Minority business accelerators have launched in a handful of metropolitan areas in recent years as local businesses, chambers of commerce and economic development groups work to create more jobs and improve the quality of life in their regions. The Cincinnati accelerator, created by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber in 2003, has inspired officials and business people in the Greenville, S.C.; Charlotte, N.C., and Newark, N.J. areas to start similar programs.
A key goal of the accelerators is to help minority owned-companies win contracts with large companies.
Mentors at the accelerators act as advisers, meeting with company owners, helping them improve operations and build strategies. They also connect owners with big customers.
Local chambers of commerce and economic development agencies have launched accelerators to help minority businesses create jobs. Officials say the inability of minority companies to expand holds back a region’s economic growth.
“Look at the number of minority business enterprises and how many are able to build jobs. It’s grossly disproportionate from their majority counterparts,” says Nika White, vice president of diversity and inclusion at the Greenville Chamber of Commerce.
One reason for the disparity is that a small company may not have the infrastructure, such as computer systems, and the experience to operate on the level needed to fulfill a big contract, says Jeffrey Robinson, a professor of management and entrepreneurship at Rutgers University. He is working on the Newark accelerator.
“There’s a leap you have to take from the five-person company to a couple hundred, to being a multimillion-dollar company. You can’t run them the same way,” Robinson says.
The average New Jersey worker needs to work 121 years to match the compensation that the average New Jersey CEO makes in one.
That’s according to an AFL-CIO report released Tuesday, showing the Garden State’s top executives make on average $5.7 million. By comparison, the rank and file make on average $46,825.
“What these figures show is a recovery that is only rewarding the very rich at the expense of everyone else,” said Charles Wowkanech, president of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO. “The middle class is disappearing, and it’s because corporate profits are going into the hands of a very limited few.”
Michael Santoro, a professor of business ethics at Rutgers Business School in Newark and New Brunswick, said inequality is unavoidable and executives should be rewarded for building wealth and creating jobs.
But the social contract has gotten messy. CEOs have been rewarded with big pay days when their companies have created jobs only modestly, and, in some cases, performed poorly.
“I prefer to think of the problem of executive pay from an ethical point of view. (It) is less what they are being paid than what they are being paid for,” Santoro said.
On March 27, 2014 Scarlet Startups, a Meet-up focused on the entrepreneurial alumni and student community of Rutgers University, in partnership with Collective Entrepreneurs Organiztion, a Rutgers student organization focused on entrepreneurship, hosted a panel discussion entitled “From Rutgers to Founders”.
Held at Rutgers Business School in Newark New Jersey, two Rutgers entrepreneur alumni discussed “their work, their experience as entrepreneurs, and how they got to where they are." They were joined by a third panelist representing the New Jersey Economic Development Agency (NJEDA), a quasi-government agency that provides financial assistant to New Jersey small businesses.
Moderator Alfred Blake, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Programs at Rutgers Business School, interweaved the entrepreneur discussion with information about financial resources for startups provided by the NJEDA panel representative.
It’s official: the University of Alabama is on the record supporting racial integration – in the year 2014.
Last week Alabama’s Student Senate passed a resolution supporting the complete integration of Greek life at the university. The renewed conversation about race at the historically troubled campus began after a black female student with a 4.3 GPA was denied by all 16 of the school’s sororities. An earlier resolution supporting racial integration had failed by a wide margin.
Public pressure to respond to racism may be greater now than it was in 1963, when Alabama Governor George Wallace stood in the doorway of the school’s auditorium to prevent two black students from registering for classes. But in a practical sense, self-imposed segregation is still commonplace on college campuses and throughout American life. Malicious or not, it helps contribute to racial economic inequality.
Rutgers University Professor Nancy DiTomaso describes this system of voluntary segregation, which emerged since the 1960s, in “The American Non-Dilemma: Racial Inequality Without Racism.” Although de jure (“by law”) segregation is now illegal, de facto (“in fact”) segregation is still a reality. This is true for Greek organizations, which are often nominally integrated but severely homogenous. But de facto segregation extends to all parts of American life. Entire colleges, grade schools, churches and neighborhoods are separated along racial lines, producing distinct social networks in white communities and in communities of color.
