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Get the Knowledge You Need to Succeed in the Real Estate Industry

Omicelo Cares Real Estate Co-Powerment Series has been extremely impactful to many people who have taken the course. Meleak Potter, a 2018 graduate of the course, experienced this firsthand.

After taking the Real Estate Co-Powerment Series, Potter now owns multiple million-dollar properties, three businesses, and three personal real estate investments.

Potter allocates a lot of this success to the confidence he gained from Omicelo Cares Real Estate Co-Powerment Series. Let’s take a look at how Omicelo Cares and Potter achieved success together:

Further Developing Potter’s Real Estate Knowledge

The Real Estate Co-Powerment Series is an in-depth and comprehensive course that educates anyone in the community on how the real estate industry works and how their community can be improved by it. 

As a title insurance and settlement professional, Potter took this course to expand his overall real estate knowledge and become an investor. Even with his background in title insurance and settlement, he said that he gained a lot from the course, including:

  • Overall comprehension of real estate
  • Insight into being a homeowner
  • Help and insight in navigating the industry
  • Resources to reference in the future
  • Connections within the area
  • Developing partnerships with others

Overall, Potter was delighted with the education and resources he received through the Real Estate Co-Powerment Series, which he continues to use today as he further develops his real estate career, now owning multiple properties and businesses. 

Acquiring Million Dollar Properties and Beginning Non-Profits

Potter, a local to Homewood, discovered the Real Estate Co-Powerment Series from a recommendation within his community. As a continual learner, he had been on the search for more courses and programs to take to round out his knowledge. 

Potter owns three businesses: Pittsburgh Minority Real Estate Group (PMRG), Acres and Heirs, and Realty Thinking. Potter has seen how his education through Omicelo Cares has directly impacted all three of his businesses and his personal residential investments. 

Pittsburgh Minority Real Estate Group (PMRG)

PMRG, a title insurance and settlement business that Potter began in 2016, helps people with the last part of their real estate translation, handling their paperwork, and transferring funds. With Potter’s interest in real estate, he wanted to expand his capabilities to more than closing.

While PMRG does not invest in property, Omicelo Cares still positively impacted PMRG. Potter now had a fuller understanding of the industry players, helping him network and grow PMRG. After taking the Real Estate Co-Powerment Series, Potter said that he could navigate the industry better when working with his business.

He is now confident “to take on whatever comes his way” due to his ability to deal with tax credits, pro formas, and budgets. In addition, this confidence has helped him to be more inquisitive when researching the industry. 

Acres and Heirs

Potter’s mother, Gloria Potter, began Acres and Heirs, a development company, in 2018, where Potter works alongside his mother.

Since taking the Real Estate Co-Powerment Series, Acres and Heirs has acquired multiple million-dollar properties within Hampton, NY; Miami, FL; and Kansas City, MO.

Potter credits his confidence when handling his properties, whether through Acres and Heirs or his personal investments, to the education he gained through Omicelo Cares. He explained that his confidence was built through adequate education in the real estate market, understanding property value, and understanding how to work correctly with pro formas. 

“With Acres and Heirs,” Potter said, “the properties can be quite intimidating just being million dollar properties and having 60 residentials around one of the development properties. It made it a lot easier to be confident when I was talking about bringing different resources that maybe even the partners might not have thought of.” 

In Kansas City, they are currently working to develop a multi-faceted development, including an old armory building and residential homes surrounding that. 

In total, through Acre and Heirs, he owns three properties that are valued at more than one million dollars, and he said that his education with Omicelo Cares has helped him to keep up with these million-dollar meetings. 

Personal Real Estate Investment

Additionally, he owns three residential properties: one he inherited in 2019, another he purchased in 2021, and his personal residence, which he purchased in May of 2022. He is currently renovating one property and looking to rent out the other. 

“Omicelo Cares helped a lot with the confidence in dealing with these properties,” Potter said, referring to all the properties he works with across his many endeavors. 

Realty Thinking

Finally, Potter’s third business is a non-profit called Realty Thinking, which has a similar mission to Omicelo Cares. Realty Thinking was largely impacted by the overall mission of Omicelo Cares:

To CO-POWER existing community members in low- to moderate-income neighborhoods to own financial assets, grow their businesses, and lift their incomes.

“Working with Omicelo Cares helped guide me into different things,” Potter said. “And I also started a non-profit of my own [that is] real estate based.”

Realty Thinking, which began in 2019, strives to find other ways to support the community and Omicelo Cares’ mission of real estate education. They offer courses covering workforce development, trade institute, landlord education, technology advancement, basic principles of construction, and architectural design. 

Omicelo Cares Impacting Many Facets of His Life

The education that Potter received from Omicelo Cares extended and continues to extend far beyond simply real estate investment. It helped to build his confidence in various areas of his career, enabling him to begin another business and acquire million-dollar properties. Through these things, Potter has also been able to impact his community by offering webinars, conferences, and non-profit courses. 

