Entrepreneurs Around The World: Keith Thompson Jr.
Back with another... wait a minute, this is something brand new!
For those who have been following my Bloggers Around The World (#BATW) series where I have been interviewing amazing bloggers from around the world (hence the name), then you know how this works! If you haven't (click the link above to see what I am talking about then)!
This series will be a somewhat spinoff of BATW, but instead of bloggers, these will be interviews with entrepreneurs from any business/industry. Whether the business is small or large, non-profit organizations or for profit businesses, I will be covering them here for you all to see.
With that being said (and speaking of non-profit organizations) you should probably read in between the lines with who I am featuring for the first EATW series. If not, then just keep on reading, you will figure it out fairly quickly!
Formally introduce yourself to the readers bro!
Hello Kenon Thompson to you and all your readers. My name is Keith Thompson Jr., and if you all did not know Kenon and I are actual brothers. I am born and raised in Wyandotte, Kansas mostly around the 66104 area. I major in Business Administration concentration Project Management. Hobbies I enjoy are watching and playing basketball, working out, and catching new movies at the Cinemark. My personality is goofy, laid back, and adventurous although precise, I don't know why, that's just me.
What is Blu Collar Group and what is its purpose?
Blu Collar Group, Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit education and community organization recognized in the state of Kansas. Our mission is to expose at risk youth, ages 12-23, who lack vital resources to successful career exploration options. The underlying goal is to identify youth who receive low career and life training, then offer positive support systems to avoid the pitfalls that can hinder their lives.
When did you originally come up with the idea to start this non-profit?
The framework of the original idea to own a company came from growing up as a kid with low to no mentor guidance in a poverty stricken community. Times were changing and most men were not present in homes to raise and guide young men. I were blessed to have a Step-father who instilled morals and family values.
I developed the idea from a simple senior project while attending Devry University. At the time my peers were picking projects that they were so far disconnected from their major it was evident of their soon difficulties. I chose a more personable project to me and my community, something that effected my past, present, and future. Career growth, opportunities, and resources are were I found my niche. The project was so perpendicular to relatable communities issues that my professor deemed it an excellent chose of project from day one.
Later I did community assessment on all the common non-profits in our local KC metro area. When I read how the facts did not add up I concluded that some non-profit organizations did not give back to the community as adequately as facts list. That fueled my passion to educate the community and youth on career awareness because no other organization were going to execute the way I vision.
After months of research I created a niche that could only be ran non-profit, so that's how I landed in this business entity versus for profit. I did not want to sell my community a product, I wanted to sell them hope!
What are the current projects you have going on right now?
We currently have Project H.Y.P.E. (Helping Youth Prepare for Excellence) in its planning phase. H.Y.P.E. is a strategic marketing campaign used to promote the community need and links to active participation in the program. The campaign includes HYPE energy at fun events, fundraisers, community coverage and more. All while spreading awareness of the importance of the Blu Collar Group concept. Are main three focuses are Education, Youth Development and Job Training. It will aid in forming partnerships with local school districts, business, and sponsors to assist in promoting the operation. Event date is still in the works but aiming for end of May.
Who are your team members at the moment?
My teammates include Board of Directors Michael Coleman, Alicia Hollis, and Amber M. Along with my staff I have Cody Nott Web Developer, Simona Charles Fundraising Coordinator, and Ralph Clarett - Recruiter. We are small and independent although we are still open to new members of the Board of Directors, Staff, Committees, volunteers and mentors. Visit us at http://blucollargroup.org/volunteers/
Who are the people (whether peers, family, friends, public figures, etc) that inspire you as an entrepreneur?
Who inspires me?... Well, first off you inspire little brother! Your dedication, drive, and knowledge landed you your business how many years ago? Definitely you for starters Kenon. Next, Tech N9ne the co-founder of Strange Music. I research him and his business ventures and I were floored how he remained independent and in control. I totally wanted to bring that type of business structure to the non profit side for many beneficial reasons.
1) Keeping creative control of the organization.
2) Building our own Resource and Fundraising structure.
3) Owning rights to our logo.
All these factors allows us to open a door to show kids a better way to a successful career path. Several other investors (local and foreign) I research as well, but I will not bore you all with them all. All my peers and family motivate me to keep pushing everyday, whether we see each other or not. Just knowing that they are in the trenches with me gives me reason to keep striving for greatness!
Are there any future projects people can expect to look forward to in the near future?
Yes, be on the look out for a Tele-a-thon fundraiser in the future. It's going to go viral and Kansas City will be the pioneers of it. Also, look out for Blu Kitchen, it's a project I'm doing with this awesome Chef name Kenon Lamont Thompson... plug, plug. You will definitely see more of our merchandise apparel in the community so donate for your items on our website in the future http://www.blucollargroup.org/ Shout out to my partners and sponsors Elite Design, Youth City Network, Kenon Thompson Photography, Coppics Photography, Community Baptist Church, and more to come.
Let’s begin to end on a less serious note… what are the cities/states/countries you want to visit the most that you have not visited yet?
I want to go to Africa, Europe, Canada, South America, Australia.... I want to charter everywhere! Just as long as I can take my family and friends along. The only places I have been are Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and St. Louis. What's crazy is I have a passport too lol, anybody want to go on vacation?
What are the social media links where people can follow the organization?
Main Website: http://www.blucollargroup.org/
Contact info (E-mail): firstname.lastname@example.org
If you could give any last piece of advice to the readers about anything, what would it be?
Piece of advice I would offer to the readers is to wake up everyday to please yourself, your family, and God. Take accountability for your actions. Mend any loose ends in your life. Be open to constructive criticism if its from someone you love. Set goals and do not be scared to fail. Follow your dreams because most times to me that's how God shows me visions.
Most importantly understand the difference between a job and a career. A career has so many benefits to offer, the most valuable is the ability to spend time with your family and do what you love. There's over 150,000 unemployed citizens in the Kansas City metro area, if we do not shine light on the this matter the generation of youth may continue to fall through the unemployment pitfalls of life.
Although, the more citizens we can educate through the Blu Collar Group program, the more citizens can financially and emotionally support their families building security and foundation to each family. Strengthening core family values and enjoying life. That's my advice. That's what I live by.
Thank you so much Kenon Thompson for this interview. I know our family is proud of you! P.S. what you cooking!? lol