Young Black Entrepreneurs & Innovators Share What Inspires Them To Succeed
Jean Alerte: Author, Speaker and Business Owner, Haitian. Born in Port Au Prince, Haiti, raised in Brooklyn, NY
Jean Alerte received recognition from the U.S. House of Representatives and was awarded the NAACP Freedom Fund Entrepreneurial Award, the Black Celebration “Trailblazer of the Year” Award, and the Young, Gifted & Black Entrepreneurial Strategic Marketing Award in 2012. Alerte is also the youngest member of the Caribbean Chamber of Commerce to receive the Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2013. His company Alerte, Carter, & Associates has produced comedy concerts and tours with major acts such as Kevin Hart, Chris Tucker, and more. He recently partnered with Beyond the Boroughs, a national 501-c3 to form the “Do Right, Do Good Scholarship Award” named after his book. In 2012, Alerte and his wife opened Brooklyn Swirl, the first frozen yogurt shop in the heart of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
Jean Alerte: Two people who have really influenced me are: Reginald Francis Lewis and Dr. Dennis Kimbro. Lewis was a lawyer and the first Black billionaire. Lewis talked his way into Harvard Law School and became one of the top lawyers in New York. His strategies on how black men should do business still apply today.
Dr. Dennis Kimbro inspires me because he went out of his way to show African-Americans the multimillionaires and successes that the media doesn’t show; people besides athletes, movie stars, and the like.
What I’ve learned about being a black entrepreneur in America was something my parents instilled in me as soon as I arrived in the U.S. My mother would always say, “Do not make any excuses. Don’t say you can’t do X because you’re Y.” In our household I learned that I came from an island of doctors, lawyers, architects, presidents, and a litany of strong people. I grew up believing, there is nothing I can’t do in America. I understand it’s hard, because in the media all we see are negative images. So it’s important for me through my book and my other programs to try to help our community break that cycle.
What I would tell those following behind me is that I am just like you. You can do whatever it is you want to do as long as you don’t make any excuses and are not fearful. Follow your passion! Make sure that no matter what business or path you follow that you don’t compromise your values. Having people around you who are also passionate will push you forward along your own trajectory.