“Give Thanks. Spread Love. Be Blessed.” Not exactly the signature tweet you would expect from a man who earns a living as an Entrepreneur Coach. But if anything at all, Chiké Uzoka is just that…not what you’d expect. Chiké is the author of the book The Young Man’s Guide to Entrepreneurship – 16 Things You Need To Know and co-authored the book Boys to Men – The Guide For African American Boys.
That tweet, like many other Chiké-isms, is something you’ll come across first thing in the morning on your Twitter feed. And you might be surprised at just how often his 160-character window into your consciousness is not directly related to money or business. Again, not what you’d expect.
Chiké Uzoka was born in Hollis Queens to Nigerian parents. The family, including his older sister, then moved to Morningside Heights in Manhattan. Then to Nigeria for three years, then back to the US in the form of Jersey City, then to Matawan. He played basketball from 6th grade until he graduated Matawan Regional High School. I asked him what he wanted to be when he was a kid, to which he responded, “A basketball player…or a detective…until I found out detectives get shot!” After high school, Chiké attended NJIT and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology. Toward the end of his time at NJIT he entered the workforce working for a number of corporations like New York Life, Merrill Lynch, and JP Morgan Chase. If he was a betting man, he’d probably have put his money on a future in finance. But clearly, finance is not enough for Chiké.
Of course, he has a healthy respect for dollars and cents. In fact, one of the areas in which he works with clients of his firm, Valentine Global, is Financial Literacy. But he isn’t simply concerned with facts and figures. “We’re all connected dots,” he tells me as we sit across from each other in a small restaurant on Halsey Street. “I’m a dot. You’re a dot. He’s a dot. She’s a dot. And in some way, we’re all directly or indirectly connected to each other. You’d be surprised.” This is the world Chiké Uzoka lives in. A world of connecting, building, and growing. And it’s also one of the reasons people enjoy working with him so much. He’s honest. He’s relatable. He knows what it’s like to be fed up with your job. Chiké has literally lived all over the place so he’s very comfortable with people of different ages, shapes, and backgrounds. “I love meeting people. I love working with people. I have a passion for it,” he says.
Over the past two years, Chiké has worked with The United Way, NAACP, Greater Newark Enterprises Corporation, large and small non-profit organizations, schools, churches, and individual clients. I asked him what is one common misunderstanding people tend to have when becoming an entrepreneur, to which he replies, “People tend to believe that if you’re passionate it’ll be easy. Passion is needed, but it doesn’t necessarily make it easier. Building a successful business is hard work. What I do is help people match up their talent with a workable, sound system to achieve their goals.” He also says one of the most fulfilling things he gets to do is working with youth. In fact, he created his own curriculum and taught an Entrepreneurship & Economic Empowerment class at Rutgers University for their “Rutgers Future Scholars” program. And it is because of efforts like this, from people like Chiké Uzoka that lead me to believe that the future of Newark is bright.
#GiveThanks #SpreadLove #Be Blessed
You can reach Chiké directly online at:
Facebook: Chiké EntreprenerCoach Uzoka
The Young Man’s Guide to Entrepreneurship: 16 Things You Need to Know is available in paperback and on Kindle from Amazon.com