The Entrepreneurial Journey
By: Sydney Owens
Ntengwa Mukosa believes that entrepreneurship – like life – isn’t a destination or a race; it’s a journey.
After growing up in Zambia, Africa, Mukosa moved to the United States at the age of 21 to pursue higher education and eventually a golfing career. He and his wife Krystal McNutt now co-own and operate several businesses together, despite the many challenges faced along the way.
Mukosa cites education as his most powerful and reliable tool during the journey.
“Even though I have a double masters, I’m still learning,” he said.
But education, according to Mukosa, involves more than just academic ventures. It encompasses all the personal development and growth one encounters throughout their lifetime. A lot of this cannot be learned through books but rather through mentorship, training and experiences.
This realization is part of what led Mukosa to start his own instructional golf program called Fun Golf. The business, which now has multiple locations, aims to provide access to affordable and fun golf instruction to a wider audience.
Mukosa, or “Coach Ten” as he is known by some players, grew up playing several different sports and recalls one specific coach who believed in him and inspired him to become a mentor to others.
“My passion for helping people is what really separates me from other golf teachers,” he said.
While Mukosa works to expand Fun Golf, he also partners with McNutt on the Mission Enforced Foundation (MEF) which helps provide youth with resources needed to participate in positive activities, such as sports, arts, entrepreneurship and more.
McNutt felt called to start the foundation when she witnessed a child getting made fun of for not having the proper shoes to play flag football. MEF was then created based on the theory of change. Once one door is opened for a child to grow in life, the domino effect can take place and change their entire life.
Mukosa compares this type of assistance to handicaps in golf.
“It levels the playing field… The world is everyone’s oyster shell now, not just the ones that have been exposed to it,” he said.
Mukosa and McNutt continue to look at additional ways to support their community, empower youth and provide the learning experience.
Mukosa believes that anyone can be successful and achieve their business dreams as long as they are willing to let go of their ego.
“Having mentors and a great team is where you really get ahead of the game,” he said.
But more importantly, he feels it is imperative to start any journey – in life or in business – for the right reasons.
“You have to remember what your why is and why it’s important,” he said. “I was successful because my why was bigger than my needs at the time.”
Photo: Ntengwa Mukoso, President of Fun Golf
Catch The Wave
Building Business and Community
By: Sydney Owens
Persistent. Optimistic. Just.
These are three words that Linda Olson, President and CEO of Tampa Bay Wave, uses to define herself and her professional journey as an Entrepreneur working to help others in the business community. As well as earlier this year she was nominated and selected as 2022 Business Woman of the Year adding a few more words to define her. This honor came as a surprise to her, leaving her stunned and in aww upon receiving the notification.
Tampa Bay Wave is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to helping Entrepreneurs and start-up companies become successful through mentorship, co-working, networking events and funding opportunities. This nationally recognized accelerator program, also known as Wave, empowers its members to build, launch and grow their own businesses from start to finish with a supportive community of like-minded individuals behind them.
Wave began in 2008 as a meetup group when Olson began her own Entrepreneurial journey and was having trouble finding her peers and building a network. She wanted to help Young Entrepreneurs like herself find their “tribe” and, as a result, created a “strong community of other mentors in the region who provide incredible, not just coaching and mentoring, but also often strategic introductions.”
Recently, one of her clients even cited Wave as the reason for making a six-figure business deal.
Olson does not take her role as an Entrepreneur lightly.
When roadblocks present themselves, Linda likes to think about what else can be done because she believes there is always a way, especially when you have others depending on you.
“For the sake of their business and for them as individual Entrepreneurs, [we] make sure they have every option available and can help accelerate their growth. To me they’re not just customers. We’re a mission-based organization and that’s why we exist – for them,” she said.
In addition to bringing together a supportive Entrepreneurial Community, Wave prides itself in its commitment to diversity.
In 2018, the organization published its Commitment to Diversity in the Tampa Bay Ecosystem statement and launched its TechDiversity Accelerator program. Prior to these developments, Wave’s client population was comprised of around 70% straight white males. Today, Olson boasts a portfolio of almost 85% diverse entrepreneurs and business founders.
“We’ve made a lot of progress in just the last 4-5 years, but I would always love to see more representation from the black and African American communities and the Latin communities,” Olson said.
