Chike Uzoka is the Founder & CEO of Valentine Global – a consulting firm that specializes in Entrepreneurship workshops, games, and curricula for kids, teens, and adults. He has clients that are schools, non-profits, camps, and companies in NJ, NY, PA, California, and Atlanta, GA. He is also Co-founder of Real People Motors – a worldwide community of car and automotive enthusiasts.
His first book, ‘The Young Man’s Guide to Entrepreneurship: 16 Things You Need to Know’ can be found on Amazon.
MO: What inspired you to launch Valentine Global?
Chike: 2 reasons: 1. The need for more deductions as per my CPA and 2. The need to expand my passion and love for teaching Entrepreneurship and talking about Business. With this current economic climate, the need for people having knowledge about Entrepreneurship has drastically increased. The old way of doing things is not working today. We cannot just go to school & get a good education (too costly), get a good job (no one’s hiring), work for 40 years for the same company (no more company loyalty), and retire on a pension, social security, and a rolex (social security has been running on fumes the last few decades, pensions are for teachers and cops mostly, and no one’s giving their employees Rolexes anymore.)
MO: How has your background and experience contributed to the development and success of Valentine Global, LLC?
Chike: Growing up in a household where education was a little bit more than stressed (I am the only one in my family not to attend Columbia University in NY), I’ve always had a thirst for more knowledge. That thirst is partly why I have yet to keep a job for more than two years: If someone else is going to pay me more to learn something different, something I can add to my tool belt, I’m gone! Working on Wall Street for almost seven years taught me how to deal with many different types of people, from young to old, wealthy to the not so wealthy, co-workers to executive vice presidents.
MO: Can you provide our readers with a few tips from your book “The Young Man’s Guide to Entrepreneurship: 16 Things You Need to Know?”
Chike: Do what you love, and love what you do! Too many of us spend time (and money) doing things we really don’t want to, or just don’t love, or even like.
Go with your gut! It’s our inner voice, it’s our conscious, it’s our heart talking to us. It’s something that we try to fight, whether on purpose or not.
Having fun in business is okay, and actually recommended. Teamwork makes the dream work, no one can do it by themselves.
MO: For our interview, you offered the quote, “Leap, and the net will appear” by John Burroughs. What’s the biggest risk that you’ve ever taken and how did it turn out?
Chike: Making the decision to leave my cushy, comfortable corporate job in Manhattan to become a full-fledged, full-time Entrepreneur. So far, so good (I think.) I’ve been able to stay in the apartment I moved into 3 months before I left my job, so that’s got to be a good sign, right? I honestly don’t think I would’ve accomplished half the things I have in the last two years if I was still complacent and running that rat race. When you’re operating in your assignment, 2 things happen: 1. Favor comes your way, and 2. People will tell you that you’re going to fail. I know I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing because of all the favor I’ve received thus far, and because of all the people who tell me I can’t do it.
MO: What are some tips for raising financially responsible children?
Chike: Teach them about money as early as possible, as soon as they start saying, “I want.” Show them your paystubs, let them see the household expenses, this shows them that money doesn’t just grow on trees. Mommy & Daddy go to work to make money, which they use to provide for their family. When kids think money grows on trees, they walk around thinking that their parents just pull the money from thin air. Teaching them about how money works, where it comes from, and where it goes is crucial in a child’s development.
MO: Can you talk about some of the ways that you’re empowering young people though Valentine Global?
Chike: I’m honored to have the opportunities I’ve gotten these last few years. Besides developing Entrepreneurial games and workshops, I’ve taught courses and seminars teaching the importance of knowing about the wonderful world of Entrepreneurship. I didn’t know about Entrepreneurship until I was about 25 years old, I feel that this next generation needs to learn about it much, much sooner! There are 10-year-old millionaires out there, and I’ve got to help foster more! I’ve been able to work with organizations such as the N.A.A.C.P., The National Urban League, The United Way, The Children’s Defense Fund, Columbia, Temple, and Rutgers Universities, and Black Enterprise.
MO: What advice would you give to an underserved youth looking to improve their circumstances but are uncertain of where to start and what resources and opportunities are available to them?
Chike: Do your research into whatever it is you like doing. Start at your local library, it’s the cheapest way to travel the world. If you like airplanes, look into programs for youth and airplanes; if you like to cook, look into cooking classes for young people; if you like to write, look into young authors or bloggers. The first step to becoming what you want to become, is believing that it is possible, and then making the decision that it will happen. The rest the Universe will help you with.