What would cause a young black engineer to walk away from a promising career at the world’s foremost technology company to start a business, from scratch, in his basement?  David Tarver did just that…

…and convinced two black colleagues to join him in the improbable venture. Twelve years later, he negotiated the sale of the company for $30 million.  Tarver’s business success, which began in the immediate aftermath of the American civil rights movement, was accomplished without the help of outside investors, government grants, or minority business development programs.  David Tarver felt he had something important to prove — to himself, to his colleagues, and to society, and he was willing to risk everything to do it.  Tarver’s compelling story will inform and inspire anyone who has ever contemplated starting a business.



The first book that traces a black technology founder’s journey from dream to basement startup to multi-million dollar international success.


Coming of age in Flint, Michigan during the 1960s, DAVID TARVER’s life and ambitions were shaped by three powerful forces: the booming automobile industry, the semiconductor revolution, and the civil rights movement.  Out of this crucible of opportunity emerged a young man with a driving ambition to create his own electronics manufacturing company, and a nagging question: had the world changed enough to make his dream a realistic possibility?  His father’s ambition for a career in electronics had been stifled by segregation and relegated to a musty basement workshop where Fred Tarver, Sr. dabbled with gadgets and repaired neighbors’ TVs and radios.  That workshop launched young David on a career that included local science fair wins, degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan, a career at world-renowned Bell Laboratories, and yes, finally, his own global-reaching electronics manufacturing business.  David’s entrepreneurial quest was his proving ground, and his business success was the ultimate answer to his youthful question.

David teaches at the University of Michigan Center for Entrepreneurship in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  He also serves as president of the Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative, which he founded in 2014.  David is passionate about applying the power of entrepreneurship and technical innovation to improve the quality of life in urban communities.

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