“PMRG led me into seeing a lot of ways to deal with real estate, and it left some questions, and Omicelo Cares came in to help fill those gaps.”

Learn how you can change your career path and impact your community here.

Building Wealth Through Real Estate in Less Than 50 Days

At Omicelo Cares, each course offered centers on building wealth. Adia Effiong, a graduate of Omicelo Cares’ 2020 Real Estate Co-Powerment Series, greatly appreciated how clear the organization was about the benefits of building wealth, which, like many other real estate investors, was a significant reason she embarked on her real estate endeavor. 

Omicelo Cares focused Effiong’s investor eye through education. The Real Estate Co-Powerment Series taught Effiong what to look for as a developer and investor, such as property and school taxes, as well as the distance to resources in the community, like parks and the bus line. Additionally, she learned how to see a deal and calculate after-renovation value. 

While all change begins with having the proper view, or “investor eye,” seeing must be paired with doing. Omicelo Cares fully equips their students to be ready to tackle issues and achieve their goals immediately upon graduation from their course. 

Project Ready in 49 Days

This 7-week course aims to have all students project ready by the program’s end by educating them on how to identify and address areas of improvement within their communities. Effiong did exactly that … 

“I put an earnest deposit down the day of our graduation.”

And it worked.

With her education from Omicelo Cares, Effiong was project ready on the day of graduation. The course helped her look for and secure funding, form a business plan, and have the confidence she needed to take the next step: purchasing her second property, a single-family home in Braddock.

“It really gave me the confidence to know how it is done in an equitable and just way,” Effiong said. “By doing it on a small scale, I’ve learned the ins and outs of the process.”

Building Wealth Through Confidence

Effiong founded Ascend Entities in April of 2019, based on her “desire to provide more affordable housing” in an economy that doesn’t naturally provide affordable housing.

“I was interested in multi-family property management,” Effiong said, expanding on why she became a real estate investor. 

Her first real estate investment was in a duplex in Swissvale, which encouraged her to learn more about real estate and led her to Omicelo Cares. She was referred to Omicelo Cares by a friend who had already experienced the program, and Effiong wanted to decide between two of their courses: the Real Estate Co-Powerment Series and the Landlord Experience. She chose the Real Estate Co-Powerment Series, which impacted her so significantly that she plans to take the Landlord Experience soon.

After her education from the Real Estate Co-Powerment Series gave her “all the confidence and the knowledge in the world,” Effiong purchased her second property. 

The course far exceeded Effiong’s expectations: “My expectations were to understand how community members can get involved in development and not leave it to all the gentrifiers in California.” 

While she did find the answers to her questions, she learned so much more because of being surrounded by knowledgeable experts, from presenters and speakers to fellow participants. 

She is currently renovating her property in Braddock, which will be available to rent in January. Her goal for 2023 is to obtain a property in Pittsburgh and take the Omicelo Cares Landlord Experience course. 

Dive Deeper Into Real Estate Investment

If you are looking for ways to grow your business, increase your income, or own financial assets, Omicelo Cares has the resources you need. Learn how our Real Estate Co-Powerment Series will help you build wealth through real estate investment. Contact us today to get involved.

All About Pennsylvania Real Estate Continuing Education

Omicelo Cares Offers Pennsylvania Residents an In-Depth Course on Real Estate Development

Did you know that the average community member can make a big difference in the well-being and future of their neighborhood? 

Real estate investing offers many opportunities to improve the vitality of your community. There are many ways to learn about real estate investing — online resources, college courses, or even by doing some research on your own. Better yet, you can sign up for Omicelo Cares’ “Real Estate Co-Powerment Series” here in Pennsylvania. 

Getting started in real estate investing is easier than you may think with the proper guidance and education. By revitalizing your community through real estate investment, you can create lasting positive effects for you, your neighbors, and the small businesses in your area.

Pennsylvania Real Estate Continuing Education

Real estate investing is one of the best ways for community members to revitalize their neighborhoods. With Pennsylvania real estate continuing education, you can help turn around parts of town that are in decline and make them more vibrant and sustainable. 

Based in Pittsburgh, Omicelo Cares offers continuing education courses on real estate investing, which can help you learn about the different types of real estate investments and how to make them work for you. Our Real Estate Co-Powerment Series covers practical topics such as:

• The fundamentals of real estate

• Proforma development

• Transactional law

• Financial training

• Tax credits

• Community engagement

• Zoning

• And much more 

Through Pennsylvania real estate continuing education, people can learn to invest in real estate and discover new ways to make their communities stronger. By working with an experienced advisor like Omicelo Cares, even beginners can learn how to put together an investment portfolio that will benefit both you and the community as a whole.

Investing in real estate is a great way to improve the quality of life for everyone in your community. It creates jobs and economic growth, puts more money in your bank account, and brings communities together — making everyone better off.

