“Every leader should have a way to serve people.”
That’s the quote that inspired Roosevelt Blye, a senior general health science student from Biloxi, Mississippi, to create his own podcast.
During quarantine in May, Blye discovered that the COVID-19 pandemic caused 40% of Black businesses to go bankrupt.
That motivated him to start his own business and center it around helping other Black businesses.
“I want my business, whatever it’s going to be, to be involved in Black business,” Blye said.
He discovered his gifts and skills and realized that he can speak well and connect people together.
He developed Tenth University.
“We were trying to figure out a way to describe rare people like a top 10 percentile and then we were studying that and found something called ‘The Talented Tenth’ by W.E.B Dubois,” Blye said. “We were like, ‘Wow, this is literally what we’ve been looking for,’ those Black people that are rare that are going to save basically the rest of the Black community.”
Tenth University is a podcast that represents a rare percentage of people. It is used to promote and inspire young African American entrepreneurs to gain skills and insight from those who have already developed businesses.
“You can be good at something and you can change a passion into a business,” Blye said. “If you already have a business, I want you to look at other entrepreneurs and be able to take skills and strategies that they use and implement them in your business.”
Tenth University is targeted for ages 18-29.
Blye seeks out Black entrepreneurs in that age range. Most of his guests are FAMU students and residents of Tallahassee.
“I just want young entrepreneurs to be able gain something from my podcast,” Blye said. “There are some people that are in high school and younger that also look at the podcast and they benefit as well, because they didn’t know they could do certain things, but seeing people that are doing great things that look like them and talk like them and being inspired is my goal.”
Blye conducts his podcast in a variety of places. He has recorded his interviews in cars, studios and offices.
“We are very fluid on how we give the visuals of it,” Blye said. “I wanted to separate myself from other podcasters that are just only in one location.”
While many entrepreneurs promote their businesses on social media, creating a separate page to showcase their business, Blye changed his own personal Instagram page into his business page as well.
“One strategy I got from my favorite podcast, Earn Your Leisure, they said, ‘Look what your competition is doing and then do the exact opposite,’” Blye said. “I see people rarely switch their personal pages to business, so I was like I’ll do it, since I want to be different.”
“Showcasing Black businesses and entrepreneurship is a great niche because no one else is doing this, the lane is all yours,” YaSin Ali, an intern for Tenth University, said.
“When stars are next to each other in the skies people don’t question it. They just see how beautiful the sky is. Keep it going Tenth University,” Anechoic Birds said.
After developing a strong foundation in Tallahassee, Blye plans on taking Tenth University to Atlanta. His ultimate goal is to tour and speak in different places around the country.
“My biggest thing is that I just want to be relatable, I want to be relatable and for people to see that I’m a real person, I’m authentic and that I’m trying to do something good,” Blye said. “I definitely try to inspire people just by being myself and just showing that I won’t give up.”