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

19-year-old-black-teen-real-estate-mogul-from-louisiana-already-making-six-figures

19-Year-Old Black Teen Real Estate Mogul From Louisiana Already Making Six Figures

Meet Shakira Scott, a 19-year-old African American teen real estate agent from Plaquemine, Louisiana, who has already earned six figures after just one year since starting her career. Her journey into the real estate industry began early with inspiration from her mom, who also works in the industry as a real estate broker.

Graduating high school at age 17, Shakira wasted no time diving into real estate. She took her pre-license real estate course while juggling her freshman year at Louisiana State University. Some questioned her decision, asking why she didn’t wait until after college. But she was eager to start, seeing it as a path to generational wealth.

“I know what I want from life,” she told Fortune. “I kind of felt like why wait when the resources are here and I can do both. Now I have an earlier start than others would, and I’m glad I [made] that decision. It was stressful and it still is kind of stressful, but the good always outweighs the bad.”

At the age of 18, she earned her real estate license. However, she initially struggled to make sales. In her first 2 months after getting licensed, she had zero sales. But in her third month, Shakira earned her first commission of $9,000 and has since gained momentum. Within a year, she’s already making six figures, consistently hitting the $10,000 mark each month.

“I’m not going to lie, when I got those first two commission checks, I kind of went crazy,” she said. “But after that, I was like, I’ve had my fun, now it’s time to just save and invest.”

Beyond sales, Shakira is focused on giving back. She plans to develop properties in her hometown and educate others through e-books and social media. With a TikTok following of over 125,000, she shares not just glamour but also insights into her journey.

“When I first started, I was kind of like a ghost,” Shakira said. “I wasn’t doing any type of advertisement, I wasn’t talking to anyone. I just kind of had my license and no one really knew. But once I came up with a good lead generation formula and stuck to it, things really changed for me.”

What’s more, Scott is balancing her real estate hustle with a marketing major at LSU. Despite some challenges, Scott finds fulfillment in helping clients realize their dreams.

“I want to be successful, I want to inspire other people, so they can see that age has nothing to do with your level of success,” Scott said. “If you want something, you can go and get it, and I just want to be that inspiration for people.”

Learn more about Shakira via her website at ShakRealtor.com

Also, be sure to follow them on Instagram @ShakRealtor 

owners-of-black-owned-hat-company-featured-on-espn-open-new-store-in-los-angeles

Owners Of Black-Owned Hat Company Featured On ESPN Open New Store In Los Angeles

Henry Dickerson and Ali Nervis, the founders and owners of Straw & Wool Hat Company, a Black-owned hat brand based in Phoenix, Arizona, that gained national recognition during ESPN’s Champion Black Businesses initiative, are celebrating the grand opening of their new store in Los Angeles, California.

The company has seen remarkable growth over the past year due to its commitment to craftsmanship, community engagement, and celebrating Black culture, solidifying its status as the fastest-growing national brand. Owners Henry Dickerson and Ali Nervis have worked diligently to make Straw & Wool the go-to for classic style with an updated twist and now they’re giving the world a look inside the new Southern California flagship store.

On June 8th, attendees will have the opportunity to meet the founders, learn about the company’s journey, tour the new space, and preview Straw & Wool’s latest hat collections.

“We’re excited because this move puts us right in the heart of culture on the West Coast,” said Nervis. “We can’t wait to connect with the community and develop a lot of new great relationships. When we look back–we are so grateful to ESPN featuring Straw & Wool in the Champion Black Businesses initiative. This past year has been an incredible journey of growth and the exposure we’ve received has been amazing. Our brand recognition has exploded and Straw & Wool will soon be a household name with the continued love and support that we’ve received.”

All are invited to join the owners and team of Straw & Wool Hat Company to celebrate their remarkable achievements.

Event Details:
Date: June 8, 2024
Time: 10am to 7pm
Location: Straw and Wool Hat Company, Mid City 5593 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90019

About Straw & Wool: Founded in February 2020, the founders have always had a love for style and each has had their individual experience with selling men’s accessories independently for several years. With Phoenix being such a transplant town having residents from all over the country, many of whom have a deep appreciation for classic hats, the team came together to create a destination for hat lovers and hat newbies alike. Learn more about the brand at StrawandWool.com

For press inquiries, contact classic@strawandwool.com or 915-241-0708.

black-nonprofit-leader-to-receive-exemplary-service-luminary-award-from-the-national-bar-association

Black Nonprofit Leader To Receive Exemplary Service Luminary Award From The National Bar Association

Toni D. Newman, Director of The Coalition for Justice and Equality Across Movements at NMAC (National Minority AIDS Council) in Washington DC, is being honored by the National Bar Association’s LGBTQ division. She will receive the Exemplary Service Luminary Award in Las Vegas this July at Caesars Palace. She also serves as the Chair of the Board/Managing Director for Transcanwork in Los Angeles.

Earlier this year, Toni was honored to be named The Leaders Globe Magazine‘s cover story of The 10 Most Influential Black Leaders to Watch in 2024. She was also named the 2024 Anthem Awards Gold Medal Nonprofit Leader of the Year for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Her work for equality for all regardless of race, sex, and gender is being recognized by her peers.

Toni’s memoir, I Rise: The Transformations of Toni Newman, is listed as #18 on the Goodreads Transgender nonfiction reading list. The memoir was turned into a short film, Heart of a Woman, produced by Alton Demore and British Director Keith Holland featuring Angelica Ross, Isis King, Justin Berti, Rachel Sterling, and Jason Stuart. They are working on a feature film for Heart of a Woman to be released in 2025.

Toni is a graduate of Wake Forest University and a candidate for her Juris of Doctorate. She is a 3-time CEO (St. James Infirmary, LYRIC Youth Foundation, and The Black AIDS Institute), and for the past 20 years, has been advocating for marginalized communities for health equity, justice equity, and inclusion across the board.

Learn more at her official website at ToniDNewman.com

For press inquiries, contact info@transcanwork.org

black-woman-who-once-worked-at-target-now-has-her-own-clothing-line-in-their-stores

Black Woman Who Once Worked At Target Now Has Her Own Clothing Line In Their Stores

Meet Jeneé Naylor, a former Target employee, who has launched her own clothing line in the retail giant. Starting as a team member in 2012, she climbed the ranks to store director, and now her fashion line is part of Target’s Future Collective brand.”My career at Target taught me some invaluable lessons,” Jeneé said, according to Because of Them We Can. “I learned how to pay attention to the details, mastered the essential art of project management, and transformed into an impactful leader. I honed my ability to strategize and execute plans, which has been such a useful tool within this creator landscape.”

Fashion had always been Jeneé’s passion, from sketching designs in high school to working in retail. Even while managing a team of over 200 at Target, she found time to share her style on social media, gradually building a loyal following. Her journey went from posting outfits on Instagram to running a successful website and a YouTube channel.

One of Jeneé’s proudest moments at Target was helping to open the first small-format store on the East Coast. It was a challenging yet rewarding experience that involved teamwork and collaboration across the company. Now, she’s come full circle by partnering with Target for her own clothing line.

“This is such a meaningful, full-circle moment that I’m honestly still processing,” she said. “I hope to inspire someone to go after their dreams and chase that thing in the pit of their stomach telling them to keep going. It’ll all pay off in the end.”

Her collection, the Future Collective with Jeneé Naylor, is now available both online and in select Target stores.

Learn more about Jeneé on Instagram @JeneeNaylor

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.