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NETWORK KING : AN INTERVIEW WITH ROOSEVELT WILLIAMS III, CEO OF YOUNG BLACK N’ BUSINESS.

BY Vyncent De’Vaughn / LA Tribune Editorial Team

YB&NB Founder / CEO Roosevelt Williams III , Receives a certificate of recognition from San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, At the YB&NB Pathway to Legacy Gala at Sycuan Casino in San Diego.

 ( Raymond Williams / The LA Tribune).

As service-based businesses nationwide continue to stray away from the brick and mortar establishments of old, digital & mobile convenience steer the new direction for successful business models. Whether it’s the food delivery boom, or the ridesharing revolution, solving problems for those affected by the pandemic’s economic change of pace can return nice profits.

Roosevelt Williams III, Founder & CEO of Young Black N’ Business, exemplifies this current entrepreneurial change of pace. For Williams, building entrepreneurial networks while simultaneously organizing his economic community within South East San Diego was once uncharted territory, yet consistency the last five years has proved to his hometown of San Diego that endeavors related to one’s passion are always worth taking. A former sole cobbler by trade, his style of service has always been accompanied with a certain level of decorum, and positive swagger. As the CEO of YB&NB, his role as superconnector, continues to build bridges that serve the needs and desires of YB&NB’s swelling membership. YB&NB as an business organization, dedicates its resources to provide instruction and inspiration to business people through the organization’s events, programs and digital magazine. It also works with the NAACP San Diego Chapter and the Urban League of San Diego County to spread the word about it’s offerings. 

YB&NB’s existence to shorten the entrepreneurial learning curve & strengthen the community simultaneously, is a important endeavor to keep the ethnic entrepreneur competitive, in a ever changing world. From the YB&NB creed: “YOUNG is a state of mind and the color BLACK encompasses and includes all of the colors in the spectrum and the definition of BUSINESS is providing a solution for a problem that equates into profit.”  I was fortunate enough to sit down again with Roosevelt Williams, to inquire about what moves him & his mission forward. 

YB&NB CEO Roosevelt Williams III, Carlton Overstreet Jr, Kristina Buckner, and Sam Nissou  posing for cameras at the YB&NB Pathway to Legacy Gala. ( Raymond Williams / The LA Tribune).

Vyncent: Earlier this year, we had an in-depth conversation that stemmed from the renaissance of reemerging business ownership that’s occurring within the South East community of San Diego. Do you see your business venture becoming a conduit to reviving the essence of what used to be known as the Diamond District?

Roosevelt: Yes! My company YB&NB, is a business defibrillator  for small businesses within the County of San Diego, especially the Diamond District. YB&NB is strengthening businesses and empowering communities. YB&NB is actively working alongside our community partners to help early entrepreneurs transition into viable stakeholders. The ideas of one of us are never stronger than the ideas of all of us. The slowest way to learn something is by doing. The fastest way is by learning from others mistakes and studying tactics.

Vyncent: Do you consider yourself to be a renaissance man? If so, how does this belief of one’s self influence your business practices?

Roosevelt: Constituents within the Diamond District consider me a renaissance man because of the way I express myself and how I inspire my peers to be family oriented, self-sufficient and masters of their destiny. Creating the business motto “From brick & mortar to click and order”, during the pandemic  was an innovative concept that ignited early emerging entrepreneurs in the Diamond District to go from swap meets, pop up shops, and Facebook groups to become viable documented State of California accredited businesses,  which YB&NB gets recognition for. When you share your failures and flaws, you go far. I do my best to remain authentic and honest about my personal entrepreneurial journey. I identify problems, point out solutions, and encourage individuals on what to do next.

Vyncent: There are approximately 120% more Black residents in San Diego county than in 1960. What is your belief as to why the Diamond District isn’t back in full effect?