The Benefits of the Real Estate Co-Powerment Series

The Real Estate Co-Powerment Series is a seven-week education platform designed to demystify the real estate development process. With Pennsylvania real estate continuing education, residents can take an active role in revitalizing their communities in real and lasting ways. 

Through the series, residents will learn about the real estate development process and how they can invest in it to create positive change. Every participant will walk away with the following: 

An Understanding of the Connection Between Homes and Wealth

The series is a unique opportunity for Pennsylvania residents to gain the knowledge and skills they need to improve their communities. Top applicants will be able to develop a real-life real estate project during the course for deeper learning and experience.

The Confidence to Make Smart Decisions

The series will provide residents with the tools they need to make informed decisions about investing in real estate and promote transparency in the development process. 

Concrete Steps for Rebuilding Neighborhoods

By taking part in the Real Estate Co-Powerment Series, participants can discover how to play a key role in revitalizing their communities and making them better places to live, work, and raise families.

Instruction, Coaching, and Mentorship

Community members, organizational leaders, and small business owners can take advantage of the support of Omicelo and our partners during and after the course. Students have access to their instructors during the course and have options for staying in contact after the course is complete.

Build Wealth and Improve Your Neighborhood’s Quality of Life

Real estate investing is a proven way to build wealth through residential and/or commercial real estate. In addition to providing you with an income stream, real estate can also help you increase your home or business’s value and provide you with tax benefits.

It is also a good way to give back to your community by creating jobs and improving the quality of life for residents. By investing in real estate, you can help stimulate the local economy and spark new opportunities for growth in your area.

Sign up to be notified when applications open for Omicelo Cares’ Real Estate Co-Powerment Series today. Classes meet on Tuesday and Thursday evenings for seven weeks.

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Equipped to Better Her Community Via Real Estate Educators

Equipped to Better Her Community Via Real Estate Educators

Lisa Freeman’s first interaction with Omicelo Cares was through their partner, Neighborhood Allies. Together these two organizations created the Real Estate Co-powerment Series, a program that would steer Freeman to unique education and $475,000 for her farm and greenhouse in the Manchester section of Pittsburgh. 

Freeman, the owner of Freeman Family Farm and Greenhouse and a graduate of the Real Estate Co-powerment Series, said that the education she received through Omicelo Cares helped her succeed because it was an essential part of her foundation. 

“[Freeman Family Farm and Greenhouse has] grown because [Omicelo Cares is] part of my foundation,” she said. “It will always be.”

The course helped her develop a plan in the visionary stage of her business by gaining a fundamental understanding of the ins and outs of how developers work. 

Freeman took Omicelo Cares’ Real Estate Co-powerment Series with two intentions:

  1. To obtain a more in-depth understanding of real estate.
  2. To further understand gentrification and if it could somehow be good for her community.

While her education in community organizing gave her what she calls a “peripheral view” of real estate, it didn’t entirely give her the expansive knowledge developers have. And that’s what she was looking for. 

“Omicelo Cares was the forefront in helping me understand real estate, and now I understand who the players are and how [I] can be the player,” Freeman said. 

Through this course, she gained the foundation, knowledge, and courage she needed to build on her property and purchase more land. She is currently in the process of buying various properties with vacant homes with the intention of renovating them for better use and building back up that specific block, one property at a time.

A Driving Desire to Care for Her Community

With two master’s degrees — one in social work and one in public administration — Freeman has a clear desire to impact her community. As a matter of fact, her major focus was on community organizing and community building. And this motivation to improve her neighborhood is seen clearly throughout all her work experience.

Her first initiative upon moving to Pittsburgh was the formation of a school community garden. It was created to teach kids compassion and how to care and nurture for something other than themselves when they live in such a violent world. “The garden was meant to grow people,” Freeman said.

Out of this initiative came the birth of her business: Freeman Family Farm and Greenhouse. Located in the historic district of Manchester, Freeman Family Farm and Greenhouse strives to bring together the community by bridging ethnic, gender, or age gaps.

Growth, Nurture, and Impact

“We are all the same when we are playing in the dirt,” Freeman said.

Freeman Family Farms intends to help people because a farmer’s primary purpose is to ensure that their community is fed and cared for. “We grow for the marginal residents, the medically vulnerable residents, and the elderly.”

Freeman’s farm does not operate as a typical business; instead, they grow and give away through free marketplaces hosted by the Greater Pittsburgh Community Foodbank.

More than growing food for the community, Freeman Family Farms and Greenhouse also offers individuals a safe space. These people can come to the farm and rest and meditate, turning off all the voices in their heads, while they help with farm tasks such as weeding. 

“You can hear the birds, the crickets, the bees, the smells, the sights, and it’s just you and me,” she said. “And if there’s something you want to share or something I can offer you, a resource, then that’s what we do.”

