quickest and most accessible way for us to turn our financial situation around. As a community, we need to be taking advantage of these opportunities more in order to secure a better future for ourselves and our families.”

In light of his passion to pay it forward, Bell regularly shares helpful tips and advice on his Instagram page @kbholdings (“I have over six thousand followers,” he quips). He also provides personal mentorship and leads online courses in hopes of teaching others. “I want to create opportunities and change lives through real estate,” he says. “I believe in the transformative power of real estate.”

Learn more about Bell’s company via its official web site at KBHoldingsDevelopment.com

Kenneth Bell is available to share his inspirational story of financial success and resilience across all media platforms. For press inquiries or media interview request, please contact info@kbholdingsdevelopment.com or 704-422-4214.

forbes-confirms-that-this-black-woman-entrepreneur-is-worth-almost-$500-million

Forbes Confirms That This Black Woman Entrepreneur Is Worth Almost $500 Million

Fawn Weaver, the founder of Uncle Nearest, the fast-growing Black-owned whiskey brand, has been recognized by Forbes as one of the wealthiest self-made women in the United States, boasting a net worth nearing $500 million.

According to Forbes, her wealth is estimated at approximately $480 million, securing her the 68th spot on Forbes‘ Richest Self-Made Women list.

The journey began in 2017 when Weaver and her husband, Keith, made a bold move. They sold all their property on the West Coast, including their dream home in Old Agoura, California, and two Mini Coopers, as reported by Forbes.

Despite the substantial risks involved, including damaged credit scores, Weaver stayed true to her vision.

“The right money will find you if you’re turning down the wrong money,” Weaver told Essence.

Indeed, in under a decade, Uncle Nearest has surged to a valuation exceeding $1.1 billion, with projected revenues of over $100 million for this year alone.

Be sure to follow Fawn Weaver on Instagram @Fawn.Weaver

Learn more about her brand via its official website UncleNearest.com

black-tech-expert-with-25-years-experience-to-teach-cybersecurity-classes-in-underserved-communities

Black Tech Expert With 25 Years Experience To Teach Cybersecurity Classes In Underserved Communities

Meet Tony Wittock, the Founder and CEO of Cyber Security Consulting Ops, a Black-owned cybersecurity tech firm based in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey. Tony started out as an ethical hacker before starting his own tech firm, but prior to that, he spent more than two decades working as a Manager, Director, and Principal Engineer for big companies like Comcast and Cisco.

In his various roles, Tony was responsible for developing analog and digital set-top box firmware, field deployment of firmware, the overall security of the set-top boxes network, and the security of the set-top box network both for Comcast Eastern Division and Comcast corporate. With Cisco, he was part of a team that helped develop Comcast’s first-generation set-top boxes cloud technology. He then started Cyber Security Consulting Ops in 2017 and moved to a full-time role in the company in November 2018.

Tony has always been at the forefront of new technologies. He directly transferred Comcast-acquired systems from Adelphia and Suburban cable systems into digital video networks to launch Video On Demand. He is currently responsible for developing the Cyber Security Consulting Ops Learning Management System (LMS) and technologies used for all cybersecurity utilities used for Penetration Testing for Cyber Security Consulting Ops.

To help bring “Intro to Cybersecurity” classes to students in underserved communities, he is currently working with a local college in Southern New Jersey.

To learn more about his company, visit his official website at CyberSecurityConsultingOps.com

For press inquiries or media interviews, contact (888) 588-9951 or Tonyw@CSCO-IT.com

couple-makes-history-as-the-first-black-franchise-owners-of-jeremiah’s-italian-ice-in-south-carolina

Couple Makes History As The First Black Franchise Owners Of Jeremiah’s Italian Ice In South Carolina

Myrol Frazier and his wife, Kesha, have made history as the first African American entrepreneurs to own — not just one — but two Jeremiah’s Italian Ice franchises in South Carolina. Their two locations are in the cities of Greenville and Simpsonville.

Jeremiah’s Italian Ice features authentic Italian Ice, creamy soft ice cream, and gelati in a vibrant, fun atmosphere. It is the premier concept in the frozen dessert category, with over 100 locations open across the United States. It serves a variety of tasty flavors including sugar-free options and seasonal flavors, and will soon offer catering services and special “pup cups” for canine companions.

Kesha comments, “I always wanted to own a business but wasn’t sure what type of business until our friend introduced us to the Jeremiah’s brand. We spent a day at his location and experienced the day-to-day operations. After this, we were sold. From the lively branding to the vast array of delicious product flavors, we realized there is truly something for everyone here. We saw huge potential in bringing the brand back home with us.”

Myrol and Kesha opened their first location in 2022 in Greenville located at 2 Ketron Court. They opened their second location just nine miles away in Simpsonville in April 2024.

