Tulsa Initiative nonprofit serving young black men trying to get into business

Qu'Derrick Covington, who serves as chief diversity officer at the Florida Institute of Oceanography and graduated with an undergraduate degree, spoke with a White House committee on racial inequality in marine science on July 20.

A program dedicated to young black men is changing the lives of locals, one small business at a time.

“The Tulsa Initiative is a nonprofit in Fayetteville where we recruit black and brown male entrepreneurs, ages 18 to 25, through a 10-week program,” said Qu’Derrick, executive director of the Tulsa Initiative Covington said.

During the program, young people learn how to start their own business and how to obtain an LLC license, he said. At the end of the 10-week program, the young people market their businesses for a chance to win start-up capital, Covington said.

He said the funds were provided by community donors who helped nine young people start their own businesses. Two of the businesses are a social media marketing company and a health and wellness company, Covington said.

Naviyea Adams, a 23-year-old former Tulsa Initiative member, is a native of Fayetteville and a graduate of EE Smith High School. He is now a senior in health and physical education at Fayetteville State University. Adams said he benefited greatly from the skills he learned during the project.

Naviyea Adams estimates he has made nearly 20,000 tins over the past few years.

Adams said he started baking cakes in a jar in high school and turned it into a small business called Navi’s Sweet Treats. He said he first started baking when he was seven.

“Once I graduate, I do plan to stay away from cake,” he said.

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Adams now also runs a small business called MIA Beauty Supplies with his father, John Adams. Adams said his father had been selling hair products for more than 30 years before bringing him into the company.

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