This self-segregation causes inequality to reproduce itself. As DiTomaso has written, access to opportunity depends in part on the color of your skin:
Help is typically reserved for people who are “like me”: the people who live in my neighborhood, those who attend my church or school or those with whom I have worked in the past. It is only natural that when there are jobs to be had, people who know about them will tell the people who are close to them, those with whom they identify, and those who at some point can reciprocate the favor.
Wawa’s business model embraced evolution to become a major employer and economic machine in South Jersey and has expanded its reach into more markets with more products.
“They’ve really made themselves an important player in a lot of the communities here,” he said.
Convenience stores are much different than traditional, larger-format food stores, he said. This makes location critical for such stores, and Wawa clearly prioritizes this aspect.
“They’ll spend a lot of energy identifying locations that are along good traffic routes,” Kalan said. “Convenience is its own benefit for consumers. Wawa’s not going to compete on price, although they are very competitive in the gasoline market. Price is not where you compete in that sector, but on convenience, location, hours and the array of products offered.”
Raymond Rossi, an instructor on the faculty of Management and Global Business who has overseen the competition since 2011, said the types of businesses that made it to the final round of this year's competition represented a sea change over last year.
"We went from one extreme to the other," Rossi said, noting the absence of apps and Internet-focused business plans.
"This year, we had a group of students who were very passionate," he said. "They showed an enormous amount of knowledge, and they presented very viable business models."
The two top winners, both Rutgers Flex MBA students, started companies that provide traditional services. Brian Bergen, owner of interior landscaping company, won the $20,000 first-place prize. Paula Zwiren, president of Zwiren Title Agency, received $15,000 for second place.
Sarah Blessing, who graduated from the Rutgers Flex MBA Program in January, came up with the idea for TRAINgle, which is developing a fitness product with some flair. Her team, which includes Flex MBA students Aamir Khan and Leann Cosley-Richardson and recent MBA grad Joanna Trzaska, won the $10,000 third-place prize.
Around the world there’s a gradual but fundamental shift in the role auditors are playing for their corporate clients. More and more they are being asked to peer through the raw numbers and uncover insights into how a company is being run, its strategy, and the efficiency of its business processes.
Auditors are, of course, still required to perform their foremost statutory role – signing off on the company’s accounts for the past financial year – but corporate clients are increasingly expecting them to do more.
While corporate clients are seeking more from their auditors, the profession is also coming under pressure from investors and governments to pass judgment on the health of a company and its viability.
Auditors can now do so much more than they did in the past, but there are questions on whether audit standards and the financial accounting framework have kept up with the changes. The financial accounting reporting framework was developed in an era when collating and checking data was all done manually.
“It was basically a compromise based on the technology of the time on what you could measure and what you could verify,” says Professor Miklos Vasarhelyi, director of the Accounting Research Center at the Rutgers Business School in the US.
Vasarhelyi says these out-of-date standards are leading to a “bipolar” environment with regard to accounting and auditing. Inside corporations, management can access huge amounts of information. Yet they give only a very narrow set of data to the wider world.
The Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership (IEL) at Rutgers Business School will bring together more than 200 business, academic and government leaders to discuss the need for sustainable business leadership and how ethical, environmental, and social objectives can be built into businesses' core missions and operations.
Register today: The Ethical Environment of Business Sustainability
"A business has a responsibility to reward shareholders while ensuring that the communities in which it operates have the human and natural resources necessary to thrive in the future," said IEL Co-founder James Abruzzo.
Triple Play is a weekly NJBIZ feature that asks top executives in New Jersey to talk about three things related to their industry.
Brenda Hopper is the state director of the New Jersey Small Business Development Centers network, a public, private and educational partnership aimed at helping small business owners and entrepreneurs in the state. The NJSBDC is hosted at Rutgers Business School with headquarters in 1 Washington Park.
We asked Brenda for three ways the SBDC supports businesses in the state:
1) Technology Commercialization Program provides specialized assistance to science-technology companies that want to compete for federal grants.