Omicelo Cares helped Freeman expand her farm in numerous ways. Three years after graduation, she is now able to begin building greengrocers. The farm has received $300,000 in assistance from the USDA that will be able to support Freeman Family Farm and its mission. They have also received $175,000 to assist in building a greengrocer farmers market for the community.

Since taking the course, Freeman has received funding from USDA, The Food Trust, the PA Department of Agriculture, the Alleghany County Health Department, and others.

Omicelo Cares Real Estate Educators Growing You

Freeman emphasized that the class is for anyone who wants to learn more about real estate and make a change in their community.

“It was a broad range of people who participated,” she said. Participants can be individuals like herself or from housing agencies, the government, the CDC, or anywhere else. Registration is open to everyone.

“Anybody in their community who wants to make a change can be the change, and Omicelo Cares gave me the skills to know how to be that changemaker,” she said.Learn more about Omicelo Cares’ Real Estate Co-powerment series and how you can make a change for the better in your community.

The Truth About Building Healthy Communities

Living in a community is an essential human necessity. The support we get from our neighbors, families, schools, and local businesses is critical to our health and well-being. 

But as a community ages and begins to show signs of deterioration, changes are required to keep it alive and thriving. Here in America, it’s common for developers to target an older neighborhood for “revitalization”; yet too often that means pushing the established residents out and rebuilding the area with new shops, businesses, and expensive homes. 

What can the average resident do to strengthen older communities and keep neighbors and families together? The key is understanding the connection between housing, health, and wealth — and then taking strategic steps to fortify all three areas. 

You — yes, YOU, a community resident — can be a part of the solution. In fact, when you understand what it takes to build a healthy community, you may be surprised to discover how much of a difference you can make. 

Let’s take a closer look at what it takes to build — or rebuild — a healthy community. We’ll discuss the qualities and benefits of building healthy communities, how locals can get involved, and explore some resources that can equip you to be a proactive part of the solution. 

What Is a Healthy Community? 

Maintaining a community that is safe, clean, productive, and mentally stable requires three core elements to functioning effectively: housing, health, and wealth. These three areas are inseparably linked:

• In order for residents to be healthy, they need safe and reliable housing, as well as money to keep it that way. 

• Proper housing requires funding and investment to ensure that homes are adequately equipped for their residents. 

• Building wealth in a community requires that its residents are healthy, have a safe and dependable home, and have opportunities for generating consistent income.

When all three of these areas are being addressed with the community’s best interests in mind, only then is it possible to begin building a healthy community. 

The Benefits of Building Healthy Communities

Building healthy communities is important for a number of reasons: 

• When communities are healthy, they are more likely to thrive economically and environmentally.

• Healthy communities have a lower crime rate and a stronger social network.

• Creating a sense of community can help reduce stress and promote social cohesion.

• They are more resilient in the face of natural disasters or other crises.

• They provide opportunities for social and economic mobility for their residents.

• Healthy communities can lead to improved mental health for residents.

• They foster creativity and innovation by encouraging people to come together to problem solve.

• Building healthy communities can have a positive impact on the local economy.

• Building healthy communities helps us connect with our surroundings in ways that can be beneficial both physically and emotionally.

How to Get Involved in Building Healthy Communities

Communities are essential to creating a healthy environment for all residents. But it doesn’t happen without the intentional, proactive efforts of the community members. 

There are many ways to get involved in building healthy communities, and everyone has something to contribute. The benefits of community involvement include improved communication and cooperation between neighbors, as well as stronger ties within the community itself.

For example, you may know an elderly neighbor who lives in a home that’s no longer safe for them. Perhaps they’re unable to go up and down their stairs or have mobility issues that prevent them from living independently. However, with some local funding and a few essential home modifications, that neighbor can continue to live in their home and be a part of their beloved community.

Organizations like Omicelo Cares exist to help community members and local business operators to take productive steps toward strengthening their neighborhoods and bringing new life to aging communities. We understand that local resident and business participation is critical for the future well-being of our communities, and there are many ways we can support it.

Resources for Building Healthy Communities

Community leaders and residents need to be aware of the resources available to help them build healthy communities. These resources include programs and policies that promote health, education about health and healthy living, and financial assistance for those looking to make changes in their lifestyle. 

Omicelo Cares offers resources to help community leaders implement programs and policies that support a healthy lifestyle and a safer living environment. We believe neighborhoods can create promise for all community members. Our mission is to “CO-POWER existing community members in low- to moderate-income neighborhoods to own financial assets, grow their businesses, and lift their incomes.”

We offer several resources that help local community members learn the skills it takes to improve their financial situation and contribute to a more vibrant community: 

7 Pillars™ of Sustainable Business

We help small businesses by providing deep business support for income growth and sustainability. Our 7 Pillars™ Accelerator advances small businesses through specialized technical assistance and helps these businesses navigate revenue and growth opportunities.

Excel Ahead

Excel Ahead is a 6-8 week course designed to train individuals on Microsoft Excel, providing them with skills that are currently in demand in the workforce. These skills can also prove valuable to landlords and those who are purchasing and developing real estate.