For press inquiries or media inquiries, contact mfrazier@jeremiahsice.com

entrepreneurs-open-2nd-black-owned-plant-based-restaurant-in-new-jersey

Entrepreneurs Open 2nd Black-Owned Plant-Based Restaurant In New Jersey

Adenah Bayoh and chef Emeka Onugha are transforming plant-based dining with their second Black-owned restaurant, Brick City Vegan, now open in both Newark and Montclair, New Jersey. They offer fresh, flavorful dishes that prioritize health and sustainability without compromising taste.

Their mission extends beyond food — they aim to make vegan dining accessible and promote community health. They opened their first location in downtown Newark in 2021 to an enthusiastic reception and have now expanded to Montclair, according to Blavity.

Adenah Bayoh, originally from Liberia, arrived in the U.S. at 13, fleeing civil war. Her entrepreneurial journey spans real estate and restaurants, starting with an IHOP in Irvington. She also owns Cornbread, a farm-to-table soul food spot. Bayoh chose a vegan lifestyle for health reasons and wanted to show that plant-based food can be satisfying and delicious.

Chef Onugha, who began cooking at age 8, draws inspiration from his Nigerian roots to infuse Brick City’s menu with flavors from home. His goal is to make vegan food accessible and promote healthier communities.

The duo’s expansion to a second location was no small feat, requiring meticulous planning and community support. Despite the challenges, their commitment to quality and community remains unwavering. With a mission to promote healthier eating without compromising on taste, Adenah and Chef Emeka are not just serving food — they’re creating a positive impact in their communities

Learn more about the restaurant via its official website at BrickCityVegan.com

Be sure to follow them on Instagram @BrickCityVegan

Also, you can support the business by visiting its locations at 915 Broad St, Retail 1, Newark, NJ 07102, and 2 South Willow St, Montclair, NJ 0742

black-real-estate-entrepreneur-who-went-from-broke-to-millions-is-now-helping-others-do-so-too

Black Real Estate Entrepreneur Who Went From Broke To Millions Is Now Helping Others Do So Too

Mike Ealy is not just a real estate magnate in his own right; he’s a visionary who has transformed his passion for real estate into a multi-million-dollar portfolio. And he’s committed to helping others do so too. “I didn’t come from a wealthy family, but wealthy families will come from me,” quips Ealy, president of Cincinnati-based Nassau Investments, a commercial real estate investment firm. “I’m the first one in my family to do this, so that’s why I’m so passionate about giving back and teaching,” says “It all starts with knowledge and believing in yourself. You. Can. Do. This!”

From humble beginnings dreaming of a career in STEM to the helm of a thriving real estate empire, Ealy’s journey is a remarkable one of inspiration and resilience. Born and raised in Cincinnati, his career trajectory took an unexpected turn during his time as a student at Tuskegee University, an historically Black university in Alabama. His love of math initially drew him to electrical engineering, but he read a book that lit a fire in him to give real estate a try. “I ended up being a real estate guy,” says Ealy with a smile, reflecting on that pivotal shift that changed the course of his life.”

He first embarked on his real estate journey in his 20s with $3,000 he’d saved from working multiple jobs. He started small, acquiring his first property using creative financing strategies he’d picked up from reading more books on real estate investing and business. He eventually acquired multiple properties and enjoyed a validating season of financial rewards. However, he soon learned the hard way that he did not have the right foundation and structure and unexpectedly lost it all during the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy and when race riots erupted in Cincinnati.

Defeated, Ealy initially wallowed in what he perceived as “the valley of failure,” but then he stepped out on faith, opting to change his perspective. “I cannot lie, at first I was feeling defeated, like a failure, like I let myself and my family down,” he remembers. “But then I brushed myself off and used my ‘get back up muscles’ and eased myself back into the game. It was an unfortunate experience, but it taught me some important life lessons that I needed to learn early on, about the power of perseverance and adaptability. For that, I am eternally grateful.”

Ealy stayed the course and eventually bounced back, leveraging what became known as the “the Great Recession” as a stepping stone to rebuild his wealth while others were losing big. Today his real estate portfolio boasts more than 1,500 units and five hotels, valued at over $300 million. His latest venture, the Lion Capital Fund, he says, represents the culmination of his experience and vision. “The Lion Capital Fund is an opportunity to acquire real estate as a REIT, Real Estate Investment Trust, offering consistent returns to investors,” he explains. More than just a fund, Ealy says the Lion Capital Fund aims to increase access to wealth-building opportunities. “We want to help people build wealth and be more in control of it,” he says. The passive investment fund caters to a wide range of investors, providing access to cash-flowing properties such as apartments and hotels with limited risk. One of its key objectives is being nimble and able to identify and act on real estate market opportunities quickly. Most recently that has resulted in him launching a funding campaign to purchase a mix of hotels and apartment complexes via Vesterr, a platform touted as the nation’s first Black-owned and led crowdfunding platform for real estate investing. “There’s never been a time like this in history,” Ealy states, referring to the impending foreclosure wave predicted as interest rates remain high and commercial real estate investors begin offloading properties. “Now’s the time to seize the opportunity to be a part of this, to get your financial piece of the pie.”