2) NJSBDC E-Business Program has launched an array of webinars on all sorts of in-demand subjects, including marketing and branding, strategic planning, financial analysis and Sandy assistance, in addition to website development and using the Web to increase sales and marketing.
3) International Trade Specialty Program provides assistance to small business owners who need education about export matters, working closely with the U.S. Foreign Commercial Service, state government and other trade advisory councils to maximize efficiencies and strategic partnerships.
Mitchell Ezra thinks he made a good move.
The 31-year-old Piscataway resident is set to graduate with an MBA in May from Rutgers Business School. And he's already got a job lined up with Bristol-Myers Squibb. The future holds promise.
It wasn't as sunny in Ezra's world a couple of years ago, though. Ezra was a research biologist at a medium-sized company in the Franklin section of Somerset that was bought by a larger company. The office he was working in was moving to Boston.
It left Ezra with a choice: Pick up and move to the new location, or go back to his alma mater to pursue an MBA. He chose the latter.
"It's been excellent right from the beginning,'' Ezra said.
Rutgers' full-time MBA program is ranked 60th overall in the 2015 U.S. News & World Report rankings of nearly 700 programs worldwide.
Its 95 percent placement rate puts it eighth overall in the nation for getting graduates into jobs.
The school's part-time program is not too shabby, either, according to U.S. News. Enrolling a student body of 1,000 students at Rutgers' New Brunswick and Newark campuses, the program is ranked 39th overall, moving up 30 spots from last year's ranking.
Sharon Lydon, executive director of the Rutgers MBA program, said the new rankings — not yet released in print — are a reflection of the school's emphasis on student development and its focus on meeting the needs of employers.
"We're very employer-centric, trying to focus on employers' needs," Lydon said. "When we meet with recruiters, we find out what they're looking for, and we're very good at knowing our students."
Melissa Walker, president and founder of Jazz House Kids has been named by NJBIZ Magazine one of the Best Women in Business for 2014.
Walker is the visionary and pulse behind Jazz House Kids, a nationally recognized arts education and performance organization that bridges the gap in music education and transforms the lives of New Jersey’s young people, setting the stage for livelong learning. Over the past 11 years under Walker’s guidance, Jazz House Kids has brought music, mentoring, education and apprenticeship to more than 35,000 students from diverse backgrounds who have performed before more than half a million enthusiastic fans.
Rutgers Business School’s Flex Master of Business Administration graduate program climbed 30 spots in U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 part-time MBA program rankings.
That work experience was also one of the things that helped her land a Pharmaceutical Industry Scholarship, a coveted award that provides selected students in the Pharmaceutical Management Program with full tuition to pay for their studies.
“Things are getting very interesting,” says Hui Xiong, associate professor of management science and information systems at Rutgers Business School, New Jersey. “Google , Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft take the most private information and also have the most responsibility.” Because they understand data so well, companies like Google typically have the strongest parameters in place for analyzing and protecting the data they collect, he says. Those companies also understand that data is money so they are hiring the best talent in data science to perform their analyses. When analyzing collected data, data scientists should be very careful revealing their findings, Xiong says.
The professor believes big data collection in itself is pure technology; the ethics come into the analysis through scientists and company directives. “In my opinion, the government should have proper regulations about how and what kind of data should be collected,” Xiong says. “Also the industry should have some standards for the use of big data.”
An essay in The Atlantic examining the professional pitfalls and rewards of helping others cites research done by Neha Shah, an assistant professor in the Department of Management & Global Business at Rutgers Business School. "New evidence supports the notion that giving facilitates learning," the article states. "In a study of employees at a large consulting firm led by Rutgers professor Neha Shah, the highest performers were those who provided the most help to colleagues in solving task-related problems."
During a 55-year career in business and real estate, Jon Hanson has helped his development firm overcome the financial struggles it faced in its earliest days.
He has led a national health care provider out from under the cloud of a federal investigation. And, more recently, he has helmed an effort to revitalize New Jersey's once-proud sports, gaming and tourism industries.
All of those tasks had one thing in common.
