Recently announced book by Newark tech entrepreneur Anthony Frasier now available

The book is now available on

The book is now available on

Anthony Frasier, the Newark-bred tech entrepreneur who has started successful companies in the tech and media space, had his work widely reported on, and has helped incubate a burgeoning tech community here in town, released his self-published book, Don’t Dumb Down Your Greatness, in paperback and for Kindle yesterday.

“I’m going to give you the advice I wish someone would have given me when I first started out,” Frasier promises. “When I learned each of these skills I became a better entrepreneur, but most of all a better person.”

The efficiently-etched volume (it clocks in at 94 pages), whose cover is a callback to the movie poster for Spike Lee’s classic Do The Right Thing, is aimed at “young entrepreneurs of color [who] aren’t getting good advice,” according to the book’s description. He’s spent several years curating entrepreneurship advice for this exact community under the banner of The Phat Startup, the entrepreneurship education and media company he cofounded.

For instance, entrepreneurs are routinely advised to look first to their personal connections to raise money for their ventures – the “friends and family round” of funding – even when a rich uncle is not at hand for all, or to seek venture capital funding even when they often lack the connections or cultural capital to do this easily. Frasier understand these built-in limitations well, and promises to address them head-on in his book with both research and anecdotes from his own journey as an entrepreneur, and to offer affirmative advice that will help would-be entrepreneurs advance their startup goals.

Frasier recently told that he will be coming to Newark to interface with the public about his new book. Stay tuned for more on his plans as they develop.

Frasier previously co-authored How to Grind Like Diddy with James Lopez, who is a Phat Startup cofounder.

Don’t Dumb Down Your Greatness is available on


Newark tech pioneer Anthony Frasier will release a book about entrepreneurship in March

people cardAs cofounder of Brick City Tech Meetup, Newark native Anthony Frasier has been a leading light among the city’s technology and entrepreneur classes for years.

Frasier was the winner of a startup competition featured on CNN’s “Black in America: The New Promised Land – Silicon Valley” in 2011. He later merged his tech and entrepreneurship skills to cofound a successful venture — The Phat Startup — which started as a series of hip-hop inflected startup seminars and conversations with leading entrepreneurs; has been widely lauded and reported on by the mainstream business and tech press; and blossomed into a media company that produced a successful series of traveling entrepreneurship workshops named “Tech808.”

Frasier took the best of what he learned along the way and distilled it into a book that is aimed at young black entrepreneurs yet also relevant, he says, to all aspiring founders. The book, named Don’t Dumb Down Your Greatness, will be released on March 22.

“This book doesn’t have all the answers, but it has all the ones the young me needed,” Frasier wrote in a blog post announcing the book. Although his experience has been concentrated in the tech entrepreneurship space, Frasier said his book will still be useful for current and aspiring entrepreneurs whose interests lay far afield of technology. The book cites his own experience, the experiences of entrepreneurs he’s met, and is grounded in research data as well, he said.

Frasier said he has been approached by major publishers about authoring a book (which is no surprise — to date he’s already been featured in a commercial by one of the most well-known brands in the country), but he said those same publishers weren’t interested in publishing a book about this particular topic, so Frasier decided to go independent and publish the book himself. “It will be available in print, on Kindle, Nook, and as many stores I can get it on!” he said in his announcement. He told us the book will be “definitely just the first of many.”

Frasier said he’ll be holding engagements about the book around Newark, and that details are to be announced.

Stay tuned to for updates on Anthony Frasier’s plans to discuss his new book in Newark. Follow Frasier on Twitter @anthonyfrasier and at

How do I get capital for my business? A new initiative from GNEC helps area businesses navigate the process.

opportunities cardLast month, Greater Newark Enterprises Corporation (GNEC) officially kicked off their Technology Business Support Initiative (TBSI). Partnering with the Enterprise Development Center at NJIT, and funded by grants from JPMorgan Chase and Synchrony, the first two-day session was led by certified financial trainer Ron Quintero and covered financial modeling essentials for raising capital.

The goal of the initiative is to equip CEOs, founders, and principals with the financial skills necessary to valuate their businesses, discuss financial details with investors, and negotiate with and utilize different capital sources. The roughly 25 businesses in attendance learned the key aspects of developing financial models defensible to all types of investors and lenders.  Over the next 6 months, TBSI will offer in-class trainings, one-on-one consultations, and online resources to aid participating companies in preparing for funding. Valuations, attracting the right talent, and negotiating term sheets and investor contracts are a few of the other workshops planned.

