TIQC Member Profile - Petmo logo

TIQC Member Profile: Petmo

Written by: Candice Roberts

Petmo, a VIP chauffeur service for pets and their owners, founded by Maureen Frederique, transports “pets and their people”  in style throughout the tri-state area while providing superior customer service and a high-quality luxury experience to clients. Services include safe and convenient local drop offs, airport trips, and kennel assistance. 

How did the idea for Petmo come about? 

“The idea behind Petmo came from my experiences in the transportation industry. I chauffeured for some time and originally I wanted to create a transportation company and while doing that I saw there was a need for pet friendly transportation. Pet parents would find themselves either not being able to secure transportation for their pets, being charged an unnecessary cleaning fee or being overcharged in general. In efforts to solve these problems, Petmo was created. 

After conducting primary and secondary research, and performing focus groups to learn my clients’ needs better, I realized Petmo will be able to help pet parents during a pandemic and post pandemic. Customers can book a reservation by phone, or through our website.” 

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur? 

“Petmo is actually my second entity as an entrepreneur.I worked in the music industry for over 15 years promoting artists for J Records and Russell Simmons Music Group in addition to other companies. At a certain point, I decided to go back to college. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and a Master’s degree in Management. I knew I wanted to continue to help people, but I didn’t know exactly how I wanted to do so. I also worked in the advertising industry as an account executive, and in corporate as an executive assistant.” 

With such a diverse career background, do you feel that shaped your journey to becoming an entrepreneur? 

“From working at Russell Simmons music group, I was inspired by Russell Simmons who encouraged us to help others succeed and if you enjoy helping people then the entrepreneur path is a good way to do so. With my desire to help others, my first entity was created in 2008 and I assisted artists to secure licensing, synchronization deals and more. Helping people was always something I enjoyed and eventually bringing Petmo to life was something that I was looking forward to after my experiences from my first business.” 

What would you say some challenges are with being an entrepreneur and starting a business? Has there been any additional challenges during the global pandemic? 

“Finding the right team is always a challenge because when you have a business you want to structure it in a certain manner and professionalism is key but not everyone that you employ will have that same respect for your business. In regards to challenges during the global pandemic we are currently in, I would say things have gotten a bit easier for our business because we are not required to drop off our pets indoors and we now service our clients via curbside pickup.” 

What’s one piece of advice you would give to aspiring entrepreneurs? 

“Don’t give up and execution is key. A lot of people have challenges along the way but if you have a vision you just have to keep at it and go for it!” 

Connect with Maureen 

Maureen@gopetmo.com 

www.gopetmo.com 

WP TIQC Member Profile

Member Profile: R. David Gibbs Inventor and CEO of SolarSEED Energy

Writen by Candice Roberts

R. David Gibbs, inventor and CEO of SolarSEED Energy, has created a product that uses a new type of power electronic for solar systems which changes the landscape of traditional battery generated electricity. The product now in production delivers usable AC & DC power without relying on batteries and seeks to reduce system complexity, system costs, and mitigates traditional maintenance requirements. Currently energy systems require energy storage. The goal of SolarSEED is to eliminate that need for energy storage or batteries. And to create a circular economy based business model, with the product being manufactured, repaired, serviced and assembled in the U.S. 

With a background in Mechanical Engineering and an interest in Fine Art, David pursued his Bachelor of Arts in Industrial Design. Fine art satisfied the desire to be creative while industrial design connected to his interests in technology. Eventually pursuing a career as an in-house product designer, he initially found enjoyment in what he deems “creative problem solving” but his interests evolved into solving real world problems.

R. David Gibbs, Inventor and CEO of SolarSEED Energy

How did your career in this field essentially begin? 

“I got a position with a Research and Development firm based in Anchorage, Alaska. Prior to that I was an in house designer, doing lightning and other designs, and it was fun, but it didn’t feed this need to create solutions to problems that would essentially save lives. Getting the job in Alaska was actually my transition into getting into medical product design, for companies like Johnson and Johnson, and other businesses that produce life saving equipment. The job was centered around an industrial application that mitigated the need for chemicals that traditional x-ray technology requires. In the time I was in Anchorage, that’s when I got into renewable energy.” 

What occurred that really took your interests to the next level? 

“I really had this interest in doing something that worked without batteries. 

While working relief efforts in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Irma, which decimated parts of Dominica and Puerto Rico, the biggest difficulty was getting batteries on the island. It was easier to get solar panels, but without batteries the equipment was unusable. At this time was when I created a small device and it was powerful enough to operate a small refrigerator using a solar panel without batteries. At first, I thought it would be great for first responders and disaster relief efforts but also in developing countries or a small village. I began exploring the idea and I submitted it into this competition which was put out by the Department of Energy with NREL, and we won the first round which provided funding to begin developing it. Recently we entered another competition by UNOPS, the global innovation challenge. And we recently found out we are one of 5 teams selected to go to the Global Innovation Center in Sweden.” 