Real Estate Co-Powerment Series

The Real Estate Co-Powerment Series is an education platform designed to demystify the real estate development process. Through in-class instruction, coaching and mentorship, our goal is to demonstrate how community members, organizations, and small business owners can participate and benefit from their own neighborhood revitalization and learn how to get active projects across the finish line.

The Landlord Experience

The Landlord Experience is a series of courses, offered by Omicelo Cares, that is designed to educate and inform landlords. The goals of this program are to promote effective landlord/tenant engagement, present landlord/tenant resources, and provide a formal understanding of rights as a landlord. Course topics include leases, subsidies, avoiding eviction, and more.

Sign up to be notified about upcoming opportunities to participate in an Omicelo Cares program  that can truly make a positive impact on your community. 

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A Problem and a Promise: Low-Income Housing in Pittsburgh

At Omicelo Cares, we understand and value the importance of education. We believe that with adequate education, any community member is capable of making a change for good in their community. With those values at the forefront of everything we do, we provide educational series to community members in the neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that enable them to:

  • Raise their income
  • Grow their business
  • Own financial assets
  • Impact their community

Omicelo Cares’ courses equip our students with the knowledge to set themselves up for success. Our Real Estate Co-Powerment Series educates community members on investing in commercial real estate, private real estate, community building, and how to flip and sell properties at prices that the community can afford. These practices help stabilize the local economy, enabling prosperous livelihoods for all community members.

Our Real-Estate Co-Powerment Series enables community members to provide families who are low-income with housing in Pittsburgh that they can afford. 

Pittsburgh: A City of Passion and Affordable Housing

In 2022, U.S. News and World Report ranked Pittsburgh as the 26th best place to live in the U.S. out of its 150 most populated cities. This ranking is based on many factors, including the job market, housing affordability, desirability, net migration, and quality of life, which is composed of the quality of education and health care, well-being, the commuter index, the air quality index, and crime rates.

For those of us who call Pittsburgh home, our love for this city can be partly understood by the nicknames we call her: Steel City, Iron City, the City of Bridges, the Burgh, the 412, the Paris of Appalachia, and, for all the sports fans, the City of Champions. A community rich with history and passion, Pittsburghers are proud of where they come from.

Compared to the 2021 national average housing cost of $365,616, Pittsburgh’s average housing cost in 2021 was more than $100k less than the national average, coming in at $222,479. Additionally, U.S. News and World Report ranked Pittsburgh as the 6th cheapest place to live in the United States in 2022.

A Two-Fold Reality

While Pittsburgh is one of the most desirable places in the nation to live this coming year, our achievements come in tandem with the reality of poverty and low income, a persistent challenge within many major cities. Although Pittsburgh has a below average housing cost, this cost is still out of reach for many low-income families.

Impoverishment throughout cities decreases the community’s health due to inadequate health care, diet, housing, and education. The current poverty line is less than $26,500 a year; for an individual, it is $12,880. And with the poverty line this low, there are also many families above the poverty line within the low-income bracket who are still unable to provide for their own basic needs.

The federal government defines low income as 200% below the federal poverty threshold, which would currently be less than $53,000 for a family of four. With Pittsburgh’s median income being $50,536, low-income housing is a genuine reality in the Steel City.

The Cause of Low-Income Housing in Pittsburgh

While low income is not the same as poverty, it is still not considered a reasonable living condition. Low-income families lack adequate nutrition, healthcare, education, jobs, and housing — all essentials to a prosperous life. So why do Pittsburgh communities struggle to offer housing for low-income families?

The Center for American Progress attributes this to the increase of wealthy people moving inward toward the city center, especially when the city is becoming an increasingly popular place to live. With the rise of wealthy people in the area, low-income families are “priced out of their neighborhoods.” Moreover, many low-income families rent their homes, and with this economic change, these low-income households experience instability as rent increases to accommodate an affluent audience. Yet, these low-income families’ wages remain the same. 

In short, gentrification, an increase in real estate prices, and a decrease in rental availability cause the struggle that Pittsburgh neighborhoods experience when trying to provide low-income housing for families in the area.

Overcoming Impoverishment Through Education

Because of these persistent housing issues within Pittsburgh, we at Omicelo Cares strive to bring prosperity to low-income areas through real estate education — specifically, our Real Estate Co-Powerment Series.

Our organization was founded on the principle that neighborhoods create promise for community members, and by educating the community to make the real estate market reflect the median income in impoverished communities, we can help develop flourishing communities within low- to moderate-income areas in Pittsburgh. In addition, our focus on financial health has helped individuals own low-income housing in Pittsburgh and increase their incomes. 

