As part of Philadelphia University’s Unity Week and Black History Month, renowned businesswoman, Clara Villarosa, presented “Down to Business: The First 10 Steps for Entrepreneurship for Women” to the PhilaU community Feb. 25 in the Tuttleman Center Auditorium.
During the lecture, Villarosa encouraged students to follow their passions and make sure they following her 10 steps to business success when starting their own business. “You must have the drive and entrepreneurial spirit when you start your own business,” she said.
Villarosa, nationally known as the co-founder of two influential bookstores focused on the African American market, taught students how they can become successful entrepreneurs by giving her 10-step blueprint for starting their own businesses.
Her blueprint of success included how to develop realistic business ideas by researching the industry; analyzing a competitor’s marketing approach; true economic empowerment, from recruiting investors to using loans wisely; scouting the ideal location; clear, targeted, step-by-step instructions for creating a business plan; and many more.
Educated in her Chicago hometown, Villarosa received a B.A. in Education and Psychology at Roosevelt University and an M.A. in Social Work from Loyola University. She attended the Graduate School of Social Work Doctoral Program and College of Law at the University of Denver. The devoted bibliophile pursued a career that spanned the fields of psychiatric social work, hospital administration and banking. Upon losing her job, Villarosa surrendered to the entrepreneurial urge to open her first bookstore, The Hue-Man Experience, in Denver, Co., in 1984.
Since then, Villarosa opened a second branch of the store in 2002 in Harlem, NY. With 4,000 square feet of space, this bookstore became the largest African American bookstore in the U.S.
Villarosa’s high profile has been aided by her membership of the American Booksellers Association where she served on its board for seven years, and as a Trustee of the University of Denver. The recipient of over thirty awards including the National Minority Entrepreneur of the Year, she is the founder of the African American Booksellers Association, sits on the board of New York is Book Country, and–for the past ten years–has organized workshops and chaired panel discussions for the Booksellers Expo annual conference.