How has your background shaped your journey in becoming an entrepreneur? 

“A background in engineering and design, gives me the ability to communicate effectively with engineers while also having a design background gives me the ability to see beyond the technical and to actually consider how people will interact with the product, a more human centered component. Being able to bridge that gap has been really important and also has sped up the development of the product and being able to overcome hurdles more quickly by effectively communicating what you want and the long term vision of what you’re looking for.” 

What’s next for SolarSEED Energy? 

“Present day we are actively working with The Reti Center in Red Hook, to develop a pilot version for the micro manufacturing of our product regionally. The goal is to have all the tools and components necessary to fabricate our smart controller. This controller will then be the model that we take to certain countries. We are looking to explore that and also that will give us an opportunity to employ people locally in Brooklyn. For a long time I’ve been involved in working with community based organizations to provide them small off grid energy systems and working with the Reti Center is really giving me the opportunity to bridge the gap between international development and community development. Creating an opportunity for underserved communities in New York and underserved communities overseas in a mutually beneficial seamless way.” 

What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs? 

“One of the most important things is to identify a market need and really dig into what that need is. That goes back to why I transitioned out of traditional industrial design because I didn’t feel like what I was doing was need based; it was more just satisfying consumerism., Also, be tenacious in that search and if it doesn’t come to you right away but you feel like you have something just keep digging and keep going at it. Surround yourself with people who are going to be honest and straightforward with you in their advice and in their recommendations. The people that you surround yourself with are really important. The funding will come but focus less on that and more on developing the idea and developing the business because that is essentially what people will invest in.” 

Connect with David on LinkedIn 

fabu-licious cakes

Member Profile: Joi Johnson CEO of Fabu-licious Cake Creations

Written by Candice Roberts

Joi Johnson began her journey to entrepreneurship as a side hustle, making cakes for friends and family as she pursued a full-time career in the medical field. After years of encouragement to pursue her dreams, in 2018 she decided to start Fabu-licious Cake Creations, a full service custom cake boutique that prides itself on building personal connections with clients to make sure the centerpiece of their special event, the cake, is outstanding. 

Baby showers and birthday parties are among the more popular events that Joi services. She finds it very important to consistently connect and communicate with her customers to understand their vision. As her website mentions, “Every cake, cupcake and ounce of buttercream is made from scratch…and to make the cake special you have to understand the client, know their favorite colors, flavors and why this cake is being made.” 

Originally, her side hustle was an event planning business, but Joi discovered that capitalizing on her talents in baking could be something special since customers constantly asked if she knew someone to make cakes for their events. Michaels Wilton Cake Decorating Course took her interests in simply baking cakes for friends and family to the next level by teaching her the intricacies of elaborate cake decorating. 

Custom Birthday Cake from Fabu-licious Cake Creations

Using social media to showcase her creations, her clients grew, and Joi found herself wanting to level up her business and learn about the ‘back of house’; profit, taxes,  and finances. Tech Incubator at Queens College, Idea to Business Course, and Queens Public Library Queens Feast gave Joi the knowledge needed to grow her passion project for custom cake-making into a full-time business. 

“The class was great. In addition to learning finances during class, I was sent videos and links to help teach me how to set up my Excel spreadsheets and how to better manage my books. From Queens Feast, I gained an amazing mentor that is an entrepreneurship instructor for the program who helped me stay motivated and focused on my goals. There were days I wanted to give up or found myself being too hard on myself, my husband and son would encourage me to keep going.” 

Joi’s advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to take your time and keep in mind everything you aspire to have and do will come in due time. “Don’t get discouraged when you find that people close to you are not as supportive as you would like them to be. Seek out mentors that are willing to help and guide you. Stay focused on your goals and dreams and don’t forget to do the work.” 

Connect with Joi and Fabu-licious Cake Creations at: 

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/fabucakecreations/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/fabucakecreations 

Email     joi@fabucakes.com 

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Member Profile: Triniflavor Creations

Written by: Candice Roberts 

For 15 years, Trinidad and Tobago, born Julia Ottley, worked various positions in hospitality but found lack of joy, disconnect, and rigidity in a role that prides itself on celebratory events left her wanting more. Her vision was to color the landscape with a touch of her island roots and jovial spirit that emanates from her hometown and in 2018 the first phase of Triniflavor Creations was born.  

In its infancy, Triniflavor Creations started as Julia simply capitalizing on her love and interests in bringing people together over food and drinks for good times and celebrations at no charge. As compliments from event patrons and inquiries into the price of her services grew, Julia knew it was time to step out on faith, ignore the fear and get started on her business. 