Making an Impact Through Education on Low-Income Housing in Pittsburgh

We’ve built our programs to be accessible to those who need them, but we can’t do it all alone. As our team works to strengthen every neighborhood in Pittsburgh through education, support, and care, we’re always on the lookout for partners to help us achieve our ambitious — yet very achievable — goals. Learn how you can help improve your community by contacting us today.

Growing a Business, Plants, and Community

Growing a Business, Plants, and Community  

Omicelo Cares has enabled business owners in Pittsburgh communities to grow their business through strategic planning within their 7 Pillars™ of Sustainable Business program. Within this program, participants have the opportunity to focus on seven sectors of their business: strategy, technology, communication, finance, legal, capital, and people.

Ebony Lunsford-Evans recently graduated from the 2021-22 program of 7 Pillars™, concentrating on the financial pillar of her business.

“It’s helped me as a business owner learn to focus on the important things in my business and keep an eye on the way things grow in business,” she said.

And Lunsford-Evans certainly loves to watch things grow. As an urban farmer and lifelong educator located in the West End of Pittsburgh, Lunsford-Evans has dedicated a good portion of her life to helping things grow: fresh produce, the community members she teaches, and her businesses, Farmer Girl Eb and Out of The End, Incorporated.

Through her participation in Omicelo Cares’ 7 Pillars™ program, Lunsford-Evans had the opportunity to work with attorneys and create a consignment agreement for her business, Farmer Girl Eb. Before she completed this program, her consignment agreement created a 100% increase in entrepreneurial partnerships for her produce store.

The 7 Pillars™ Process: Growing Her Business

Through the 7 Pillars™ of Sustainable Business program, Omicelo Cares came alongside Lunsford-Evans to help her build her strategic plan. Her plan outlined her personal and financial goals in a yearly structure. Omicelo Cares’ employees were able to support her by helping her to create a clear focus on where she was headed. As a result, this strategic plan produced tangible results.

With the guidance of Omicelo Cares, Lunsford-Evans increased her entrepreneurial partnerships by 100% before completing the 7 Pillars program.

During the program, Lunsford-Evans felt respected for who she was in her creativity. She said that the Omicelo Cares Staff supported and guided her by listening to her goals and recognizing her strengths. This support enabled her to successfully develop her business into what she truly wanted it to be. 

Impacting Her Community Through Growing Plants

Lunsford-Evans began her business pursuit with a desire to educate others. After teaching in the public school, she utilized her skills as an educator to build her business in urban farming and agricultural education. 

She began by renovating an “eye-sore” of a vacant lot into a beautifully lush urban farm. She now owns two urban farms, one in the West End and the other in the North Side. These farms supply her corner produce store, Farmer Girl Eb, along with other entrepreneurs she partners with. 

“We grow fresh produce there on both lots,” Lunsford-Evens said. “They’re both teaching sites for the community to come and learn to grow and sustain fresh food that we grow right in the ground.” 

With these resources, she has impacted her community in many ways. Through her non-profit organization, Out of the End, Inc., she has educated community members on how to sustain and grow food from seed, harvest produces, build a relationship with the land, understand soil health, scale and distribute food, and understand herbal medicines. 

“We have farmers from 3 years old all the way up to 83 years old,” she said about her students within the community. 

Lunsford-Evans explained how the ability to grow and sustain food decreases the social determinants of health, saying, “Now that a lot of people are becoming more aware of how to have a relationship with their land, grow food, and eat healthier, negative impacts on the social determinants of health are decreasing. People are not having the illnesses that they were experiencing.”

She is passionate about educating her community on the importance of eating healthy because of how it can impact their overall health issues. 

“I’ve had to literally tell the community, ‘I’m not a doctor,’” she said. “But I’ve had people literally be healed from just eating right and creating medicine from the land.”

7 Pillars™ of Sustainable Business

The 7 Pillars™ of Sustainable Business program empowers business owners to create clear goals and achieve substantial results. This program unites business owners passionate about their communities with our experts at Omicelo Cares, who strive to co-power community members to own financial assets, grow their business, and increase their income. 

Lunsford-Evans was able to take part in this program and watch not only her business grow but also the communities she is serving. Her desire to benefit her community overflows into her work as she strives to make fresh food available for the community as a whole.

Learn more about how the 7 Pillars™ of Sustainable Business program can help you impact your community through business growth.

Vision. Mission. Focus. Obtain Your Business Goals with 7 Pillars™ of Sustainable Business

Vision. Mission. Focus. Obtain Your Business Goals with 7 Pillars™ of Sustainable Business

Taylor Ford knew she needed to find the time to slow down and work on her business because she was struggling to find focus. She owned one IT business that offered numerous facets of IT work. However, Ford struggled to create a clear direction for her services because of the company’s extensive reach.

Aware that she needed help to develop and focus her business, Ford signed up for Omicelo Cares’ 7 Pillars™ of Sustainable Business program. This program centers on seven different business sectors, which are Strategy, Technology, Communication, Finance, Legal, Capital, and People, gearing toward each participant’s business’ unique needs. 