GNEC’s overall mission is to help put business owners in positions to make better decisions about funding sources. It has positioned itself as a major urban business resource due to its history of providing microloans, training, and technical assistance to greater Newark entrepreneurs and businesses. GNEC offically relocated to NJIT’s Enterprise Development Center at NJIT in January. GNEC’s collaborative partnership with the EDC is intended to support Newark-based businesses and helps strengthen the entrepreneur support ecosystem.

For more information about the EDC, contact Jerry Creighton at For more information about the Technology Business Support Initiative Workshop, contact Chike Uzoka at

Curated vintage clothing and lifestyle shop opening at The Gateway Project in Newark

culture cardSince its launch last year, Gateway Project Spaces has been home to art exhibits, a culinary show, writing workshops, parties, and performances.

Now the spaces will add a new category to their roster: vintage clothing shop.

The new Reginald Parks Men’s & Women’s Vintage Shop will open at Gateway Project Spaces, located on the main concourse of 2 Gateway Center, next Friday, February 26th. The shop is the brainchild of Peter Winstead, Jr, who is both an accomplished recording artist and the creative director of brand strategy firm The Honors Program, which has produced the successful Guard d’Avant festival for two years in a row at Military Park (the festival will return this summer), and curated music events and programming for the 2015 Open Doors arts festival, The Gateway Project’s Winter Fête, and the Newark Business Hub’s launch event.

The name of the shop is an homage to two of Winstead, Jr.’s personal heroes who together represent the top tier in commerce and taste: Reginald Lewis, the first black person in America to build a billion-dollar company, and Gordon Parks, a renaissance man of the arts who was the first black American to direct and produce major motion pictures.

Although Winstead, Jr. and the Honors Project are perhaps best known for music and event production, Winstead, Jr. actually worked first as a fashion stylist, as a marketing consultant for brands like And 1, and in sales and management for high-end labels and boutiques including Schott Brothers, Ralph Lauren, and Pieces NYC. “Its been a long-time dream for me to one day open my own shop, and now here we are!” he said in a recent email announcing the pending opening.

In a callback to his music and event production chops, Winstead, Jr. will also be infusing his own taste into a curated series of live music and other events, one of the benefits of co-locating his shop at The Gateway Project, he said. (Another: direct connection to Newark Penn Station, which offers potential channel to customers and audiences further afield of Newark.) The February 26th kickoff event, dubbed “The Kickback,” will feature live music performances and DJs.

In the runup to launching, Winstead, Jr. has hosted a series of “Cocktails and Garments” preview events at the location on Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. With music, cocktails, and Winstead, Jr. himself on hand to walk patrons through the various vintage sartorial choices available at the shop, the events are meant to project the vibe of store once it’s fully launched.

Reginald Parks Vintage Boutique is located at Gateway Project Spaces, Suite 201 in 2 Gateway Center.

Ahead of summer story writing contest for youth, literacy organization seeks local business support

participate cardTo celebrate Newark’s 350th anniversary, Butterfly Dreamz, Inc., a nonprofit organization that teaches the art of storytelling in order to develop literacy and leadership skills in youth and adults, will be hosting a short story competition for Newark youth ages 12 to 18 this summer. Butterfly Dreamz is helmed by Joy Lindsay, herself a children’s book author with credentials in nonprofit management and educational leadership, and supported by a diverse group of ten advisory board members representing a spectrum of professional experiences.

Students entering the competition will have a chance to win a $1,500 cash prize, and winning entries will be included in a children’s book to be published this November. Butterfly Dreamz will also host a series of free “I Am An Author” writing workshops in July and August, where participants will learn how to create powerful short stories in preparation for the competition itself.

In addition to showcasing the stories of Newark students, Butterfly Dreamz also intends for the children’s book to promote local businesses: Newark entrepreneurs and local business that sponsor the competition and its creative writing workshops will be featured in the upcoming book. Although the competition won’t open for students until the summer, businesses can sign up as Community Sponsors now. Community Sponsors can help in a number of ways, including donating food for student author workshops or purchasing ad space in the children’s book.

