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He's 24, he's black, he's a CEO

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At 24, Ephren Taylor is the youngest black CEO of a publicly traded company in America today. 

Heading City Capital Corp., Taylor built a career out of what was once a simple idea.  At 12, Taylor built and sold his own videogame, resulting in an interest for technology.  By the time he was 17, he founded a web-based company called GoFerretGo.com to help teens find jobs and start careers.

Today, along with his CEO duties, he is a published author and motivational speaker, targeting topics such as entrepreneurship and the development of local urban communities. 

Look for Taylor as he comes to speak to Belmont about his experiences, values, and ideas concerning entrepreneurship on Sept. 18.

VISION: You made your first videogame at 12, did you see a future in entrepreneurship initially, or did this develop with age?

TAYLOR: Not initially, I just made the game because my parents said they couldn’t afford a $50 game.  I think once I realized people would actually pay $10 for my game then I saw a little potential. 

So how does it feel to be 24 and to have accomplished a great deal at a young age?

Great, but there’s more.  City Capital has a lot to do in the real estate community.  In Cleveland, Ohio there’s some of the worst housing in America and we’re helping out by renovating and improving those conditions. We’re offering planned residential and commercial real estate with tax abatements, housing trust money, and up to $20,000 nonrefundable down payment assistance for homebuyers.

What were your initial goals and how have they changed over the years?

Initially, it was just about how quick I [could] get rich, but once your older (laughs), well maybe not older, but developed more, you start seeing more important things, such as giving back to the community and helping others around you.  On the business end though, there’s been a dynamic shift from the Internet explosion to real estate, and now we are seeing the importance of the environment and green power.  My new book, “Creating Success From the Inside Out,” actually tackles some of these issues dealing with attacking the modern industry. 

Getting There
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What are your plans for the future?

 I’ve been asked to create a curriculum for entrepreneurship students at Cheney University, and they are naming the Entrepreneurship School after me so that’s nice.  I’ve also come on board a fantasy football league, which pays out weekly called “Big Daddy’s Fantasy Sports.”  Despite the weird name, we made alot of money last year.

 What is your educational background and how did it help you?

 I had no formal education other than high school.  I took a few college courses taught by professors who didn’t know what they were talking about, so I dropped out.  My biggest education was experimental learning, just experiencing things on my own; since I had financers from a young age, I was able to do this early on. 

Who in your life inspired you the most?

 I’d have to say out of all the people Marcus Garvey [influential author, entrepreneur and activist born in Jamaica in 1887] would be the most influential, for the many things he accomplished when he was alive.

 You’re involved with City Capital and also with Christian Capital Group, why is there a need for a separate Christian group?

 They’re both the same. Christian Capital is just a private part of City Capital.  They both promote the same ideas of community development. 

 Another of your companies is Prosperity Ministries, what’s that about?

 Prosperity is along the same lines as Capital, except it’s my personal group for community development.

 What advice would you give to entrepreneurship students here at Belmont?

 Start now!  Leverage all the resources you have available and use them to your advantage.  The professors are free consultants and you have free or cheap labor walking about the campus for your marketing and technical fields.  Yeah, don’t waste anytime. If you have an idea, now is the time to put it into motion.

 Finally, what do you do for fun in your spare time?

 This is what I do for fun! (laughs) No really, I get an adrenaline rush out of buying and selling companies; it’s like an art form constantly challenging me.


Sept. 13 , 2007

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•US News rankings
•Security warning
•TBC lawsuit
•Belmont text messaging
•'Naked Truth' about chastity
•He's 24, he's black, he's a CEO

Opinion
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•Racial healing more than skin-deep
•Stalling out, shifting gears

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•'Much Ado' opening
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•Fall preview

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•Bruin Club
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