“I took a Prime Skills course to get a better understanding of how to become an entrepreneur and how to begin the process and that really set me ablaze to work on starting my business. I had always thought about it but this course was a good catapult for me to actively work to achieve my entrepreneurship goals outside of my 9-5. I am also a single parent, so another driving focus for me was to free up time to spend with my son.” 

In addition to the Prime Skills course, Julia participated in a Business Model Canvas class run by the Tech Incubator at Queens College. She speaks highly of the benefits of being a member and a part of the TIQC community. “It’s a good support system with so many resources and it has opened up a lot of opportunities for networking and learning.  Through different courses and educational tools I continue to learn different levels of entrepreneurship and am able to enhance my skill set.” 

Triniflavor Creations is now a full, Event Services Staffing and Mobile Bartending company, that typically services events of up to 150 guests (COVID-19 has reduced that number to 75 guests) in the NYC area . Clients are offered a variety of amenities to elevate their events, including hand-crafted signature drinks, bartenders, and waitstaff. Triniflavor Creations also offers custom image branded items like coasters and drinkware. 

Julia’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to, “Believe in your dream and stay consistent. There will be tough days (imagine owning a hospitality business among a global pandemic) but never compromise your vision or let anyone deter you. No one understands your vision better than you.” 

Connect with Julia and TriniFlavor Creations at 

Facebook: @triniflavorcreationsllc

Instagram: @triniflavorcreations

Website: triniflavorcreations.com

Girls in Tech 2020 Conference Recap text

Women’s Empowerment at Girls in Tech Virtual Conference 2020

Written By: Candice Roberts 

Women from all over the world gathered from the comfort of their homes to virtually attend the 2020 Girls in Tech Conference.  A celebration of the strides that women have made in working to erase the gender gap in the tech industry while also addressing the need for more work to be done. More diversity, more inclusivity, more representation, and more responsibility from Tech leaders to include women of all backgrounds in positions ranging from entry-level to the C-suite.  

Despite being 47% of the U.S. labor force, women occupy just 28% of all STEM jobs. For Blacks and Hispanics, the numbers are even more excessive: According to the National Science Board, fewer than 1 in 20 of today’s scientists and engineers are minority women.

With so many women virtually cheering each other on in the Conference’s live chat, you couldn’t help but feel girl power at its highest level. They shared their stories, their experiences, and their struggles while offering quality advice and tips to the next generation of girls looking to climb the tech ladder. 

Latinx leaders in tech Lili Gangas, Chief Technology Officer at the Kapor Center, and Raquel Tamez, CEO, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), spoke specifically to the lack of Latinx representation in tech and initiatives that help break barriers and provide pathways to digital access and upskilling for their community. 

SHPE seeks to empower the Latinx community to realize its fullest potential and impact the world through STEM awareness, access, support, and development, while the Kapor Center aims to make technology and entrepreneurship more diverse and inclusive by building a community of tech leaders that reflects the diversity of the United States. 

Female leaders from HP, Twitter, and General Motors, among others, reinforced the Girls in Tech mission to “provide experiences and educational opportunities, to help women discover their unique superpower and hone it. And to see every woman accepted, confident, and valued in tech, just as they are.” 

So, how do women achieve success in the male-dominated tech industry? The short answer, according to  Laura Drabik, Chief Evangelist at Guidewire Software and keynote speaker, “It’s no picnic. But it is possible—if you learn how to move the ball forward with confidence. For every project that anybody came to me, I’d say YES. Why? Because I realized I needed to build my knowledge to read, learn, and push myself in ways that men might not have to. To get a seat at the table, it’s not about resenting double standards or tallying up inequities; it’s about overcoming them, it’s about proving our worth and earning our respect.” 

wifi network symbols

Demystifying Payment Process & Contactless Payment (Repeat)

Let’s take the mystery out of payment processing fees and help your business get a better understanding of statements and fees. Tue, September 22, 2020, 8:30 AM – 9:30 AM EDT

About this Event

Let’s take the mystery out of payment processing fees and help your business get a better understanding of statements and fees. We’ll also review how to use technology that’s available to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading.

Presenter, Melinda Reyes, President of Premier Merchant Consulting Services (PMCS).

Registering for this event also requires pre-registration on Zoom click below:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIqdeigpj0jG9DKvFNTP0cu4Cmidcot34Yl

THE PMCS ADVANTAGE

Premier Merchant Consulting Services (PMCS) was created to respond to the needs of small to medium-sized businesses like yours. Recognizing that every business has unique characteristics, desires, and nuances, we provide customized merchant solutions rather than standard cookie-cutter programs. With extensive knowledge of merchant products and services, our experts develop individualized plans and provide ongoing personalized assistance. Regardless of your business size and revenue, we treat you with respect and professionalism and give you access to top-level merchant products that can help maximize your profitability.

