Category Archives: #events

Be My Guest at Urban Entrepreneurship Symposium 2014

david tarver

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

For the past several months, I’ve been leading a talented team working to bring an important event to our area! Finally, this event is just around the corner — it’s the Urban Entrepreneurship Symposium taking place on October 10, 2014.  Momentum is building, and we’re hoping you’ll attend and help us spread the word by emailing a personal invitation to your friends and colleagues. We have provided a template below.

Click here to get your own  ticket — space is limited! We appreciate your support and hope to see you at the event.


You are cordially invited to attend the 2014 Urban Entrepreneurship Symposium.  Join us as representatives from business, education, government, and communities gather to explore ways to apply entrepreneurship to benefit urban communities.

Key topics at the seminar will include:

  • Proven methods for engaging urban communities to determine needs, and for translating those needs into products and services
  • Vivid examples of sustainable, scalable, and disruptive businesses that are solving important urban problems
  • Student-led business ideas that show promise for changing the urban social and economic landscape.
  • Strategic, legal, and financial support systems needed to ensure the success of urban entrepreneurs.

The morning keynote speaker is Dr. Jeffrey Robinson from the Rutgers University Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (CUEED), a leading figure in the urban entrepreneurship movement.  The luncheon will feature a talk by Jill Ford, special assistant to the mayor of Detroit for entrepreneurship initiatives.

The event is free, but space is limited.  Visit for tickets and see attached flyer for printing.

Friday, October 10, 2014
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library
1000 Beal Ave.  ▪  Ann Arbor, Michigan   ▪  48109

Thank you!

Don’t miss this gathering of urban-minded entrepreneurs!


Several months ago, I had the idea to form an organization that would encourage and empower entrepreneurs of all backgrounds to work on solving problems for urban communities. I called the organization the Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative (UEI). In the beginning UEI was just an idea, then it was a proposal, and now it’s a group of people working hard to bring that original idea to fruition. On October 10, 2014, UEI will present its first public event, the 2014 Urban Entrepreneurship Symposium. This event, to be held at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library on the North Campus of the University of Michigan, will convene innovators from academia, business, government, and communities to focus on the ways that entrepreneurs can solve important urban problems.

To get the entire scoop on UEI and the Urban Entrepreneurship Symposium,, visit the new web site: There you will find information about the Initiative and the symposium and acquire your ticket to attend the October 10 event. I’m looking forward to it, and I hope to see you there!

One more thing: as the title suggests, UEI has grown up now — at least to adolescence.  The organization has its own web site, supporters, and sponsors, so the original proposal will no longer be shown on I will always provide a link to my “baby” here, though.

Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference 2014

Having some fun at BEEC 2014

Having some fun at Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference 2014.

This past May 14-17, I had the privilege of participating in the Black Enterprise Entrepreneur’s Conference 2014 (BEEC 2104) in Columbus, Ohio. This conference, established and operated by Black Enterprise Magazine, is the largest gathering anywhere of African American entrepreneurs and business leaders.

Continue reading

When Flint Gives You Lemons…

Lemonade Day signups at New Jerusalem church in Flint.

Parents signing up for Lemonade Day at New Jerusalem church in Flint.

Kid businesses – that’s where many an entrepreneur got his or her start. Whether a paper route, or collecting used soft drink bottles, or mowing lawns, or selling lemonade, the seeds of entrepreneurship are often sown with that first neighborhood business a child engages in. On June 7, 2014, kids who participate in Lemonade Day will get the chance to experience the thrill of making and selling a product, a thrill that will propel some of them, no doubt, into a successful business career. Lemonade Day is a program that teaches kids the fundamentals of entrepreneurship by facilitating the creation of that most basic kid business: a lemonade stand. Continue reading

October 10 is Urban Entrepreneurship Day at U-M Ann Arbor

city Easternside_t700

What would happen if entrepreneurs focused their considerable intellectual and financial resources on creating solutions for urban citizens? What would happen if businesses focused on producing the two things urban citizens need most: products and services that solve the problems they face, and jobs? On October 10, 2014, at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library in Ann Arbor, we will begin to discover the answers to these questions. Continue reading

In the Lion’s Den: WDT on WTVN Columbus, Ohio

joel riley

Joel Riley, WTVN Columbus Ohio

David Tarver head and shoulders

In preparation for the Black Enterprise Magazine 2014 Entrepreneurs Conference, David Tarver was interviewed by WTVN talk radio host Joel Riley. The subject: how a technology “mogul” uses entrepreneurship to solve urban problems.



