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Published on July 15th, 2020 | by Guest Contributor


Top Chef Junior Contestant Shows Us the New Future of Black Entrepreneurship Starts at Home and on your Phone

When Top Chef Junior Season 2 Contestant, Carson Peterson, spent his Father’s Day in quarantine, he didn’t spend it like an average fifteen-year-old. There was no sitting at home watching TV all day with dad or giving up on doing something positive due to disappointment the world is being hit by a pandemic or listening to a lecture from his dad about how he should stop building on his dreams because racial injustices continue to be a prevalent threat to black men and women in our nation. No. Instead, he spent a portion of it on a new video conferencing app called Symposium, where he’s hosted live streams for other young people his age to earn income as a young black entrepreneur, chef and role model. 

After a successful Mother’s Day live stream on the app, he decided he’d host a special Father’s Day cooking and Juneteenth Commemoration Livestream to help raise money for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Ventura County and Southern Nevada. In the name of black entrepreneurship, and support of kids in need of hope, Carson cooked up his famous “Not Yo Mama’s Burger” on Father’s Day while his dad schooled the audience on black history and helped everyone understand the significance of Juneteenth, the emancipation proclamation and more.

When the event was announced, Carson said “I wouldn’t be where I’m at in my career if it wasn’t for my father. He is a strong black man and an incredible role model who has always encouraged me to reach for my goals no matter what.” This got me thinking: Calvin Peterson, Carson’s father, is clearly a strong force in this young man’s life. He’s encouraged him to chase his dreams as a chef and see them through, whether it’s on a national TV show or hosting his own live streams, he’s been encouraged to be an entrepreneur in his own right and not let the color of his skin or his age roadblocks that stop him in any way. He’s encouraged to dream, as we all once did as kids and go for what he wants. 

And with Symposium, it seems we may have all met the next frontier in video conferencing. Cofounded by a creative, go-getting black entrepreneur, Troy Roques, who was also a guest on the Hype Magazine podcast with Carson, his team has singlehandedly strengthened the streaming game for entrepreneurs of all ages, races, and professions. The app lets you dictate your schedule for sharing your skills on a one-on-one, one-to-many, or streaming on a pay-per-view basis like Calvin has done at just fifteen years old. Unlike those of us trying to mess with Zoom and get payments on Venmo or CashApp, they’ve added calendaring, accept payments, and have heightened security. Symposium has made experts and influencers from all industries available in one place so anyone looking to learn a new skill can go there with endless possibilities. And with this pandemic leaving many without jobs and hope, Symposium looks like the one-stop-shop on your phone for people to make money from their skills easily.

We all know the entrance of COVID-19 has rocked even the best of us. But when life throws you a pandemic, or an oppressive work environment, or no work environment at all, what will change how black entrepreneurs, parents and even kids see as opportunities in our future is knowing, like Calvin and Carson, you can put the power in your own hands and get creative. Our phones have now become avenues for making money from our skills, in more ways than one. 

But change has to come from home. If we want to see more black leaders in the workforce and more of us sitting in board meetings, or becoming president, more parents need to encourage their kids to dream, focus, study, and build their craft. Don’t let what’s going on outside keep you from strengthening who you are and what you do on the inside. Learn the avenues of making money and figure out creative ways to share that passion with the world. Keep on keepin’ on and find those avenues of inspiration you and your kids need to put the power in your own hands – which can now start on your phone.

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