PHILADELPHIA - Addye Joy Durant, a 35-year-old graphic artist and designer, today will begin taking Verizon's challenge to live 21 days in a storefront (252-254 South St), also known as Dream254: The Verizon Incubator. Under the scrutiny of passersby and a public Web cam, Durant must rely solely on Verizon services and computer technology to meet her basic needs and acquire the necessary tools to make her entrepreneurial passion a reality. The prize -- $10,000 and public attention for the launch of her new home-based business.
Dream254: The Verizon Incubator is part of the Verizon "Realize" multicultural marketing campaign, launched in August in Philadelphia and Washington, which features Verizon broadband customers who tell stories of how the technology helps them pursue their dreams of launching home-based businesses or strengthening their communities.
"This grassroots effort is the result of marketing insights that reveal large percentages of working African-Americans and other minorities in the country are investing - often as a 'side business' - in their entrepreneurial dreams," said Jerri DeVard, Verizon's senior vice president, brand management and marketing communications.
Dream254: The Verizon Incubator is a live demonstration to show how, by relying on Verizon broadband, people can make their dreams a reality. Verizon selected Durant as the incubator "Realizer," after a rigorous casting and screening process. Applicants had to demonstrate a range of pursuits, such as fashion design, art, music, production, food service and other diverse interests.
During her stay in the incubator, Durant, a Philadelphia resident, will face a number of challenges from a "Realize Taskmaster," Clint Arnold, Verizon director, business partnership channel, retail markets. Each challenge will offer an opportunity for Durant to win incremental prize money. To assist her, a "Realize Oracle" -- Bill Campbell, president of CampbellQuest Ltd., a Chicago-based consulting, coaching and communications firm -- will provide ongoing support.
In addition to the Dream254: The Verizon Incubator challenge, the Realize campaign includes posters, mobile billboards, wraps for hair salon magazines, advertorials in African-American newspapers, targeted radio and bus shelter ads, hand-painted murals and a Verizon Realize Mobile Unit. Verizon's African-American employee resource group, Consortium of Information and Telecommunications Executives, and other employees will use the mobile unit's broadband and computer technology to provide broadband experiences to area community organizations.
Philadelphia-area residents who appear in the Realize ads include Solomon Jones, a local author and writer. Philadelphia native Kareem Black - a photographer who took all the photos - including his own -- for the ad campaign is also featured. Jones and Black use Verizon broadband to upload, download and get their jobs done.
Beginning Nov. 7, two other local residents will appear in the ads. They are: Bill Jolly, a music producer, composer and bandleader who uses Verizon Broadband to connect with his band, and Anton Moore, a broadcast researcher. He uses broadband to do quick research on hip-hop and other artists and current events.
With more than $71 billion in annual revenues, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon has a diverse work force of more than 214,000 in four business units: Domestic Telecom provides customers based in 28 states with wireline and other telecommunications services, including broadband. Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 47.4 million voice and data customers across the United States. Information Services operates directory publishing businesses and provides electronic commerce services. International includes wireline and wireless operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.