• Transparent pricing and excellent customer support

• We help you choose POS hardware and software for retail, quick service and fine dining, delivery fast food, salons, liquor stores, and others. Installations and training provided at your business. We also help set up e-commerce gateway and mobile payment solutions.

• We ensure you get fast, secure funding directly into any business bank account- options as soon as the same day!

• We beat the banks and Square in pricing and offer an extensive suite of services and products that are customized to fit all business needs with fair and transparent pricing.

• We provide branded apps and websites with marketing tools to help your business reach the level of success desired, email, text message marketing, loyalty, and gift card programs.

• We offer high-risk merchants payment processing options (Cannabis, CBD Oil, Travel, Start-Ups)

• We offer resources for alternative funding through lenders, including cash advances and card associations, such as American Express, when banks cannot help you.

• Through our network of business solutions, we help business owners get connected to trusted sources and vendors.

MEET MELINDA REYES, PMCS FOUNDER & PRESIDENTMelinda Reyes is a dynamic and effective business development executive with over 20 years experience in marketing and financial services. As a seasoned professional she offers solutions that assist business owners achieve their goals.

“I love seeing people succeed in their business ventures! It’s one of the reasons I started PMCS – I wanted to make it easy for entrepreneurs to find the best payment solutions. The experience and knowledge I gained working for payment processors for years at TSYS Merchant Solutions, Bluepay Processing, RedStone Payments, and First Data Corporation, gave me the opportunity to work closely with both new and established business owners and see first-hand what they needed. I learned that every business owner has unique desires and needs. It’s important to determine what software and hardware is the best for each. My partnerships allow me to negotiate the best processing fees and recommendations on hardware, software, and additional services to help a business grow. My understanding of the marketplace ensures that I can customize solutions that work for everyone’s specific business needs and budget. When a business signs up as a client, I become more than a consultant…I become a partner with a passion for their success.” Melinda Reyes.

wifi network symbols

Demystifying Payment Processing & Contactless Payment

Let’s take the mystery out of payment processing fees and help your business get a better understanding of statements and fees. Mon, September 14, 2020, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM EDT

About this Event

Let’s take the mystery out of payment processing fees and help your business get a better understanding of statements and fees. We’ll also review how to use technology that’s available to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading.

Presenter, Melinda Reyes, President of Premier Merchant Consulting Services (PMCS).

Registering for this event also requires pre-registration on Zoom click below:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwofuGrrTMqGdSDAQpXJWrSdfxiw6pXuc92

THE PMCS ADVANTAGE

Premier Merchant Consulting Services (PMCS) was created to respond to the needs of small to medium-sized businesses like yours. Recognizing that every business has unique characteristics, desires, and nuances, we provide customized merchant solutions rather than standard cookie-cutter programs. With extensive knowledge of merchant products and services, our experts develop individualized plans and provide ongoing personalized assistance. Regardless of your business size and revenue, we treat you with respect and professionalism and give you access to top-level merchant products that can help maximize your profitability.

• Transparent pricing and excellent customer support

• We help you choose POS hardware and software for retail, quick service and fine dining, delivery fast food, salons, liquor stores, and others. Installations and training provided at your business. We also help set up e-commerce gateway and mobile payment solutions.

• We ensure you get fast, secure funding directly into any business bank account- options as soon as the same day!

• We beat the banks and Square in pricing and offer an extensive suite of services and products that are customized to fit all business needs with fair and transparent pricing.

• We provide branded apps and websites with marketing tools to help your business reach the level of success desired, email, text message marketing, loyalty, and gift card programs.

• We offer high-risk merchants payment processing options (Cannabis, CBD Oil, Travel, Start-Ups)

• We offer resources for alternative funding through lenders, including cash advances and card associations, such as American Express, when banks cannot help you.

• Through our network of business solutions, we help business owners get connected to trusted sources and vendors.

MEET MELINDA REYES, PMCS FOUNDER & PRESIDENTMelinda Reyes is a dynamic and effective business development executive with over 20 years experience in marketing and financial services. As a seasoned professional she offers solutions that assist business owners achieve their goals.

“I love seeing people succeed in their business ventures! It’s one of the reasons I started PMCS – I wanted to make it easy for entrepreneurs to find the best payment solutions. The experience and knowledge I gained working for payment processors for years at TSYS Merchant Solutions, Bluepay Processing, RedStone Payments, and First Data Corporation, gave me the opportunity to work closely with both new and established business owners and see first-hand what they needed. I learned that every business owner has unique desires and needs. It’s important to determine what software and hardware is the best for each. My partnerships allow me to negotiate the best processing fees and recommendations on hardware, software, and additional services to help a business grow. My understanding of the marketplace ensures that I can customize solutions that work for everyone’s specific business needs and budget. When a business signs up as a client, I become more than a consultant…I become a partner with a passion for their success.” Melinda Reyes