As Wave progresses as an organization, Olson would also like to see more entrepreneurship programming geared towards kids and teens in her local community. While STEM programs have grown significantly over the last decade and provide invaluable skills, she believes these programs often lack the essential next step.
“STEM is usually accumulated knowledge,” she said, “but where it gets fun is when you can apply that knowledge and I feel like that’s where Entrepreneurship and invention comes in. I would love to see more programming that allows kids to apply those knowledge skills because I think it’ll be more fun and help them see more opportunities for themselves.”
Even as Tampa Bay Wave grows and expands within the community, Olson continues to stay true to her roots and philanthropic purpose for starting the organization.
“There’s always going to be times where things get challenging and tough,” she said. “Whenever you can find that answer that truly is about the greater good, it always seems to be the right answer. You can’t go wrong with going for things that are about the greater good… It’s a driving force of what we do.”
Photo: Linda Olson, President of Tampa Bay Wave
By: Mark Bryant
Kate has been in financial industry for over 15 years and have found great success in her business, but this does not come without great sacrifices and sometimes tragedy. Several years ago, Kate’s sister-in-law was diagnosed with kidney failure, six months prior to that she cancelled all her insurances as a result of talking to friends.
Kate worked intensely with her mother-in-law’s finances in an attempt to meet all the financial needs to treat her daughter, yet, her mother-in-law depleted all of her finances and sadly two years later her daughter passed away. “If you look at my mother-in-law now, you would not have known that 20 plus years later she would be living in a trailer home.”
“Don’t be pushed by your problems be led by your dreams, what does that have to do with the scheme of life?” When Kate came to America she could not tell the difference between an apple or an orange.
Now she starts her day off around 6 or 7 am with a cup of coffee and ensuring she is astute to the financial market. “My day is never the same”. From Financial deals to Real Estate deals Kate has found her way through this journey called life.
Kate says, “Life for me is a journey and how we see the journey makes a difference. You must look at it from what you learn and how to move forward. The more we do something, there’s going to be obstacles. You can let life beat you down and stay down or you can say what do I do to overcome this situation. I’m a positive person. It’s about the mindset in life.”
Another reason Kate wakes up is for her community charity event, Networking for a Cause, 100% of all money goes to charity. Kate embodies the American Dream, from growing up in a third world country eating ginger roots and drinking water to get full, to walking to grade school with her friends Shayla and Lisa learning the English language to being awarded a 4 year scholarship in Debating. She is the American Dream. For more information about Prestige Consultant Group visit: https://prestigefg.com
The American Dream, what is it and how does one accomplish it? People travel from around the world to experience it, yet not many of them move to Hastings, NE, especially those of Asian decent. Kate Nguyen is the CEO of Prestige Consultant Group. Prestige works to inform and educate families on financial decisions that enabled them to achieve their financial goals. Prestige Consultant Group is located in Tampa, Fl.
Kate Nguyen was born in Kien Giang, Vietnam, located in the Mekong Delta region of Southern Vietnam. She and her family moved to America at age 12, she could not speak English and to make matters worst she lived in a culture that was very different than the culture she grew up in “there is no Vietnamese people here, most people would leave, my family was different my family loved it” stated Kate.
"Life for me is a journey
and how we see the
journey makes a difference
Photo: Kate Nguyen, CEO of Prestige Consultant Group
“A Family of Entrepreneurs”
Jenna, Steve and Adam Labadie
BY: MARK BRYANT
What does a Charter Fish Company, a Lobbyist and a Grocery Cart Sanitation Company all have in common? I would like to introduce you to Jenna Palodino, Steve Labadie and Adam Labadie, three siblings with a common thread that weaves them together beyond being relatives. They are what we have coined Famiprenuers. A family of Entrepreneurs.
Each of them brings a unique approach to Entrepreneurship; however, the objectives are the same, service to others. At the age of 9 years old Steve instead of riding his bike and playing with friends he was sitting down taking the Coast Guard exam for what has been a life-changing experience for him. He is the owner of Skiff Charters a charter fishing company taking hundreds of wannabe Sailors out to the sea to explore the waters throughout the Bay area.
Steve has also had the luxury of being the Captain of some of the finest Yachts you may have ever seen. He recalls many times how frustrating it has been doing the thing he loves and the challenges of owning his own company. His expression of such frustration never swayed his level of professionalism and service he renders to his patrons. Steve enjoys what he does and realizes that sometimes even the very thing you enjoy can also be the reason for your frustration.