"They all looked impossible when I had to start the project," Hanson said recently in Newark, speaking to a crowd of industry professionals. "But what I've learned over the last 55 years is you do a little bit at a time."
Dozens gathered March 20 at the Newark Museum, where Hanson spoke of the highs and lows of a career that began in the late 1950s, when he and his brothers followed their father into the real estate industry. He recounted the founding of his first development firm, which started as a mortgage company that was forced to finish a borrower's project.
Hanson detailed his lessons from that experience during his remarks last week, but it's his career as a developer that made him a marquee name for the Rutgers Center for Real Estate Studies. Ronald Shapiro, the program's director, said Hanson's success "is one that our program hopes to emulate" as it rolls out its offerings.
Mark Gorton knows what will happen on the day high-frequency traders’ computers get kicked out of the New York Stock Exchange.
“All you’re going to do is have a data center that’s across the street,” said Gorton, founder of the Lime Wire LLC music-sharing service and managing director of Tower Research Capital LLC, one of the most prolific equity traders in America. “Everyone’s going to want to put their computers there.”
“It’s true that grandma is not putting a computer in the data center to execute her orders,” Gorton said. “But when she routes her orders through a brokerage firm, that firm has an order and now actually the computer at the brokerage firm and the computer of the professional traders are on an exact level playing field.”
“Since the New York Stock Exchange started in 1792, some people have paid extra to be able to get information before other people,” Weaver said during an interview yesterday. “Before NYSE went public and trading was done physically, people paid millions of dollars to have a seat on the NYSE so they’d be co-located next to where all the information was occurring: right on the floor at the posts.”
Rutgers Business School's Flex MBA ranked among the Top 50 part-time business master's programs in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report's latest ranking of best business schools.
The Rutgers Flex MBA Program moved to No. 39 in the annual ranking, climbing past Temple, Fordham and Pace. The placement represents a huge boost, pulling Rutgers up 30 spots based on the results of U.S. News and World Report's latest survey of business school deans and MBA directors from across the country.
The annual ranking by U.S. News & World Report also showed that Rutgers continues to improve its post-graduation job placement – Rutgers Business School ranked No. 8 this year, climbing 10 spots over last year – and it lifted the Rutgers MBA Supply Chain Management Program to No. 13, ahead of both Columbia University and Harvard University.
The Rutgers Full-Time MBA program was ranked No. 60 – up from 61 – based on data collected from business school deans, MBA program directors and corporate recruiters in late 2013 and early 2014. The 2014 ranking confirmed Rutgers being the #1 Public MBA program in the New York metropolitan area.
“The biggest driver of the economy is small business — it’s the key to success — so we’re kicking off a tour of cities across the state, and today here in Camden we’re focusing on minority-owned businesses, but there will be focuses on other businesses as well,” said Senator Cory Booker, after being warmly received at the Waterfront Technology Center, on Federal Street. “We’re trying to bring information and resources to the people who need it, and, as a senator, I now have more leverage to bring folks who have that information here.”
The programs, presented on site and customized in advance, give participants an opportunity to learn and apply ethical leadership principles through case studies related to their industry and business unit. The IEL staff and consultants work closely with division managers and executives to customize half-day and day-long programs that focus on risk assessment and real-life ethical challenges facing their employees.
According to IEL Co-Director James Abruzzo, "With our team of industry consultants and our internal intellectual capital, we are uniquely positioned to meet New Jersey's corporations' growing needs for ongoing ethics training. We combine the best learning from academia and the experience of practitioners to present valuable training at a reasonable price."
Inequality without racism
Sociologist Nancy DiTomaso will speak on “The American Non-Dilemma: Racial Inequality without Racism,” March 10 at 3:30 p.m. in 120 Physical Sciences. Presented by Cornell’s Inclusive Excellence Academy, her talk is free and open to the public.
DiTomaso will share research from her book of the same title, in which she argues that America’s racial divide is sustained more by preferential treatment by whites of members of their own social networks than by overt racial discrimination. She is vice dean for faculty and research and a professor of management and global business at Rutgers Business School.