Ealy says Lion Capital Fund offers investors a chance to invest in existing, cash-flowing properties with limited risk. With properties already renovated and generating revenue, investors can expect steady returns and tax benefits. “We encourage people to get educated,” stresses Ealy, highlighting that he believes real estate is a safer investment than the volatile stock market. “There’s just so much opportunity out there to build wealth with real estate,” he says. “Every investment comes with risk, but I want people to know that real estate investing is a vehicle and it’s accessible and very lucrative.”

Beyond his business ventures, Ealy is committed to sharing his knowledge and experience in the real estate industry with others who want to learn. Through his website, www.bigdealmike.com, he offers courses, webinars and mentorship opportunities to aspiring investors. “My goal is to show people that they can impact the lives of their family and transform their financial status,” he asserts.

Reflecting on his journey, Ealy says he uses what he refers to as “the hurdles of unbelief, fear and failure” that he’s faced throughout his own career as opportunities to grow. “People laughed at me, but that just made me stronger, more determined,” he says. His message to aspiring investors: “There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to obtain wealth. You are always just one big deal away from financial success!

Ealy is available to share his story of hope and financial empowerment across all media platforms. For more information about Ealy and the Lion Capital Fund, visit the official web site at NassauInvests.com

To arrange an interview, please contact Jia You at (513) 288-4606 or email assistant@nassauinvests.com

About
Nassau Investments is a Cincinnati-based commercial real estate investment firm with a portfolio boasting $250 million in apartments and hotels. Its mission is to educate and increase the wealth of investors by offering opportunities to participate and invest in exclusive commercial real estate investments, such as apartments and hotels.

pharmacist-quits-her-job,-becomes-the-first-black-woman-to-own-a-brewery-in-minnesota

Pharmacist Quits Her Job, Becomes The First Black Woman To Own A Brewery In Minnesota

Brittney Mikell, a former pharmacist, is on a mission to make history in Minnesota as the first Black woman to own a brewery in the state. With a passion for brewing and a vision for inclusivity, she’s set to open Bubble Line Brewing Company in Saint Paul’s Rondo neighborhood.In a state with over 200 breweries, only a few are owned by women or people of color. But none have been owned by a Black woman until now.

Driven by her dreams, Mikell made a bold move. Feeling burnt out from her pharmacy job, she turned to her love for brewing. Climbing the ranks to become an assistant brewer at La Dona Cerveceria in Minneapolis was just the beginning. Now, she aims higher — to establish her brewery and break barriers.

“The brewing industry isn’t very diverse in our state and in general, as it stands,” Mikell told WDBJ7.

Mikell founded Bubble Line Brewing Company, set to open early next year in Saint Paul’s Rondo neighborhood, a historically Black area. She wanted to create a cozy oasis with plants and flowers, offering a retreat during chilly Minnesota winters.

Among the brews on offer will be her signature honey crisp apple blonde ale, alongside non-alcoholic options like lemonades and lattes. Mikell also plans to use her brewery as a hub for teaching home brewing, aiming to diversify the craft beer scene.

Her initiative has already garnered support, with an initial crowdfunding campaign raising over $20,000 in under a week. She plans to launch another crowdfunding, with Mikell aiming to secure $500,000 to kickstart her business.

Learn more about the business via its official website at BubbleLineBrewing.com

Also, be sure to follow them on Instagram @BubbleLineBrewing

black-owned-ai-automated-dispensary-startup-pledges-1%-for-digital-cannabis-equity-&-impact-program

Black-Owned AI Automated Dispensary Startup Pledges 1% For Digital Cannabis Equity & Impact Program

Chow420 was launched three years ago with the vision to revolutionize the workings of the hemp and cannabis industry. Throughout its existence, the company has been focused on disrupting the hemp-cannabis market with a novel solution that meets the specific challenges faced by the market. Ultimately, this objective materialized in the form of a suite that combines a smart network of automated dispensaries and a Web 3.0 online platform to connect customers to compliant and effective cannabis products.

As a company, Chow420 remains true to its roots. The team believes that context matters. “As a Black-owned business, we have always sought cooperation within the American community to improve lives and business practice. The first of our successes came within our automated dispensary network where our first third-party partner is a thriving Navy veteran, Marcus. Marcus has been the most successful entrepreneur in our network, growing from the initial launch to a multi-location profile,” says David Obasiolu, CEO of Chow420.

