How to Be a Successful Black Entrepreneur - Black Enterprise

UBR Spotlight: Transitioning From Executive to Entrepreneur

Trillion Corporation CEO Ralph Brown (Image: Bob Farley)

This week on The Urban Business Roundtable, we feature the success stories of two business leaders who successfully transitioned from executive to entrepreneur. First, UBR Contributor Renita D. Young speaks with Ralph E. Brown, the founder and CEO of Trillion Communication Corp. Based in Bessemer, Alabama, the telecommunications products and services company earned revenues of $165.3 million in 2010 to land at No. 24 on the Black Enterprise 100s list of the nation’s largest Black-owned industrial/service companies.

Prior to starting Trillion, Brown spent more than 30 years with BellSouth Telecommunications, where he held several key leadership positions throughout the network operations and supply chains organization. After founding Trillion in 2005, Brown led the company to consistent revenue growth, securing clients including AT&T and G.E. Capital Solutions. Trillion earned numerous awards, including being named the Minority Service Firm of the Year by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency in 2007. Brown sits down with Young at the Roundtable to share his entrepreneurial journey.

Also, UBR Contributor Samantha Pass speaks with Maxine P. Gill, owner and managing director of College Nannies & Tutors of Bethesda, Maryland. Gill purchased the franchise business and successfully ran it from home. Before becoming an entrepreneur, she built a career in sales and marketing for such companies as AT&T and Comcast. Gill has been recognized by the corporate office of College Nannies & Tutors with its Rock Star Award. She was also featured in the September 2011 issue of Black Enterprise. Gill joins the Roundtable to share what it takes to start and run a profitable home-based business.

In addition, in my “Alfred’s Notepad” segment, I tell you what you need to know to enter the 2012 Black Enterprise Elevator Pitch Competition. The deadline for entries is March 30, 2012. The top 10 finalists will be invited to the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo, to be held May 23-26, 2012, at the Hilton Chicago, where they will pitch their idea to judges and a live audience for a chance to win $10,000. This is a prime opportunity for the business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs who listen to UBR each week. Click here to view contest rules and enter the competition.

And finally, every week on UBR, you’ll get motivation and inspiration from author and entrepreneurial icon Farrah Gray, a weekly wrap-up of business news from USA Today business correspondent Charisse Jones, our Patient Investor Report from Ariel Investments and key economic intelligence for small business owners from our UBR economists Derrick Collins and Rasheed Carter.

If you have a question you want answered or a topic you want addressed on The Urban Business Roundtable, connect with me at BE Insider, the social media network for people who are serious about Black Enterprise. You can also find me on Twitter and Facebook.

Alfred Edmond Jr. is the senior VP/editor-at-large of Black Enterprise and the host of the Urban Business Roundtable, a weekly radio show, sponsored by Ariel Investments, airing CST Wednesdays at 8:30 a.m., Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. on WVON-AM 1690, the Talk of Chicago. You can also listen live online at Check back each week for UBR Spotlight, which features additional resources, advice and information from and about the topics, entrepreneurs and experts featured on the show.