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Liberty Bank and Trust Company is providing $4 million in financing to the Detroit-based Entrepreneurs of Color Fund, a well-known loan fund that helps black-owned businesses in the Motor City grow.

The capital infusion by Liberty Bank, No. 3 on the BE Banks List of the nation’s largest black-owned banks, will allow the Detroit Development Fund to boost the lending capacity of its Entrepreneurs Color of Fund to $22 million.

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Thursday, 20 September 2018 13:28

Texas Black-Owned Bank Opens Branch in Atlanta

There are names synonymous with community banking in the city of Atlanta, George G. Andrews must be included among them.

For more than 10 years, Andrews served as president and CEO of Capitol City Bank & Trust Company, a black-owned community bank in the Southwest community of Atlanta.

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The parent company of several Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles restaurants emerged from bankruptcy this week when a Los Angeles judge confirmed a modified confirmation plan to repay creditors, it was announced today.  No further substantive court hearings are anticipated in the case.

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It’s been almost two years ago to the day that the Sherman Park neighborhood was literally set ablaze in the midst of tragedy. Since then, multiple private and public entities have moved into the neighborhood in an effort to heal the neighborhood. UpStart Kitchen, an incubator kitchen for entrepreneurs, is one of the latest.

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Opportunity Fund, the largest nonprofit lender to small businesses in California and national leader for the microfinance movement, announced today a campaign to identify, educate, mentor, and provide access to capital for women-owned small businesses.

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Over the past five fiscal years, federal government agencies have spent approximately $5 billion in advertising, but only a minute share — $327 million — went to minority-owned businesses, according to a long-awaited report from the Government Accountability Office.

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LendStreet, the financial technology and services company founded by Jerry Nemorin, announced it has raised an additional $117 million in its new venture capital round.

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Since the 1990’s, One-E-Way CEO Earl Woolfork has been working to create wireless headphones. With perseverance and hard work, he created a pair of headphones that makes wires obsolete.

Woolfork created the E-Clip, wireless external headphones that can connect through AirPlay, Bluetooth and Wifi. The E-Clip is the first headset to connect via AirPlay and transmit high quality sound, according to Woolfork.

“We don’t believe there is a headset on the market that works with AirPlay,” he said. “So, we decided to put together the design and build and manufacture.”

One-E-Way has started a Kickstarter campaign for the E-Clip with a goal of raising $30,000. If connected to Wi-Fi, the E-Clip can play music for up to 10 hours. Through Bluetooth, it offers 50 hours of music playback. It is also equipped with an invisible microphone. The product is manufactured in the USA and can be used when taking calls, streaming videos and playing videogames.

Woolfork has a background in electrical engineering, having studied the subject at his alma mater: USC.

“I thought they actually provided plenty of information necessary,” Woolfork said. “That along with work experience to actually understand how to put something like this together.”

With the product, Woolfork wanted to give the customer a chance to hear music as the artist would want the customer to without wires. The E-Clip can connect with tablets, smart watches and laptops.

“When you’re talking about uncompressed audio, you’re talking about no loss of sound quality,” Woolfork said. “Bluetooth does compress the audio, they do have some compression in there, but Wi-Fi with AirPlay does not.”

What ignited his work was an observation he made while exercising at the Santa Monica stairs around 20 years ago. Woolfork noted that wireless headphones in the late 90’s could only provide AM/FM radio.

“I noticed that as people were working out, it’s kind of a challenge to actually have that wire, it’s kind of dangerous,” he said. “So, I said ‘We can eliminate the wire and not just eliminate the wire, but actually do it with quality sound.’”

Building the technology was a “process” for Woolfork, earning his first patent took him six years. He currently holds six patents.

“We actually started designing and researching and figuring out how this could all come together and then found the patent application. That was filed in 2001,” Woolfork said. “One of the things that we learned is that you have to stay diligent through the process.”

Woolfork however, did not leave the customer without the wire option, the E-Clip does contain a 3.5 mm headphone jack.

“We wanted to make it an all-around device that would provide high quality sound based on our patents,” Woolfork said. “And the ability to be able to use it in any kind of lifestyle.”

In 2015, Woolfork created a line of wireless wearable technology, merging earphones with caps, beanies and sun visors. At that time, he released seven products.

“We launched our first product with our caps, so that was basically having the wireless technology inside the caps,” he said. “It was still kind of unique at the time, that was our initial launch into the market.”


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Workspaces are popping up all over downtown and midtown Detroit but there are not too many in the neighborhoods. Thanks to the Motor City Match program, Elite Detroit Leadership event space, co-working space, and entrepreneurial hub will be coming to the Six Mile and Gunston area by the end of 2018.

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J’Mel Dowdell’s thirst for entrepreneurial life started when he was young. “My mom and I moved to Los Angeles; we were living in a hotel for months,” he recalls. “She had a hot plate and she’d fry chicken and fish and make sandwiches. We’d go sell them in MacArthur Park close by. We used the money to survive. That’s really what gave me my fearless, entrepreneurial spirit.”

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