January 27, 2008
NOLA SUNDAYS!!!!!!! ~~ Omar Aziz, Jr.
Talking with Omar Aziz, Jr. is passion personified. He is extremely poised and precise in his vision. That in itself is enough to get you off of any insecurities you may be shouldering and onto pursuing something ~ even if its not the goal you intended, but opening yourself to benefiting from the path along the way ~ the journey where you just may find the answer to your dreams! This kind of intuitive, dream based driven motivation should keep you flying high all week and get you to examining your goals ~ and feel free to contact Mr. Aziz for more clarity!
Growing up there was a great exposure to entrepreneurship in your home. What is the greatest lesson your parents taught you?
I was born in New Orleans, a city of romance, charm and the world’s greatest foods. I grew up happy but perpetually baffled as to how my mother’s baking skills and my father’s ability to peddle homemade pies from a basket managed to support the family.
I had my first major encounter with entrepreneurship at the early age of 16. As a youth, I was content with sampling pies — not baking or selling them — until my mother encouraged me to help bake pies for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. The festival put money in my pocket and a new respect for business in my mind. My family has been a part of this festive celebration of Louisiana culture, music, crafts and food since 1976. It was later, as a college student, that I began to test my entrepreneurial leaning. My college studies and my success selling pies at the Jazz festival and in the University of New Orleans dormitories, prompted me to put the two together. I applied what I learned in my business courses. I became a student entrepreneur bridging the gap between academic theory and business practice.
My talent for marketing and business development fueled the rapidly expanding pie business. I began selling pies in the French Market, at the 1984 Worlds Fair and soon opened pie shops in the French Quarter Marketplace, Jackson Brewery, Canal Place and in New Orleans’ famous Riverwalk Mall. I made special appearances at the Dixieland Jazz Festival in California, Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Fanueil Hall in Boston, South Street Seaport and Bloomingdale’s in New York as part of the “Taste of Louisiana” promotions. I have also been the focus of numerous feature stories on ABC, CBS, NBC, local affiliates and in local and national publications. I co-host and produce a new television show entitled, "The Economics of Success" ~~
"As the founder of the American Student Entrepreneurs Association and the Urban Institute for Entrepreneurship Education, Omar has been a leading advocate for the inclusion of entrepreneurship in public education. He has gone from selling pies to teaching students and adults how to get their "piece of the pie"."
In November 1993, Entrepreneur Magazine featured my widely shared entrepreneurial equation — “K + A + C = E3 .” I also offered a series of “Building a Business” seminars at Barnes & Noble entitled "How to Get Your Piece of the Pie: 12 Secret Recipes for Entrepreneurial and Small Business Success."
I am currently the Executive Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Development and am available for public speaking, workshops and one-on-one entrepreneurial coaching. This has become my life's mission. I believe that no one should go through life without getting their piece of the pie ~~ the American dream of ownership.
You have an initiative P.I.E. What are the goals?
Participating In Entrepreneurship (PIE) is an innovative intellectual capital development system designed to foster entrepreneurial thinking and new business startups in one year or less. PIE defines a new business as one that has met all local, state and federal filing and licensing requirements, and has completed a written business plan.
The PIE system integrates personalized assessments and computerized testing to identify participants’ learning needs. The preliminary assessments, and one-on-one coaching from business professionals, personalize the process — generating goals that can be achieved, and results that can be measured. Participants who complete the program successfully start businesses and recognize their entrepreneurial dreams.
How do you see P.I.E. impacting the community?
Did You Know…
The dream of many students is to become self-employed. Results of a US Department of Commerce study show that youths' strong interest in starting a business derives from the freedom associated with being their own boss. According to a Gallup Poll study done in conjunction with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, 7 out of 10 high school students say they want to start their own business.
Entrepreneurs generate ideas; produce goods, services and jobs; and produce the economic activity that drives the local economy. Despite the widespread acceptance of the key role small businesses and entrepreneurs play in our economy, many institutions of learning are not preparing our young people for careers as business owners.
While not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur, in today’s rapidly changing economic climate not everyone is going to be able to find that "good job with a good company." That's the reason PIE is so effective. The PIE program was formulated to make inner-city students aware of the possibilities offered by entrepreneurship and prepare them to seize those opportunities.
PIE Interactive featured on ABC News
It is not only the student with predetermined small business ownership goals, but all students who can benefit from entrepreneurship education. An employee who has respect, appreciation and an understanding of entrepreneurship is more likely to be an asset to a company. Today's business owners are looking for employees who can improve the bottom line efficiently and cost effectively. PIE is a life-long learning program that develops in students traits such as initiative, optimism, resourcefulness, risk taking, foresight, leadership skills, versatility, self-determination and a respect and appreciation for the value of dedication and hard work.
Mr. Aziz, this has certainly opened my eyes on some of the ingredients needed for a good recipe for success! I can't wait until our next visit with you so that we can learn a bit more with your food for thought! Thank you so very much, we hungry readers will have to chomp on that for just a while! At least until next time!
~~~ please excuse all of the puns, I just couldn't resist!
Barnes & Noble Series ~ Dreaming Big With Your Piece of the P.I.E.
Contact for Mr Aziz as follows:
HR Training Coordinator
Griggs Enterprise, Inc.
330 Marshall Street, Suite 711
Shreveport, LA 71101
Cell (318) 349.8647