The Inclusive Excellence Academy offers programs with a focus on developing multicultural fluency, and customized courses and workshops designed for senior leadership, faculty and teaching staff, constituent leaders and community members.
Networking is a fact of life in the business world. Some research, from Rutgers University business professor Nancy DiTomaso, revealed that 70 percent of the jobs that people get in their lifetime come with some type of additional help.
"[Such as] someone who could give them information that other people didn't have, could use influence on their behalf, such as 'this is my friend, look out for them,' or someone who could actually give them an opportunity or hire them for a job," DiTomaso says. "So if Hispanics or blacks or others have higher unemployment rates, it may not be that they aren't networking, it may be that they don't have networks that tie them into where there are job opportunities."
DiTomaso explores that issue in her book, "The American Non-Dilemma: Racial Inequality Without Racism."
James Abruzzo, co-director of the Institute of Ethical Leadership, Rutgers Business School was interviewed regarding the ethics of Mississippi State University promoting a political candidate speaking on campus.
MSU officials may have violated the institution’s policy on political activities related to promotional materials for the university president’s former boss, U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, a candidate for re-election amid a heated primary election.
Multiple parts of the university policy on political activities appear to have been violated when MSU used taxpayer resources to publish and distribute photos and a news release about Cochran, an incumbent wanting a seventh term.
Experts on ethical actions of public, private and nonprofit leaders outside of Mississippi believe university officials made significant judgment lapses. James Abruzzo, co-director of Rutgers University’s Institute of Ethical Leadership, said all leaders face ethical dilemmas and must ensure they do not create the appearance of conflict of interest or favoritism. He said sometimes the appearance of these dubious activities is sometimes considered the same as a conflict of interest or favoritism, even if it breaks no laws or regulations.
Abruzzo reviewed MSU’s political activities policy and the news release resulting from Cochran’s visit and said the policy seems very explicit, going to great lengths to describe circumstances not permitted.
“While one could argue that the circumstances in question, however they are interpreted, do not break any policies, they certainly present the appearance of favoritism toward one candidate,” Abruzzo said. “The fact that the university may benefit from the candidate’s influencing government appropriations, simply exacerbates the situation.”
The John L. Weinberg Center, University of Delaware, will be hosting its 2014 Corporate Governance Symposium, “Governance Issues of Critical Importance to Institutional Investors in 2014." The Symposium will begin with a panel of institutional investors and will then continue with the presentation of four academic papers on topics that are of critical importance to institutional investors today.
“Philanthropy, Corporate Culture and Misconduct,” by Frederick Bereskin, University of Delaware, Terry Campbell II, University of Delaware, and Simi Kedia, Department of Finance & Economics, Rutgers Business School; discussant, Michelle Lowry, Penn State University, and visiting professor, the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
On a Friday night in late January, AMF Kegler’s Lanes filled up with young professionals arriving from work to relax and network. They traded stories about the daily grind, complained about their love lives, and shared weekend plans. Business and civic leaders rubbed elbows with newcomers, political officials with members of the clergy, and people from the private sector came into contact with their counterparts in the nonprofit world.
It was a typical scene in Charlottesville, except that it wasn’t, because they were all African-American.
In interviews with hundreds of people, Nancy DiTomaso, a vice dean at the Rutgers Business School, found that, “All but a handful used the help of family and friends to find 70 percent of the jobs they held over their lifetimes; they all used personal networks and insider information if it was available to them.”
In a New York Times article last year, DiTomaso concluded, “There’s no question that discrimination is still a problem in the American economy. But whites helping other whites is not the same as discrimination, and it is not illegal. Yet it may have a powerful effect on the access that African-Americans and other minorities have to good jobs, or even to the job market itself."
“That was an amazing presentation! The feedback we received was very positive.” – Jasmine Cordero, Managing Director of the Entrepreneurship Pioneers Initiative (EPI) part of Rutgers’ Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development – (CUEED) located in Rutgers Business School in 1 Washington Park Newark, Newark, New Jersey.
Mr. Sandeep “Sunny” Kancherla’s live address, at the NJSDBC Small Business Blended Learning event, was met with the kind of fervor synonymous with a real leader in the digital and online business space, but this was only in attest to the resounding success of the overall event.
