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‘I am Really Trying to Break the Culture of Being on the Hamster’s Wheel’: T.D. Jakes Launches Global Summit To Inspire Boost Black Business Ownership

Entrepreneurship and faith often don’t go hand-in-hand, but well-known preacher Bishop T.D. Jakes will be spreading the gospel of both at the kickoff of the Good Soil Movement on May 3 in Orlando, Florida, at the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center. 

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – DECEMBER 13: TDJ Enterprises CEO Bishop T.D. Jakes attends the 9th Annual HOPE Global Forums at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta on December 13, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Derek White/Getty Images for Operation HOPE, Inc.)

“We see Good Soil as a movement to cultivate the next generation of business leaders,” Michael Phillips, chief operations officer of T.D. Jakes Enterprises, said in a press release. “This convening brings together culture shifters who are committed to connecting ideas to actions in our communities. Good Soil is more than inspiration – it’s taking action to impact, grow and scale minority owned businesses through a supportive ecosystem that will drive financial inclusion and achieve generational wealth building for our communities.”

The Good Soil is an initiative established by T.D. Jakes Entreprises, LLC. The mission of the movement is to provide access to generational wealth and employment opportunities by supporting Black entrepreneurship. 

According to Census Data, there are more than two million Black-owned businesses in the United States. Yet, only 124,000 are able to hire employees, data further shows. In addition, there are other challenges that Black-owned businesses face such as not having access to capital. For instance, only one percent of Black-owned businesses are able to secure funding in their first year of operation as opposed to seven percent of white entrepreneurs. 

The Day-Long Conference

The Good Soil Movement will provide a space for entrepreneurs and those interested in starting businesses to learn from others. The breakout sessions will include accessing capital, marketing and advertising, opportunities in franchising, the power of real estate, and building strategic partnerships. 

At the event, there will also be a “seed” capital fast pitch, allowing entrepreneurs to share their ideas with a panel of experts and receive grant funding that will help them grow their businesses.

In-person tickets are sold out. To attend virtually, the cost is $250.00.

The keynote speech will be delivered by Jakes. His speech will focus on his vision for helping entrepreneurs find financial success. Actor and author Hill Harper will emcee the event, while KEM and John Glasper will perform at the opening and closing of the conference. 

Jakes’ Own Entrepreneurial Mission

Jakes, senior pastor of The Potter’s House, a non-denominational megachurch. His net worth is reportedly $20 million.

According to job recruitment platform Zippia, the Potter’s House, which Jakes founded in 1996, pulls in is $5.2 million annually. In 2022, it employed 73 people. Prior to the launching the 30,000-member church, in 1995 he founded “TDJ Enterprises” which publishes his books and produces his films.

He also owns T.D. Jakes Real Estate Ventures, LLC, through which he says he plans to build grocery stories in food-desert communities, as Finurah previously reported.

Although there is criticism around megachurches and prosperity preachers, Jakes says how he built his wealth is an example for Black entrepreneurs.

When asked recently by Ebony what have been the key components to financial freedom for him, Jakes replied, “Multiple streams of income. We hear that all the time, but more specifically, passive and aggressive streams are equally important. I think the problem we have as a community is that when we think about business, we start thinking about ‘hustling.'”

He continued, “And the problem with hustling or grinding is that you only have two hands —and that limits you right away. You can’t be here and there. But if you develop a business and a network, you can delegate and have exponential growth very rapidly. We have to first disrupt the way we think about it. I am really trying to break the culture of being on the hamster’s wheel, running faster and faster as the economy escalates. When you only make money with your own two hands, you’ve limited your ability to increase your income. You’re working so hard and it’s to the detriment of your family, your children—you’re working harder and harder to make less and less.”

A Movement Launch 

The day-long conference is just the first step, according to Jakes. T.D. Jakes Enterprise is partnering with the Stand Together Foundation to assist entrepreneurs through the Good Soil Movement, which includes a free app that will offer virtual events, tools and resources to inspire diversity in entrepreneurship. 

“Stand Together Foundation works alongside our partners to empower people to realize their full potential,” said Evan Feinberg, executive director of Stand Together Foundation, said in a press release. “Fueling increased entrepreneurship not only improves live but inspires transformation of entire communities. We are proud to partner with T.D. Jakes Enterprises and the Good Soil Movement to lift up Black entrepreneurs across America.”

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