start ups by Andre Burnett
the LAJ Foundation
The Business of Charity
t the time that this piece is being written I still haven’t had the chance to meet Kalpesh Patel, but I feel that even though I haven’t met the person, I might be well in touch with his vision. Our Start/Ups feature has showcased a variety of business enterprises, but Kalpesh’s LAJ Foundation is the first charitable initiative that we have featured. The Christian non-profit organization is based in Miami, Florida and its mission, according to Patel, is to aid and facilitate educational resources in Jamaican inner city schools through funding and donations from strategic partnerships with businesses and persons in local and international communities.
It is usually hard to get a handle on someone’s personality from a set of emails but Kalpesh’ shines through. Love, altruism and justice are the principles that the 22 year old University of Miami finance major, who was schooled at Jamaica’s Campion College, used as the base for his foundation. Patel, who accepted a scholarship to study abroad in 2006, says he developed a keen interest in philanthropy during his early years at college, especially after his English professor asked him to come up with a worthy cause for five boxes of school supplies that she had obtained. The seeds of LAJ were planted and for Kalpesh there was no turning back. It is usually hard to get a handle on some-
ing a duty clearance on the supplies and the other to the Food for the Poor charity, asking for assistance in carrying stationery supplies into the island. Kalpesh also indicates that the charity has expanded into a think tank with focus on education, but there are plans to move into health care. It is commendable that Kalpesh, a business student, has found charity to be so rewarding and his commitment to his cause is evident. The LAJ foundation seems to be on the right track by
one’s personality from a set of emails, but Kalpesh’s shines through. His commitment to the cause is evident when he writes about the children of the first school that was aided through the LAJ Foundation, The Pauline Gentle Basic School. His appreciation for the vice president and director of communication of the foundation, Kimberly Ho is noticeable as he makes sure to impress upon me the important role she has played in organizing the LAJ Foundation’s charity cricket matches, the donation drives and the contacting of businesses in the US and in Jamaica. Currently, the foundation stores its supplies in warehouse space that was provided by the Kiwanis Club of Kendall, a Jamaican service organization that’s based in Miami. According to Kalpesh, there has been some difficulty in removing the red tape that involves getting supplies into Jamaica. The foundation currently has two letters in place, one to the Ministry of Finance request-
targeting the youth of our troubled country, and it seems to be in the good hands of Kalpesh Patel.
the entrepreneur & Risk
o the eyes of those bound to desk jobs and shackled by daily work hours, the decision to leave the security (or confines maybe?) of employment to strike out into entrepreneurship usually seems like a maverick move. Conventional wisdom dictates that a journey into entrepreneurship is one that is taken by the risk-taker with nerves of steel and little regard for the stuff lesser people worry about. This is the view that has understandably persisted because of reports such as a high percentage of businesses failing in the first year and so on, but there is good reason to question the conventional view of the maverick businessman. The thing about statistics is that they can tell a completely different story when viewed from a different angle. For example, most of the businesses that are included in the “failed within a year” bracket are grocery shops, trendy restaurants, service stations and similar businesses, so unless you have an affinity for these kinds of busi-
nesses your risk potential should be significantly cleaved. Entrepreneurs are not risk-takers, they are naturally predatory. Predators in the wild prey on organisms that they have distinct advantages over and reside in habitats that offer the opportunity for them to excel. As such, entrepreneurs who succeed are the ones who analyze the business terrain and attack where they see a distinct opportunity to excel.
The thing is about statistics is that they can tell a completely different story when viewed from a different angle. The idea was put forward by “Tipping Point” author Malcolm Gladwell who cites research by Michel Villette and Catherine Vuillermot and used Ted Turner as a notable example. Turner had inherited a successful billboard company and through sheer boredom saw the opportunity to purchase a down and out television station. Many thought it was a bad idea but Turner saw the opportunity to acquire the television station with a stock swap which ensured that he put no money down. Turner’s accountant and lawyer were firmly opposed to the idea, but Turner being an expert ad seller realized that a television station would fit ideally into his existing business. Turner had billboards all over Atlanta which were empty 15 percent of the time, which means he had the avenue to advertise for free. So to a lumber salesman the purchasing of a television station might have led to his folly, but Turner used his assets to minimize what seemed to be a significant amount of risk.
In fact, the major risk that successful entrepreneurs seem susceptible to are social risks. What are your peers going to think when you leave that well paying job for the uncertainty of paying yourself? How will your social stock perform when you may have to downgrade your car to an older model? Of course all of that doesn’t matter to anyone with the right drive. And, if your business fails and you have to return to the job market, the contacts that you would have gained through your business dealings might be invaluable if that time comes around. That may be a lot less risky than
committing to a nine to five job and learning of a possible downsizing in a company memo. Now of course we can’t all be entrepreneurs, but maybe our views of entrepreneurs can be changed and possibly with a change in mindset there can be a change in the way we do business.
THe tablet wars
e may not have flying cars, jetpacks, subway systems that transport people without trains or even a decent teleportation device, but anyone who has held an Apple iPad will admit that the 1950’s vision of 2010 is fulfilled, if only in part. It is almost the Yuletide season and that means manufacturers will be keen to put out their tablet computer offerings. Though Apple currently has a 95 percent market share where that is concerned, the tablet market is definitely heating up. We take a look at the most anticipated competitors to Apple’s baby and see which, if any, we should commit our future to. (Pun intended)
The HP Slate The market just wouldn’t be fun if there were only Apples and Androids around would it? HP’s entry into the market boasts the Windows 7 operating system which could be a huge boost for this tablet. It’s a bit pricier than its competitors, but it is the most powerful of all the offerings with a 1.86 GHz processor and 2GB of internal memory. The BlackBerry PlayBook Unofficially dubbed “The Blackpad”, Canadian company RIM’s intro into the tablet market is highly anticipated with the company having one of its most creative years yet. A 7” touch screen with complete multitouch and gesture support, the Playbook sports a 1GHz processor and is fully Adobe Flash equipped (so much for Steve Jobs’ Adobe hate). The Playbook is expected to deliver the enterprising nature of Blackberry smartphones along with a sleek interface reminiscent of the iPad. Samsung Galaxy Tab The Galaxy is an Android based tablet and at 7” it is also smaller than the iPad. With 1GHz processor and full Flash support and dual cameras, the Galaxy Tab is causing a fair bit of excitement especially since the Galaxy is provided through Wireless carriers, which means it has the capabilities of a phone also. Imagine video calling on a tablet pc…sweet. The Dell Streak The Dell Streak is something of a cross between an iPhone and a tablet. It is considerably smaller than most of the other offerings and although far less capable in terms of performance, it does have portability on its side. Also Android based and Flash capable, the Streak will have a tough time in the market. yourmoney ezine
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