Through this competition, Butterfly Dreamz hopes to combat the “summer slide” phenomenon, where students fall behind due to educational inactivity during the summer months. Summer slide has been cited as a significant factor in the student achievement gap, and the competition is meant to help Newark students actually build their reading skills instead, by providing them with a fun, guided, and incentive-based opportunity to build their literacy skills, all while discovering and writing about their city.

Butterfly Dreamz has already been working in the community on literacy programs through a series of partnerships with schools and other community organizations. The organization currently facilitates weekly “Girlz Group” sessions at West Side High School, a weekly “Building E-books” course at the Newark Boys and Girls Club, and monthly “HerStory” workshops with Newark G.A.L.S., Inc.

Butterfly Dreamz expects this unique children’s book to reach beyond Newark and to be used by students, families, and education professionals nationwide.

More information about becoming a sponsor can be found on the Butterfly Dreamz website at

Newark-based company behind world’s largest vertical farm feeds local appetite for fresh produce

business cardNewark’s Ironbound section is a highly regarded dining and food destination. It is also home to AeroFarms, the world’s largest indoor vertical farm, currently under construction on Rome Street.

While the facility is being completed in time for a grand opening scheduled for later this year, AeroFarms, the company behind this new way to grow nutrient-dense leafy greens and herbs without sunlight, rain, or soil, has set up another commercial farm at 400 Ferry Street, the former home of a paintball facility that is less than half a mile away from Rome Street, bringing together one overall 100,000 square feet farming operation.

Recently, AeroFarms joined forces with the Ironbound Business Improvement District (IBID) to host a tour and tasting of several different leafy greens harvested at peak flavor grown with no pesticides and up to 95% less water than traditional farming.

“The Ironbound is a food-centric community, and having ‘Newark Fresh’ produce available to local residents as well as the hundreds of restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops, markets and other food-related businesses in our district is a perfect match,” said Seth A. Grossman, the IBID’s Executive Director. “Newark’s business sector now includes a significant and growing number of food-related companies and we are proud that many, like AeroFarms, call the Ironbound home.”

In his welcome to local business owners and IBID board members, Marc Oshima, AeroFarm’s Chief Marketing Officer and Co-Founder, noted that the company’s mission is to combat our global food crisis through technology and has been building and operating indoor, vertical farms since 2004. “Our passion is great tasting food and sharing our harvest with the world,” Oshima stated. “There has never been a greater need for safe, dependable and nutritious food; that’s why we are committed to growing locally and sustainably on a global scale.”

AeroFarms has said it is committed to the local communities where their facilities are located. In Newark, the company is working to revive older buildings in the Ironbound and hopes to create local, year-round jobs and partner with schools to bring students hands-on farming experiences that foster greater connections to food.

AerofFarms' research and development farm. Source:

AerofFarms’ research and development farm. Source:

AeroFarms grows more than 250 different specialty leafy greens and herbs. At the recent event, guests sampled peppery arugula, spicy ruby streaks, bright watercress and tangy tango.

Octavia Marinho, who manages Teixeira’s Bakery on Kossuth Street, said she was impressed by the explosive taste of the greens sampled plain and in a salad prepared by Chef Reggie of Mompou Tapas Wine Bar & Lounge for the event. Marinho must stick to a gluten-free diet for health reasons, and said she is always looking for better-tasting alternatives to what she thinks is the wan flavors of most lettuce and spinach. She said she is thinking of ways to incorporate the AeroFarms greens into new lunchtime salad combinations at Teixeira’s.



Currently, AeroFarms greens including baby kale, baby arugula, baby mizuna, baby watercress, and “spring mix” can be purchased at ShopRite of Newark on Springfield Avenue and at ShopRite of Brookdale in Bloomfield.

AeroFarms also hosts a farm stand at the 400 Ferry Street facility every Wednesday from 3:00 until 6:00 p.m., where local residents can taste and purchase freshly harvested baby greens. Restaurants and food businesses are welcome at the community farm stand as well.


