Meet Jonathan Swindell CEO Of HBCU HUB and Grambling State University Student
I recently spoke with a young entrepreneur hailing from Carson, California, Jonathan Swindell, who has been able to pursue his passion and make a business of it as well. Swindell is a Computer Information Systems major at Grambling State University who has used his love of technology to better the world in his own way. Swindell had much to say during our interview, and his outlook on being a young black entrepreneur was quite refreshing.
Q: What does being an entrepreneur mean to you? Why is the work you are doing so important?
A: I would say being an entrepreneur means making your name something that people are willing to pay for whether it be a company such as Dell, or Apple. You know all it is, is somebody that had an idea and made their name something others want to invest in. I would say why I think my work is important because, we see a lot of positive black people in the community but they kind of have the same occupation they have a sport they have a certain athletic ability or they have a way with words. As far as computers and innovation and tech, there still isn’t a black face to that so I think what I’m doing is pretty important because those that want to go that path, those that are being different from the mold they see a role model in myself.
Q: Describe the last time you felt like stopping why didn’t you?
A: Last time I felt like stopping was last semester, it was a lot going on as far as personal life, stuff with my sister, and everything just having to deal with life while running with a business. But I didn’t stop because once you start running a business, once you become an entrepreneur, once you have that start up you now have followers you now have people that are looking to you whether it be for service or product so that being the case just because you have things going on in your personal life business still has to run because it is still people looking to your brand or organization for results and you have to deliver those results no matter what.
Q: What role did your HBCU play in where you are now in life?
A: It played a huge role because I came down here a big head, scrawny chest, freshman thinking that I knew everything and it broke me down. It broke me down, coming to Grambling State University broke me down to my bare bone and I tell people all the time, it may not be where the party is at but if you want to get away and really focus for the next 4-5 years of your life, Grambling is the place to do it. And it did that to me it played such a big role because it showed me I didn’t know everything. It showed me sometimes I need to shut up and listen, it showed me to take initiative, it also taught me how to get things done. My HBCU has played a huge role in the man I am today.
Because of the influence of his HBCU and events that played out thus far in Swindell’s life, it led him to do great things such as his current endeavor, the HBCU HUB application. The HBCU HUB is an application available in the App Store, that links any and everything to do with HBCU news, entertainment, pop culture, etc. On the application, one can also research various HBCU’s and decide which is best for you. Another great feature within the application is student resources, it links you to tools such as your personal tutor, jobs-scholarships, FAFSA, and scholarship match. The application is very helpful and actually helped me decide on what HBCU to attend. Swindell gave more insight on his most recent entrepreneurial accomplishments.
Q: Your most recent entrepreneurial endeavor has been the HBCU HUB application, what led you to create such a platform?
A: It started off, [when] I wanted to be in Grambling State University’s idea competition and I didn’t necessarily know what I wanted to do so I just sat back, I thought, [and] I was just googling stuff — I’m really a brainstormer, [I] have a bunch of post-it notes on my wall and stuff. I was just googling stuff and I sometimes think of ideas and I write them down in my phone and I call them Billion Dollar Ideas, which is weird ideas I get, I write them down. One of those ideas had popped up and I knew within the time span of when the idea competition was I could have a product ready to present. It wasn’t going to be a final thing but I could have a working prototype to present and I built that prototype and from marriages took off so much innovation from the application from that one idea competition that won first place is totally different interface all of that is just from innovation and just getting better understanding of what your users are telling you and listening to feedback.
Q: Through your years of being an entrepreneur what has been your biggest accomplishment in your opinion?
A: It had to be selling watts and analytics to Grambling State University, definitely, it had to be that because it was the first time — I kind of label myself as a freelance consultant and that was my quote, unquote biggest contract. That had to be my biggest accomplishment because I saw it all the way through, I did every single phase. I did the research, I talked — I played the political game, I talked to the people I needed to talk to, I got my buy ins, I sold my story and got all the information, the research that I needed. From there I literally made the 17 written system proposal, put together the 25 slide visual presentation and then sold that to Grambling. That had to be my biggest accomplishment and to actually see that it’s projected to make a true impact to save more than a million dollars for a university per semester that to date has to be my biggest accomplishment as far as entrepreneurship.
Q: How would you describe the relationship between technology and entrepreneurship, and why did you chose to combine the two?
A: Technology has been something that I’ve been involved with since I was a child, when I was 14 years old I changed the operating system of my computer from a pc to a mac and then I crashed it when I tried to change it back to a pc. I would always take PlayStations apart, TVs apart, I just love seeing how things work. Always, ever since I was a child I would sit at a red light and think well how does this work, what is actually going on here. So that mixed with ambition and the sense that I’m meant to do something great, my name is going to hold value in this world. Those two just kind of mixed but technology is something I always have loved.
Q: What advice would you give to others seeking to become entrepreneurs?
A: I would say be diligent about your planning and when you plan don’t always plan for the up times you have to plan for seasons when you know your organization or business is going to be down. You have to plan both your peaks and valleys, that’s one of the first things I would say and two the devil is into details. Do not skip the details, because it’s those small little things that you think nobody notices. When somebody sees your product and don’t understand why they like it so much, it’s because your stressed those small details. And details and hard work go hand in hand with each other and no matter what, no matter the storm, no matter how bad it gets keep working hard because hard work is always rewarded. Just keep telling yourself that.
Jonathan Swindell is truly an inspirational young entrepreneur using his natural talents and life lessons to not only own a business but also give back to the black community in his own way. Swindell has achieved so much by the age of 21 and gives a sense of inspiration to anyone that hears his story to go out and chase their dreams.
Daric Cottingham8 Posts
Daric Cottingham (ODtheMC) is a young college blogger/vlogger with high interests in the arts, with ambitions to be "the male Oprah of [his] generation." He believes strongly in the mantra, "reach the people, community service through mass media.." He specializes in all aspects of mass media from writing, photography, cinematography, social mead consultation, and so much more.