The first Small Business Blended Learning event was fittingly held at Rutgers Business School, featuring the staunch support of local industry heavyweights like BusinessLearningTree.com, but it was the (NJSBDC) New Jersey Small Business Development Center’s Sandeep Kancherla, affectionately known as “Sunny” to his most diligent of students and partners, who lit up the scene and really touched local entrepreneurs where it matters most.
The school’s Center for Real Estate Studies announced Jon F. Hanson, chairman and founder of the Hampshire Companies, will serve as the first speaker in its Distinguished Lecture Series. He will speak at an event held March 20 at the Newark Museum, with plans to discuss development in the Meadowlands, Atlantic City and New Brunswick.
The school’s Newark campus announced last year that it would launch an MBA concentration in real estate, thanks to a new $3 million endowment to establish a chair in the field. The position will be named after Paul V. Profeta, president and owner of West Orange-based Paul V. Proteta and Associates Inc., who donated $1.5 million to the post.
Jamie Dimon is currently the top Wall Streeter in the CNBC 25 voting. The often blunt CEO of JPMorgan Chase rose up the ranks of Wall Street and, after being ousted from Citigroup by former CEO Sandy Weill, later went on to the top job at JPMorgan and is credited with leading the bank through the financial crisis relatively unscathed compared to other banks.
Of course, it hasn't been all smooth sailing: Dimon has navigated JPMorgan through the "London whale" trading debacle, a lawsuit over mortgage-backed securities and a lawsuit over the bank's ties with Bernie Madoff.
But, the head of America's biggest bank is still regarded as one of the best executives today, Longo said.
"Whether it's due to coincidence or due to his skill, there's been a tale of two cities between Citi and JP Morgan," he said. Dimon "was forced out of Citi, and Citi was ultimately near bankruptcy while JP Morgan thrived."
Optimal Solutions, Inc. (OSI), of Lyndhurst, has received a $225,000 National Science Foundation grant with the assistance and guidance of the New Jersey Small Business Center’s Technology Commercialization program which focuses on assisting science-tech companies in taking their innovations from the laboratory to the marketplace.
OSI delivers customized software applications that model, optimize and simulate complex industrial processes and is headed by Vijay Hanagandi, Ph.D.
As a recipient of an NJSBDC Small Business Success Award in December 2013, Dr. Hanagandi commented that, “The help received from the NJSBDC network’s Tech Commercialization Consultant Randy Harmon has been invaluable. It has essentially helped OSI chart a course to become a products company while maintaining its steady consulting practice.”
Dr. Hanagandi appreciates the NJSBDC network’s business guidance and help in securing the National Science Foundation STTR Phase I grant.
In addition to the current project, NJSBDC has assisted Dr. Hanagandi in winning two previous Department of Energy Grants.
The NJSBDC non-profit network is a federal-state-educational partnership. Its expert staff and business practitioners help small business owners and entrepreneurs with every stage of business development and growth.
The network headquarters is located at the Rutgers Business School in Newark. Its major funding partner is the U.S. Small Business Administration. The New Jersey Business Action Center is an additional funding partner of the NJSBDC program as well as other public and private grants/sponsorships. The NJSBDC network is an accredited member of the national association of SBDCs, with more than 1,100 centers and satellite offices throughout the country serving and assisting small businesses and saving and creating jobs across the nation.
Corporate culture (Unternehmenskultur) is a blend of the values, beliefs, taboos, symbols, rituals and myths all companies develop. Research demonstrates that ethical companies, with a culture and mission aligned with its values are, in the long run, the most successful. The same holds true for arts organizations (Kulturorganisationen): a healthy culture aligned with ethical values is what distinguishes the great arts institutions.
What are some of the other characteristics of an organization with strong culture and ethical values: openness and transparency – where employees who come forward with great ideas are encouraged and those reporting problems are not discouraged; respect and appreciation for the art – the leader’s role is to insure that employees are reminded why they are working there; and for arts institutions, particularly, an atmosphere where measured risk taking and creativity is encouraged - where artists are free to experiment and at times, even fail.