Businesses interested in buying fresh greens can contact AeroFarms directly at to be added to their contact list. AeroFarms sends out weekly emails of product availability on Tuesdays and they can be picked up throughout the week. For more information, email

For more information about programs and services provided by the Ironbound Business Improvement District, visit You can also follow news from the Ironbound District through social media at

The Pop-Up Boutique bringing Valentine’s love to Brick City

things to do cardThe Downtown Market, a pop-up shop comprised of fifteen local fashion and beauty brands, has set its sights on providing Newarkers with one-stop shopping for the Valentines holiday. Through a series of festive events, weekly giveaways and seasonal promotions, the pop-up shop is giving downtown retail a makeover and proving that Newark is for lovers.

Melvin Sykes of Assurance Realty Group, LLC, the residential and commercial real estate agent at the helm of the project, regularly arranges for vacant retail spaces to be transformed into short-term pop-ups for bourgeoning fashion brands. Launched in early December, the Downtown Market features exclusive collections from area designers, vintage fashion, handcrafted personal care products and jewelry. Originally named the Downtown Holiday Market, the boutique at 744 Broad Street began rebranding after overwhelming demand convinced Marie Brown of Emerita Urban Renewal to extend its run through the end of February.

When tasked with shifting the focus of the pop-up from holiday gift giving, Sykes said he recalled a 2015 article in which Newark ranked amongst the worst US cities for Valentines. Convinced that the world should be introduced to the city’s many hidden treasures, Melvin Sykes resolved that his pop-up would offer products and programming that would repudiate the claims made in the article.

“The article based its rankings on the number of Valentines-friendly shops and attractions available in a given city. The metrics overlooked the unique offerings here in Newark, and I wanted to use the pop-up as a showcase for the type of local artists and entrepreneurs that weren’t considered by’s study,” he said.

Sykes was also behind the M&M Mars-hosted pop-up at the National Newark Building, which delighted residents by providing thousands of costumes to Newark children this past Halloween. Shifting from candy to couture isn’t a leap for Sykes, who has been quietly leveraging relationships with business owners to advance his personal mission of showcasing the best that Brick City has to offer. Reflecting his resounding love for the city of his birth and its potential, Sykes’ tagline “‪#‎WhyNotNewark” counters longstanding stigmas around the city’s reputation.

“It’s an honor and a labor or love to introduce designers to the downtown storefront experience. Incubating their talent, drive and creativity in these spaces is an important way to enrich downtown and ensure that artists’ voices aren’t drowned out amidst the city’s ambitious development plans,” Sykes said.

The Downtown Market will host a weeklong series of chic shopping events, treating customers to complimentary brunch and product giveaways including concert tickets, skin and hair care gift sets and high-end outerwear. As a final nod to the 2015 article, the market will host a day-long Valentine’s Day event featuring live performances, giveaways and discounts on a variety of gifts for lovers of love, of fashion and, of course, of Newark.

Have your say in the formation of a new business improvement district for the West Ward

business cardNewarkers are invited to discuss a business improvement district for the West Ward on Wednesday, December 16th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The proposed district would be located on South Orange Avenue and run from Dover Street to Bergen Street.

The meeting will be held at Speedway Academy (701 South Orange Avenue).

A business improvement district is a public-private business and community development partnership established by municipal ordinance. Their goal is to revitalize communities and provide enhanced services, including programming, marketing and advertising, streetscape improvements, snow removal, and other business development programs.

Seth A. Grossman, founder and executive director of the Ironbound Business Improvement District, is assisting with the planning process. “The introduction to the West Ward [business improvement district] is a chance for the community to learn about business improvements districts and provide input into this planning process,” stated Grossman. “This meeting is at the beginning of the process, and in a few months another community meeting will be scheduled at the end [of the] process to present the findings and proposals, ” he added.

The City of Newark, the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation, West Ward Councilman Joe McCallum, the West Ward Economic Development Corporation, and the Unified Vailsburg Services Organization are sponsoring the meeting.

This meeting is open to the public. Featured image: Google Maps Streetview

Newark Business Hub Program introduces itself with slick introductory video and issues a call for applicants (video)

Read to apply? Applications are due Friday, December 18th.

opportunities cardIn a new two-and-a-half minute video, the soon-to-launch Newark Business Hub, to run out of Rutgers Business School’s Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development (CUEED), makes its formal pitch to prospective program fellows for why they should join the program for early-stage businesses. The video features a dozen Newark entrepreneurs and creatives.