On the other hand, his brother Adam decided to turn his frustration into what would be a game-changer in the consumer shopping market. He is the founder of Arch Cart Sanitizer. During one of the worst times in history
we have found that people are being as creative as the creator himself. God. Adam took to his garage and began a prototype of what he accessed as a huge problem in the market, unsanitized grocery carts.
According to Adam, there are nearly 20 million grocery carts touched an average of 200 times per day throughout the world and there was nothing in place to sanitize those grocery carts. That is the sole reason he wakes up each day. Starting in his garage like many other successful Entrepreneurs he built his first prototype, and the rest is history. He is currently in negotiations with some of the nations leading grocers to place the Arch Cart Sanitation System within their stores. As he negotiates such deals he is rapidly changing the way we shop, one sanitized cart at a time.
We’ve all seen the movies or the sitcoms about the political pundits and their approach to making law, but to speak with someone who spends countless hours on the road, walking the halls of justice and not turning a blind eye to justice is an experience untapped.
Jenna Palodino, Founder of Palodino Advocates impressed upon Tampa Pioneer that she is not one to give up too quickly on correcting a wrong that must be right. Jenna advocates for those who have a limited voice, those who are not as versed in the language of “action results and resolution”. Her experiences laud in the range of public health to the various intricacies’ of government. Jenna and her team literally takes your concerns and genuinely makes it their concern. The company website boast “Passion does not rest” It is this passion that has led to her firm being sought out by some of the largest healthcare organizations in the state.
Photo: Steve Labadie
President of Skiff Charter
Photo: Adam Labadie President of Arch
Photo: Jenna Palodino, President of Palodino Advocates
This same passion is found as well in this family of siblings. Each of them serves us in unique capacity woven together not just by their name, which is correctly pronounced, after the island off the coast of Haiti, Labadie Island and not “Labaydie.” Passion drives each of them and if you find yourself shopping, on the sea or debating chances are you might find yourself in touch with these Famipreneurs.
Leaders of Tomorrow:
Supporting Kid Entrepreneurs
and Their Families
The Clearwater Neighborhood Family
Center (NFC) has been supporting
struggling families in the city since 2009.
Previously known as the Dr. Martin Luther
King Center, the organization focuses
on ensuring that parents, kids, and the
community as a whole receives the help
they need in order to flourish.
When describing their work at Clearwater
Neighborhood Family Center (NFC),
Executive Director Terry Jones and Special
Projects Coordinator Michele Edwards
both agreed on the impact confidence can
have on a person. The NFC also supports
upcoming entrepreneurs, with youths
as young as 13. From character crayons,
to caricature artwork, to hot chocolate
bombs, these young leaders are taking
steps to forge their own paths in the world
In addition to supporting families and
youths throughout the year, the NFC has
been running an Annual Rising Above
Event since 2018. The event occurs over
the course of three days, with each day
focused on a different series of topics
softened by fun activities.
The turnout for last year’s event was over
400 attendees, with approximately 383 of
that group being youths. The NFC partnered
with the National Alliance of the Mentally
Ill and set up a panel where youths could
ask speakers living with mental illness
questions. This allowed them to better
understand themselves or their loved ones
who struggle with mental illness.Jones
recalled a student struggling with mental
illness who developed one of the most
impressive products during their youth
entrepreneurship program. The youth
created hard-shelled chocolate balls with
hot cocoa mix and marshmallows inside,
in which the shell melts when hot milk or
water is poured over top.
Edwards believes accomplishments
like this result from a welcoming and
supportive environment where
the person can build confidence in
themselves. For youth development,
Clearwater NFC cites its mission to
encourage, engage and educate children.
Programming includes academic tutoring
and mentoring paired with fun activities
like arts and crafts, sports and martial arts
to keep students engaged. There are even
opportunities for early career development,
like Rising Above TV where students learn
the skills needed to become a news anchor.
Edwards placed an emphasis, however, on
the importance of emotional growth and
stability. For the upcoming 5th Annual
Rising Above Event, the NFC is planning on
a three day event from July 20 -22, 2022.
The organization aims to continue combining
education with fun for young attendees. NFC
has been a staple in the community and each
year they continue to make strides to make
each year a better experience for attendees.