This program provided Ford with mentorship, guidance, and support focusing on the strategy and marketing pillars.

“My favorite part about that was actually the one-on-one mentoring with 7 Pillars™ Manager, Shannon,” Ford said about the Omicelo Care’s team member. “She became a real friend in my business; a real partner. And she helped me with my strategy, and she helped me conceptualize who I actually was in business and what I wanted to do and the impact that I wanted to make.”

Focusing and Strategizing Her Business 

Through the support of Omicelo Cares, Ford successfully separated her business into two distinct companies: Taylor Made IT Services and IT’s For Me. Both of her businesses are centered on giving technology access to minorities, but each has its specific focus.

Taylor Made IT Services offers IT managerial services with on-site help, unique from most IT companies.

“What differentiates Taylor made is we have a lot of on-site help,” Ford said. “We literally contract out our department. We come embedded in integral parts of our clients’ environments and ecosystems because we are their staff members; we are their technicians.”

Taylor Made’s next goal is to take over the charter school scene to make sure that there is a Taylor Made technician in every charter school serving minorities, Ford said.

On the other hand, IT’s For Me teaches the community how to utilize various mainstream technology through summer programs and after-school camps.

“The after-school programs help the children be creative and innovative using technology,” Ford explained. “It supports the theme that they don’t all have to be basketball players and football players. They can be astronauts, they can be engineers, they can be scientists, and allowing them the space to create, to be innovative, to think, has really changed the game for them.”

IT’s For Me currently partners with after-school programs, but they will host their own after-school programs and summer camps next year. At these programs and camps, the kids can work on varying projects, including designing websites, building fliers, working on their resumes and cover letters, learning the Microsoft Office Suite, and collaborating in a group. These events focus on varying sectors of technology.

Ford explained that her companies didn’t change all that much; they both still offered the same services.

“It was more so an internal separation that really needed to happen for our clients,” Ford said. “There was a service shift.”

This focus and separation improved her work environment by establishing a clear direction for her team by always relating their services to their mission. 

“It’s improved my overall quality of life because I have a tidbit of my sanity back because now I know which way I am going,” Ford said. 

Support On Her Business Journey

Omicelo Cares and their partners came alongside Ford to support her as a business partner to obtain tangible results by slowing down and working on her business.

“They helped me build upon what exactly my company does,” Ford said. “So, that’s why I separated them. They were able to help me to clarify my message for each of them because they don’t do the same thing. They don’t have the same clientele. They’re not the same target market.”

The program’s collaborative nature enabled Ford and other participants to focus solely on their business with the help of Omicelo Cares’ business professionals. 

Separating her two businesses clarified which services were being offered to each customer. 

7 Pillars™ of Sustainable Business

Ford highly recommends the 7 Pillars™ of Sustainable Business program because of how the mentors support you and become your partners and friends. 

“[They] built a rapport with me that is very hard to build, and they kept that rapport,” Ford said.

The 7 Pillars™ of Sustainable Business is a hands-on, personalized experience that forces you to work on your business, Ford said. It teaches that with all seven pillars, your business can be structured to achieve income growth and sustainability:

The 7 Pillars™ include:

  • Strategy
  • Technology
  • Communication 
  • Finance 
  • Legal 
  • Capital
  • People

Visit our website to learn more about the 7 Pillars™ of Sustainable Business program and how it can help you grow your business.

A Different Approach to Real Estate

A Different Approach to Real Estate

In 2017, Tenika Chavis signed up for what she expected to be just another real estate training. With few expectations, she thought she might make a connection and, once again, talk about the basics of real estate investing. 

She recalls going to these series of sessions, thinking, “I shouldn’t take up space in something like this that’s meant for the community.” She felt her real estate knowledge was already “adequate,” not realizing the impact this series would have on her and her community.

Before taking Omicelo Cares’ Real Estate Co-powerment Series, cocreated by Neighborhood Allies, Chavis worked in property and project management and as an advisor for other real estate investors. Prior to her education with Omicelo Cares, Chavis, like most real estate professionals, was taught to buy cheap, negotiate low, and do as few repairs as possible to create the largest market value and purchase price gap possible. 

But during this series, she learned that this form of real estate investment was affecting her neighborhood’s demographics and causing displacement in her community. 

“It opened my eyes,” Chavis expressed. “I was part of the problem and that bothered me, learning that the median income in the area is $45,000 and hasn’t changed in almost 25 years but the prices of real estate have accelerated.” 

This knowledge propelled Chavis into her journey of learning how to be part of the solution. 

Improving Neighborhoods by Finding Real Estate Solutions 

Chavis left the Real Estate Co-powerment Series fully prepared to change how real estate was affecting her community. She became a real estate investor and changed her approach to real estate, ensuring a win-win situation for both the investor and buyer. 