Going forward, the company is committing 1% of profits towards a fund that contributes to meeting financial bail obligations for predominantly African-American individuals who are facing minor cannabis-related legal challenges. “Even the disinterested observer cannot ignore the need for active business participation within the black community. Before such progress can be made, the basic requirement of freedom has to be guaranteed or at least facilitated. This is why we are launching the first of its kind, a transparent digital bail fund,” says David.

He continues, “Given the disproportionate adverse impact of cannabis prohibition and law enforcement on African Americans and people of color, such an initiative cannot claim to be adequate. Nevertheless, we are proud to be active and at the forefront of corporate social responsibility in trying to promote social equity within the Black community. Our company is still in its nascent stages. One could call us an emerging firm within an equally emerging growth industry. As such, we consider our current position to have significant growth potential. Our differentiating business model and unique focus on qualitatively transforming popular conceptions of cannabis and embedding transparency have the potential to redefine the sector. Accordingly, just as we seek to make the lives of our customers and industry better, in the same vein, we are also committed to doing the same for our community.”

The company urges hemp and cannabis enthusiasts to continue to use Chow420 to buy cannabis products, as a share of every successful and delivered order goes directly to the impact fund in real-time. For individuals interested in owning a Chow Machine, or a piece of the company, you can invest directly on the StartEngine platform.

Learn more about Chow420, visit the official website at Chow420.com

For press inquiries or media interviews, contact david@chowverified.com

founder-launches-new-social-media-app-called-‘blacklisted’-to-empower-black-community-through-networking

Founder Launches New Social Media App Called ‘BlackListed’ To Empower Black Community Through Networking

Channing Bell, a visionary African American woman with over a decade of experience in product management across the technology and oil and gas sectors, has launched a new app called BlackListed. Her app is an innovative new social media platform available now on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store that was developed to foster a vibrant community of connection and empowerment. It was designed specifically for Black individuals to network, share experiences, and grow together both personally and professionally.

“Our goal is to create a community where Black individuals can find support, opportunities, and a sense of belonging,” says Bell.

In future updates, the app hopes to offer a variety of features tailored to enhance networking and community-building among its users. These include specialized forums, event listings, mentorship programs, and business opportunities, all curated to strengthen the ties within the Black community.

“BlackListed is more than just a social network; it’s a movement towards more meaningful connections and a testament to the resilience and strength of the Black community,” Bell adds. The app’s intuitive design and user-friendly interface make it accessible to users of all ages and backgrounds.

As BlackListed launches nationwide, it invites members of the Black community to join and start building lasting connections that empower and uplift. The app is free to download and use.

For more information about BlackListed and to download the app, visit the Apple App Store or Google Play Store today.

About the Founder
Channing Bell is the founder of BlackListed and a seasoned product manager with extensive experience in the tech and oil and gas industries. Her expertise and passion for community building have been integral to designing an app that meets the needs and aspirations of the Black community.

For press inquiries or media interview requests, contact channing@theblacklistedapp.com

meet-the-black-woman-who-owns-three-chick-fil-a-restaurants-in-3-different-states

Meet The Black Woman Who Owns Three Chick-Fil-A Restaurants In 3 Different States

Meet Sereena Quick, who has made history by becoming the first Black woman to own a Chick-fil-A in three different states — Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. The 39-year-old entrepreneur most recently opened her Chick-fil-A restaurant in her hometown in Philadelphia.

“It really is astounding just this accomplishment to really inspire and motivate the people in our community,” Quick said, according to AfroTech. “The young Black boys and girls in our community, who are going to one day look at me — or even at this opportunity — and say, ‘I too can do this.'”

Growing up in the public housing community of Raymond Rosen Homes and raised in a single-parent home, Quick faced many challenges. But she did not let it stop her. She graduated college and started a career as a juvenile probation officer in Philadelphia.

Her career took a turn when she moved to California and connected with Jon Hooper, the owner/operator of Chick-fil-A, Auto Mall Parkway in Fremont, California. Inspired by this mentorship, Quick decided to transition into the restaurant industry. She later returned to Philadelphia, where she continued to learn from experienced operators like Stanley Webber and Chris Walsh.

In just three years, Quick went from being the Executive Director at Chick-fil-A Malvern in Pennsylvania to becoming the proud owner of her Chick-fil-A restaurant in the state.

The new store on City Ave, owned and operated by Quick, is set to create over 100 jobs, contributing positively to the local community. Quick, who grew up in North Philadelphia, expressed gratitude for the opportunity to give back to the city and empower future leaders.

“I am passionate about creating long-term positive change in my community and look forward to this new chapter in the place where I was born and raised,” she said.

Be sure to follow Sereena Quick on her Instagram @SrnQuick