By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
ATLANTIC CITY – Andre Murphy refers to himself as a “serial entrepreneur,” but his next project, the Atlantic County Economic Innovation Center, could allow many others in the region to catch the entrepreneurial spirit.
The creator of Murphy’s Chicken N Potatoes Community Feeding Tour has been driving the effort to get the EI Center off the ground, a coworking space for small businesses and startups where they can collaborate with industry leaders and each other to become viable.
“As an African-American inventor, innovator and growth strategist, I wanted to develop an entity that could impact the market for years to come,” Murphy said. “The EI Center, which we also refer to is a business incubator, will allow our area to collaborate with industry leaders such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and pro sports. This center will allow us the position to start thinking, moving, and acting like a major city.
“Our center is directing 25% of our revenue to communities within the county which is estimated at $40-$50 million annually and 10% to HBCU’s which is estimated at $20 million annually. Our team brings a combined 90 years of business management, 75 years of marketing/branding, 55 years of sales experience and 30 years of television experience,” he added.
His team includes Atlantic County business professionals Dwight Brown, Celeste Fernandez, Dr. John Hale, John Stetz and Renee Washington.
Such coworking spaces and business incubators have been a boon in numerous other cities, giving small businesses and startups the kind of collaborative support to make an impact on the world. According to the LaunchHouse blog, people working with others in coworking spaces are 74% more productive than they were before joining.
Instagram, Uber, Spotify, London-based Ofo and crowdfunding platform Indiegogo all grew out of coworking spaces to be known throughout the world.
“I would say 10% of the implementation of the center came from researching other cities with centers,” Murphy said. “But, we have innovation that drives our center and the industry collaboration allows us to attract pro sports, financial institutions, automotive brands, television networks, influencers, and national corporations.”
Murphy said in the future, he sees the IE Center becoming a “new hang out” for business owners, entrepreneurs and influencers within a 60-mile radius.
“One of our major attractions is our staged area for product launches, we intend to offer talents in our county the opportunity to introduce their brand, product or service to a national audience,” he said.
Murphy said the IE Center is still looking for a home, possibly the Pleasantville area. He said the center hopes to have a location solidified over the next few weeks. He said the opening, has been pushed back from the summer to sometime in early September.
While he is still fundraising for the project, Murphy said there has been local and national interest in the community business project.
“We have a few mayors, assemblymen, business owners that have took interest,” Murphy said. He said the public can going at a minimum of $50 and more for advanced entrepreneurs.
Murphy has long history as a local entrepreneur that will benefit the center and local startups.
“I’ve been a serial entrepreneur in the South Jersey Market for 28 years and owned a quite a few successful businesses,” he said. “As a promoter in the early 90s I was able to create opportunities for area youth and provide family entertainment for neighboring cities. I’ve promoted approximately 221 events, and a few of my highlights consisted of The ‘Open Mic Apollo Nite’ this ran consecutively for almost three years straight providing family entertainment.
“The Atlantic City Idol in 2005 was also a major attraction to the market held at the Sheraton in Atlantic City. We auditioned a little over 400 acts. This was way before social media,” he continued.
Murphy said as chef over the past few years, he’s focused on feeding locally communities through the COVID-19 pandemic with his signature dish Murphy’s Chicken N Potatoes, which went on to fed over 3,800 people in need in the last six months.
“We recently, got presented the opportunity to utilize a mobile kitchen to continue our feeding initiative. You can find more information at www.Communityfeedingtour.com.,” he said.
Murphy’s experience will be needed for all the budding entrepreneurs in South Jersey.
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