“It changed the way that I approach real estate now because I will actually try to work with the family to give them what they need,” Chavis said. “Some families need monthly payments, some of them need a lump sum, some just want to get rid of the property because it’s a problem. I spend more time getting to know the family and what they need.”

She approaches the situation aware of the profit she needs to make, the median income in the area, and varying places she can take money from for rehab and repair. 

“I’ve found different ways to profit rather than just charging market-rate rent and overpricing each property,” Chavis explained. 

Expanding Her Real Estate Impact 

Five years later, Chavis has her own real estate business and construction company:

“My business in real estate improves my community because I can empathize with the end user,” Chavis said. “I have a different perspective than a corporate investor or an investor from another part of town. I feel that I can relate better to the circumstances on the ground in the area which make me a better owner and a better resource to the community.”

Before the series, she owned one property; since then, she has owned seven at one time. She also works with other private investors and asset-based lenders.

Additionally, she has become a trainer with Omicelo Cares for the Real Estate Co-powerment Series and, through this, has had the opportunity to share her real estate journey and help others build beneficial connections. She also speaks at other events about being a woman in construction and real estate.

“[The program] has made me more confident as a real estate professional because I have access to other services and professionals that I didn’t even know existed before,” Chavis said.

Real Estate Co-powerment Series

This program is a 7-week series that demystifies the real estate development process, demonstrating how community members can get involved in real estate. 

“It provides a good baseline of knowledge for putting things together,” Chavis said. “You get a great start to getting into real estate and a lot of connections.”

This program is excellent for:

  • Community-based organization staff
  • Property owners
  • Small business owners
  • Active community members 
  • Those interested in learning the real estate investment process

Learn more about our Real Estate Co-powerment Series and begin your journey of strengthening your community through real estate education.

Neighborhood Revitalization Initiatives: Healthy Communities

Neighborhood Revitalization Initiatives: Healthy Communities

Community is an essential part of who we are. Each one of us plays a part in sustaining the community in which we live. Without diverse neighbors with skills and talents other than our own, the mechanic wouldn’t have a doctor, and the doctor wouldn’t have a car. 

Each person is a vital part of the community.

Yet sometimes communities weaken over time without access to the care and resources needed to grow. That’s why neighborhood revitalization initiatives are crucial in supporting and uplifting areas that need some tender loving care. 

What Are the Goals of Neighborhood Revitalization Initiatives?

The overarching goal of all neighborhood revitalization initiatives is to strengthen the community. This is done through various projects that help renew the neighborhood. 

  • Educate on practical knowledge and valuable skills
  • Own financial assets, grow businesses, and lift income
  • Support small businesses
  • Project completion
  • Increase the quality of life

“We all want our communities to be healthy.”

–Denise, past participant of The Real Estate Co-Powerment Series

A Community’s Cornerstone: Education

Education is the pillar of all neighborhood revitalization initiatives because a community will perish without knowledge. Learning is a fundamental building block of society. 

At Omicelo Cares, we offer practical knowledge and specific skill sets that help individuals obtain financial assets, grow their businesses, and increase their income. Encouraging individuals to do this will, in turn, help the entire community rejuvenate and stabilize. 

Supporting and Building Small Businesses

Family-owned businesses are another major contributor to community revitalization. These businesses generate more jobs for the community, encourage neighborly interaction and development, establish an identity, and circulate money locally. 

By developing and supporting these businesses, community members can come together to form a shared identity. 

Ending the Demise of Uncompleted Projects 

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, unforeseen circumstances, weather challenges, delays in obtaining permits, and a change of plans cause uncompleted projects to line streets in neighborhoods. Risk factors such as these are one of the causes of underperforming and incomplete projects, according to KPMG’s 2021 Global Construction Survey. In 2021, 37% of companies said they missed their budget and schedule goals due to COVID-19. Risk management must be addressed to improve the organization and performance of construction projects. 

It may be debatable, but uncompleted projects are worse to look at than abandoned buildings. They saw the potential. They chased the potential. But then they quit. 

A vital part of neighborhood revitalization initiatives is project completion. Through Omicelo Cares’ partners such as Neighborhood Allies, we strive to bring every project to completion to build the community’s finances, relationships, and uniformity.

Omicelo Cares Courses 

We care deeply about the communities of Pittsburgh. Therefore, we have set our life’s purpose on increasing the overall quality of life in surrounding neighborhoods. 

Because a community deserves to be a community. 

Our courses help communities discover what they were meant to be: a place of identity, relationship, and purpose. We provide:

We also come alongside businesses to help them achieve income, growth, and sustainability in 7 Pillars of Sustainable Business. We also support community members, small businesses, and organizations bringing projects to completion in the Real Estate Co-Powerment Series

Denise, a past participant of The Real Estate Co-Powerment Series, said, “What followed after graduating from the Series was the confidence to believe in the process. Confidence then gave way to courage. Some folks participate in the cohort for personal reasons, some for professional reasons. No matter the individual purpose, we all want our communities to be healthy.”