David Tarver to speak at 2014 Black Enterprise Magazine conference

BE 2014 conference bannerTechnology Mogul to Speak at the National Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference in Columbus, Ohio May 15, 2014

Inventor, engineer and entrepreneur grows basement start-up to
multi-million dollar international enterprise and now inspires others to do the same

Detroit, MI – While Bill Gates was building Microsoft and Steve Jobs was creating his first Apple Computer, W. David Tarver was pioneering the world’s first digital telecommunications simulator.  Unknown to most, Tarver launched Telecom Analysis Systems in his basement in 1983 and sold it 12 years later for $30 million.  Today, Tarver is on a mission to inspire the next generation of technology innovators. Tarver will be speaking and conducting a book signing at the 2014 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference at the Hyatt Regency in Columbus, Ohio on May 15, 2014.   Tarver’s session will take place from 9:30 am – 10:45 am.  Visit: for more details. Continue reading

Opening This Friday in Detroit: “Vanishing Pearls”

"Vanishing Pearls" producer-director Nailah Jefferson

“Vanishing Pearls” producer-director Nailah Jefferson

Entrepreneurs come in all shapes, sizes, and skin hues. The black oyster fishermen of Louisiana are a hardy, determined group of entrepreneurs whose lives and livelihood were upended by the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Now the plight of these African American fishermen is detailed in a new documentary called “Vanishing Pearls.” This fascinating film was created by Nailah Jefferson of New Orleans. Nailah is the sister of our good friend Jelani Jefferson Exum. Jelani and her husband Lowen live in Detroit, where the film is set to open this Friday, April 25. For information on venue and showtimes, click here. Here’s a brief synopsis of the film:

Following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Nailah Jefferson’s VANISHING PEARLS chronicles the untold story of personal and professional devastation in Pointe à la Hache, a close-knit fishing village on the Gulf coast.

The filmmaker delves into the worst environmental disaster in American history just as news cameras leave the scene of the crime. While 49 Million barrels of oil settle in the once vibrant coastal waters, a generations-old community of African-American fishermen pledge to fight for justice, accountability and their way of life.

To see the Melissa Harris-Perry interview of Nailah Jefferson on MSNBC, click here.

“Proving Ground” Day at Detroit Public Library

With outstanding DPS students on "Proving Ground" day at the Detroit Public Library.

With outstanding DPS students on “Proving Ground” day at the Detroit Public Library.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014 was “Proving Ground” day at the Detroit Public Library. On that day, I spoke to 200 (middle school and high school) students from the Detroit Public Schools about my journey through technology, race, and business as told in “Proving Ground: A Memoir.” Each of the students had received a copy of the book prior to the event, and it was clear from their questions that many of them had read at least a good portion of it. Some of the questions I got: “Why would you leave such a great job to start a business in your basement?” “Did you feel like you had to succeed or you would be letting your parents down?” This was my personal favorite: “If you loved what you were doing so much, why did you sell the business?” The Q&A session lasted much longer than I had anticipated — more than 40 minutes. This was an intelligent, engaged group of young people.

The “Proving Ground” event wasn’t just about storytelling though. We had a discussion about who entrepreneurs are and what they do, and I gave the students a challenge: clearly define a problem that you experience or witness in your community, and indicate how you might create a business solution to solve the problem. I offered to present a Mac Mini computer to the student who delivered the clearest, most compelling problem description. I didn’t know how many responses to expect, but it appears that nearly all of the students either turned in a written response after the event or posted one on later. When we announce the winner, I’ll post the information here.

I came away impressed with the quality of both the students and their teachers. The visit confirmed for me that these students do indeed have a hunger to change their world for the better, and that many of them want to do so through entrepreneurship. I’m committed to supporting their aspirations.

Thanks to Mr. Atiim Funchess and the staff at Detroit Public Library for organizing such an outstanding event. I’m ready to come back anytime.

Signing copies of "Proving Ground: A Memoir" for DPS students.

Signing copies of “Proving Ground: A Memoir” for DPS students.