Roosevelt: Being a third generation San Diegan, I’ve seen successful Blacks residents master the 120 degree circle. They start in the Diamond District become prominent, wealthy, and established however they do not reinvest back into the Diamond District which they started in. They buy homes and start businesses in other districts and cities. The fundamental premence is there is no return on investment by blacks that master the 120-degree circle. You must remember your genesis and you must give back. Our YBNB goal is to master the 360 degree circle by reinvesting back into the Diamond District. I believe the more you know the more you owe and that is why I’m indebting to serving the Diamond District.

Vyncent: What was the inspiration behind the YBNB manuscript? Was it’s creation a nod to any prominent San Diego Business men that came before you?

  Roosevelt: Former Deputy Mayor George Stevens & My Great Grandfather Mathew Cook Sr. inspired the YBNB Manuscript which is also a blueprint to generational wealth. The goal of the YBNB Manuscript is to provide entrepreneurial, instructional, educational content to early emerging entrepreneurs. The YBNB Manuscript is a beacon of hope to early emerging entrepreneurs. We help early emerging entrepreneurs grow their professional network, offer high value exposure opportunities, and provide entrepreneurial content from seasoned entrepreneurs. Just like George Stevens and My Great Grandfather taught me. My Great Grandfather was a successful businessman and was the first African American Forman at North Island Navy Base. One of the most important lessons he taught me was,  “No one can do everything, however everyone can do something.”  That inspired me and became the foundation of power of our YB&NB Network. In addition, George Stevens taught me,  “You only have to be one step ahead to be helpful”. Both of these viewpoints, I hold dearly and have  learned from to build and scale my organization.

Vyncent: At the age of 35, how does it feel to have an official day within your hometown, named in honor of your passion project of a business venture,YBNB! What has this milestone meant to yourself, your business partners & collaborators?

Roosevelt: When I think about having my own day in the County of San Diego, I get in the zone and I think about how to create more thousand-aires and more home owners in the Diamond District. My goal is to make November 16th an educational, instructional, paradise for early emerging entrepreneurs. On that day we want to make our long journey the next generation’s shortcut. This milestone has meant it is time for our organization to step our game up! I know my peers, politicians, pastors, and my parents are watching YB&NB. It’s up to YB&NB to encourage individual threads to become a part of our collective rope, so that we can pull our resources together.

Vyncent: This year, YBNB was given the honor of hosting the first African American Heritage Week, during the San Diego Padres season. How did it feel to align your organization’s values with the city’s professional sports team? What are you looking to accomplish in this upcoming season with Heritage Week?

Roosevelt: Our ultimate goal is to own our own professional sports team. Collaborating with a professional sports team is nice however we are aware this is one step in a long journey. We are extremely thankful yet we still know we have a long way to go. Our initial goal moving into next season is to establish a communication bridge and financial resources to the low moderate-income communities within the Diamond District through our collaboration. We are excited to reinvest in our little leagues, pocket parks and early emerging entrepreneurs with our professional sports team, community partnership. We are thrilled to serve the home team and community we live in. YBNB’s goal with this community partnership is to bring joy, experience and exposure to opportunity youth.

Vyncent: To close out this year, YBNB hosted its inaugural GALA, themed “Pathway to Legacy”. How do you believe that rewarding & recognizing these select individuals coming out of the pandemic, will inspire others to begin attracting their destined futures?

Roosevelt: This was another example to showcase how we have thrived in the current times, by turning our pain into a pathway. We brought early emerging entrepreneurs alongside industry leaders, sponsors, advertisers, public officials and decision makers within the county of San Diego. YB&NB will continue connecting the dots and giving opportunities to individuals through our networking platform & event such as last weekend’s Gala. Celebrating entrepreneurial growth and incremental excellence, is an honor in itself and we look forward to doing our next Gala in 2022. The content from this Gala, will be featured in our next YB&NB Manuscript to inspire and encourage others to be Healthy, Happy & Successful.

For more information on YB&NB, it’s membership process and its current initiatives,  go to www.joinybnb.com

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