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Empowering Miami Beach: Ted Lucas, a Beacon of Success and Knowledge for Black Business Month

presented by Hard Rock International

The Black Professionals Summit is back and we welcome you to a new location for greater connections, opportunities, and experiences

photo credit: AJ Shorter

Ted Lucas, the visionary founder of Slip-N-Slide Records, has transcended the boundaries of the music industry to become a trailblazer in technology and innovation. Through TechNolij, a not-for-profit organization, and other groundbreaking initiatives, he is revolutionizing the landscape by providing opportunities, resources, and mentorship to underrepresented individuals in Black and Brown communities. Lucas's unwavering dedication to closing the racial wealth gap is transforming lives and empowering future generations. As we celebrate Black Business Month, we salute Ted Lucas for his exceptional contributions and look forward to witnessing the enduring impact of his ventures on Miami Beach and beyond.

Ted, take us back to the beginning. What made you start Slip-N-Slide Records and why Miami Beach?

Going back to the beginning, the reason I started Slip-N-Slide Records was because I saw people like Luther Campbell. I was similarly driven to create something in South Florida that meant something- Slip-N-Slide was just that! I chose Miami Beach specifically because I can remember growing up and hearing stories from my grandmother. She used to work on Miami Beach, cleaning hotels, and after 7 PM she would not be allowed to enter the city limits without proof of employment. Her stories were only from the 70’s not too long ago, so for me, this label meant creating something where we could be unrestricted. I have been able to create something that has even grown beyond just the city limits of Miami Beach, and that’s what it is all about.

Would you share some of the key factors that have contributed to the immense success of Slip-N-Slide Records in Miami Beach? What valuable lessons have you learned along the way that could benefit those seeking to start their business in this dynamic city?

One of the key factors for Slip-N-Slide’s success is our ability to identify local Miami talent and develop them into household names. At Slip-N-Slide, we help each artist evolve in their craft and we are always pushing our artists towards optimal success. 25 years later, my main goal is still to ensure that everyone can provide for their families. A valuable lesson I have picked up along the way would be that anything is possible. I had every odd against me. If you were to ask some of my teachers from grade school, they would tell you I shouldn't be where I am today.

Never let what your situation may look like today dictate your future or influence your choices. You write your own story, and only you have the power to control your narrative.

As a prominent figure in the Miami Beach music scene, what role do you believe music and arts play in enhancing the city’s economic development and cultural identity?

The music and arts industries provide employment opportunities for a wide range of professionals, including musicians, performers, artists, designers, technicians, event organizers, marketing executives, and more. Supporting these industries can lead to job creation, both directly and indirectly, in various sectors such as hospitality, retail, marketing, and event management. Nurturing people’s artistic abilities can help them find jobs in the creative industries in the future, promoting economic growth and talent development.

What made you venture into technology? Your recent venture, TechNolij, showcases your commitment to addressing the digital divide and promoting opportunities in emerging Technologies.

Technology has changed the world in many ways. To me, tech means the future. I see potential in our communities if they are given a chance. TechNolij’s goal is to create a more intentional pipeline to close the wealth and technology-access gap in South Florida. We are getting our local communities prepared to be a part of this new technology platform, as well as with existing platforms. If we get involved in this fast, we will stay caught up. I want to see as many Black and Brown people that look like me get funded and work in the tech space. It bothers me that when I speak at events and ask how many attendees are from South Florida, less than 10% of us are represented in that room. That needs to change.

Miami Beach is a melting pot of diverse cultures and communities. How do you ensure that your business endeavors, like TechNolij, actively include and elevate a diverse community?

That is the primary goal for TechNolij, elevating a diverse community by leveling the playing field. One of the main reasons why you don't really see people of color in the tech space is because no one in our community is really talking about tech. There is no conversation, mainly because no one knows what's going on. Furthermore, the world of technology can seem very complex and confusing at first. So, when someone is trying to hop on the wave, they back out because it almost feels like going down a rabbit hole. With TechNolij, I want to eliminate the fears and hindrances to starting due to the lack of education about technology.

More importantly, I am holding all the tech companies that moved down to South Florida accountable; they need to be hiring new talent that looks like me.

The TechNolij Innovation Center at Florida Memorial University has been recognized by many in the tech community. How does it keep a tight pulse on the next generation of Miami Beach’s tech enthusiasts and young entrepreneurs seeking guidance and resources to thrive in this ever-evolving industry?

TechNolij’s home right now is the only Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in South Florida, Florida Memorial University, and that is because I wanted TechNolij to be in the heart of the city. This way, not only do the students that attend Florida Memorial get to participate, but the greater community can also get involved in what we have going on. TechNolij offers apprenticeship programs for all levels of tech, and guaranteed job placement at the end of your program. Unlike other programs, TechNolij recognizes that college students often carry responsibilities outside of academics. For instance, many students must work multiple jobs on top of their courses to take care of their bills, or their families. We are so passionate about the value of the lessons and experiences that we offer at TechNolij, that we actually pay students to learn. Instead of working multiple jobs unrelated to their career aspirations, students can earn money for learning with us, and we ensure that they will be perfectly positioned to earn exceptional income post-graduation. We’re here to set each student up for a lifetime of success.

Your philanthropic events and educational workshops are integral to nurturing young talent and fostering innovation. What advice would you give to those looking to contribute to the community’s growth and development through similar endeavors?

A word of advice I would give is to make sure to partner with the right people. You can do anything by yourself, but why do that when you can create partnerships to broaden your impact? It is also important to make sure you are partnering with someone whose vision aligns with yours. I have noticed a lot of people in South Florida talk about the impact they want to have and opportunities that they want to create, but when you dig a little deeper, it is all talk or fake inspiration for some likes on social media.

What does National Black Business Month mean to you?

National Black Business Month serves as a reminder of the tenacity, and imagination found among Black entrepreneurs. It is a call to action for people and communities to support and elevate Black-owned businesses throughout the year, helping to create a more inclusive and fair business environment. As I stated previously, my grandmother has had a deep impact on my life. Hearing that only 50 years ago, she was not able to work in Miami Beach without proper credentials because of the color of her skin is mind-blowing to me. I work every day to ensure that our community will never be excluded from opportunities again.