The Hub program, a brainchild of Femworks CEO Kimberlee Williams, is meant to help upstart creative entrepreneurs in Newark and the surrounding area strengthen and expand their ventures, position themselves to take advantage of local, national, and international markets and, in the process, eventually become economic engines in their own right. (CUEED is lead by Lyneir Richardson, former CEO of Brick City Development Corporation, which has since been renamed the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation).

The core thesis of the Hub program: that while talent and scrappiness are keys to starting up for creative business, it takes business acumen, planning, resources, and networks in order for those businesses to grow and sustain themselves. Another core principle is that while grassroots entrepreneurial energy and activity is bubbling up in the city on its own, creative entrepreneurs would be well-served to leverage Newark’s current strategic position to get scale for themselves and create an ecosystem of independent ventures that generate jobs and help develop the local economy.

jeff billingsly

Cobblestone Multimedia CEO Jeff Billingsly in a screengrab from Newark Media Hub’s introductory video.

The video itself was produced by LeRon Lee for Cobblestone Multimedia, a Newark-based production company founded by Jeff Billingsly, who is also one of the program’s four entrepreneurs-in-residence (EIRs). The clip features both aerial and on-the-ground shots of downtown Newark; longer-form biographies of Williams, Billingsly, photographer and Femworks Chief Operating Officer Tamara Fleming, and musician and The Honors Program creative director Peter Winstead, Jr., all EIRs; plus footage of a handful of other Newark-based entrepreneurs and artists (including the author).

Appropriately, the saxophone riff from Queen Latifah’s song U.N.I.T.Y. loops in the background as city entrepreneurs and creatives pose in various locations downtown: in Lincoln Park; on Broad, Market and Halsey Streets; at Military Park and Riverfront Parks; at The Gateway Project; and at Skylab rooftop lounge.

Newark Business Hub graphic featuring the program's four Entrepreneurs-in-Residence. Fellowship applications are open through December 19th.

Newark Business Hub graphic featuring the program’s four Entrepreneurs-in-Residence. Fellowship applications are open through December 18th.

The program is open to early-stage entrepreneurs in creative fields — namely music, film, news, fine arts, and creative services — whose businesses have been formally registered and operating for at least one year.  Up to 20 entrepreneurs will eventually be accepted into the program after completing a written application, due Friday, December 18th, and completing a telephone interview if invited to do so.

Program fellows will have access to a number of capacity-building services, including executive education, mentorship, access to state of the art facilities and equipment at the “Express Newark” space to launch in the Hahne’s building, networking, professional services, business planning, and student talent, among other resources.

Prospective fellows and others interested in the program can join a live video chat on Wednesday, November 25th at 4 p.m. The program will also host the invite-only Newark Business Hub Live Session at The Gateway Project on Thursday, December 3rd at 4 p.m.

Watch the full video below.

Learn more about the Newark Business Hub on its website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

How it happened: Melvin Sykes gives us the background story about how the M&M’s pop-up shop came to Newark

business cardMars Chocolate announced recently that M&M’s would be bringing a Halloween pop-up shop to Newark. The shop, which is open to parents or guardians and their children through  7 p.m. Wednesday night, saw lines snaking from its 744 Broad Street storefront location around the block to Clinton Street.

Melvin Sykes, a Newark native and residential and commercial real estate agent with Assurance Realty, gave us the background on how the shop came together. Just off the heels of his successful fashion pop-up shop in the same location, Sykes plans to expand the pop-up concept further into the holiday season and beyond.

Andaiye Taylor: How did the M&M pop-up deal come together?

Melvin Sykes: It was a meeting of the minds with Larry Abel and Marie Brown Moore of Emerita USA, who is the landlord of 744 Broad Street, also known as The National Newark Building.  We also worked in conjunction with Newark Downtown District, who provided security and support for the event.

Taylor: How did M&M find you?

Sykes: Larry Abel of Abel McAllister Design, a company that specializes in event production and brand marketing, was in search of a centrally-located space for a client to distribute fifteen thousand costumes to the children of Newark. He came across my Newark Pop-Up Shop signage from the previous fashion event I put together . We met, and the space met the client’s criteria. That client happened to be M&M’s.

Taylor: What are your plans for bringing together more pop-up engagements like this in the future?

Sykes: I’m in talks with various landlords to create pop-up stores and seasonal holiday markets in vacant retail spaces both downtown and in other Newark neighborhoods.

Featured image courtesy Melvin Sykes