JUFWBE – The Next Evolution in Social Media

by Tonya Dixon | March 13th, 2013
Group JUFWBE - Copy

The JUFWBE team (Photo by Howard Gaither)

JUFWBE, pronounced Ja-Foo-Bay, is the next evolution in social media and networking. The catchy acronym stands for Just Friends with Benefits, not to be confused with the 2011 comedy, Friends with Benefits. There is nothing salacious or provocative about JUFWBE. However, the new platform is hot, on fire and prime to become a major player in the online social media and marketplace environment.

JUFWBE is not another version of a current social media service and platform repackaged and renamed. It’s a community filled with social interactions of every kind as well as business deals. More importantly, it’s where the social and business worlds not only collide but expertly coexist. Never mix business with pleasure, right? Wrong. JUFWBE strings chat, global business and networking together with themes of respect, determination and focus to create an online environment where members can seal their next business deal and make a dinner date — all on one site. Small business owners, educational institutions and professionals alike can come together to prove that business can be mixed with pleasure and that society is actually better off for it.

Not only is JUFWBE a unique social experience that helps you discover what’s going on with your world, but it helps the world discover what’s going on with you. In addition, it’s the first social platform that connects businesses to customers in real time. There are a few conventional features shared between JUFWBE and its contemporaries such as profile creation, picture uploading, searching and compiling friends with like interests and contact sharing, but that’s where the similarities end. Other platforms tend to be solely focused on business or solely on social aspects.

JUFWBE was founded by husband and wife business partners, Jerry and Louv Ford. Jerry recalls leaving one business meeting and heading to another one. All the while his phone was ringing off the hook with requests from personal friends and business contacts alike. They were all in need of something–some were looking for a job, some were looking to hire, and others were attempting to sell a product or service. They all had one thing in common; they knew Jerry, and knew he had many contacts and the ability to connect them with the right person or business they needed. Frustrated, Ford said to himself, “man, I’m just a friend with benefits.” As soon as it rolled off his tongue, he says he knew he had something. He didn’t quite know what he had, but he was sure it was something special and life-changing. On that very day, May 26, 2010, he found himself at a crossroads and the recipient of a vision that was much greater than him. It turned out to be even greater than he had ever imagined. He says he continued to repeat Just Friends with Benefits over and over and realized it even sounded like he was saying JUFWBE.
He thought to himself, “What if I created a platform where I could put all my friends in one location and they could benefit from each other, all in one place?” Louv adds, “He took all his friends and connected them with his business contacts. The site represents business and social. It’s in one platform and they both communicate with each other.”

Additionally, Jerry thought, “What would happen if people stayed on the site and never got off? or What if you had all that you needed in one central location?” He compared all the other platforms, and realized the one thing they had in common was that people had to eventually get off and browse to a different site if they needed another service. JUFWBE had to be different and it had to offer everything in one location.
JUFWBE literally offers everything on a global scale. Original movies and entertainment programming, streaming, news¸ business meetings, online resumes, virtual dating, fundraising, marketplace, chat, church communication and so much more, it’s all available on JUFWBE.

However, the process has been painstaking and tedious with many setbacks and errors but Jerry and Louv were never deterred. They always had tunnel vision and knew the venture would come to pass. Not only will it come to pass but Jerry says it will surpass every expectation because the entire idea and vision came from God. “it’s a true blessing. I do not even have a technical or social media background. God told me to do it,” says Jerry. “There’s no way I could have thought of this on my own.”

The husband and wife business partners couldn’t be more excited about their new venture. The emotion and fervor resounding in their voice is undeniable and contagious. They both agree JUFWBE is a win/win situation. “Businesses provide a benefit through a service or product to our customers and friends on JUFWBE and through word of mouth JUFWBE members are a benefit to those businesses because they are helping increase sales,” says Louv.

Although Jerry and Louv are equal partners and share in every aspect of the business, Louv handles the majority of the administrative work, Jerry admits leaves all the emails and intense computer work to Louv and other JUFWBE team members. Nevertheless they are both always in the trenches getting their hands dirty and toiling on behalf of JUFWBE. They are so committed that when the Fords couldn’t find the perfect match in a computer company to accommodate their technological needs they opted to forgo their search and instead chose to form their own company. JUFWBE Technologies is the machine that powers JUFWBE, the social media and business networking platform. It also stands alone as its own business which helps other small businesses with any technological needs they may have at a very affordable price.

JUFWBE is in the midst of a hard, full-court press. The platform is preparing for a blow-out launch. “Our goal is to make it a household name within six months and anybody that knows me will tell you when I set my mind to do something I will put my all into it,” says Jerry. “If I’m gauged by the success of my other businesses it will happen.”

The JUFWBE Team consists of the following members. Jonathan K. Nazeer is the amazing brand manager for JUFWBE. Having worked with FUBU and several other celebrity brands, he expertly and strategically articulates the JUFWBE brand through events, publications and various other outlets. He says it’s his job to tell the back story and put it in layman’s terms so that anyone can understand and more importantly, desire to become involved. Nazeer is not just sitting in an office drafting logos or tagging the JUFWBE name to every event, rather he understands it is important to figure out a way to transfer online interaction offline so that the line between virtual interaction and real interaction is seamless and the JUFWBE brand remains unscathed and intact. He says it’s all about creating a need then facilitating the actual event that will fulfill the need.

Portia Shipman is the founder and executive director of the Sherri Denise Jackson Foundation for the Prevention of Domestic Violence. She maintains an extensive background with community service projects and community awareness events; consequently it was almost automatic for her to team up with JUFWBE as the networks community service liaison. The partnership enables both Shipman and JUFWBE to raise funds for the Sherri Denise Jackson Foundation as well as provide a larger scale platform to raise awareness for other community issues. She is the host for “Dinner and a Movie”, a bi-monthly JUFWBE event that provides an open platform for the community to discover and engage with independent filmmakers, musicians, artists and other community foundations and events. She says she is excited about JUFWBE because it’s all about friendships. “It’s the idea that one person can help another person; your friend can meet my friend and we all can become friends.” Her own business, Reliable Home Care Services which provides in-home care for the elderly and disabled, is a part of the JUFWBE business portal.
Robyn Tatum: is formerly a Fox 8 account executive, Robyn Tatum has the background and experience necessary to spearhead marketing, advertising and promotions for JUFWBE. She knows what it takes to set a business up with a successful marketing strategy for television and internet. She wil play a key role in the highly anticipated JUFWBE TV. In addition, she owns her own fragrance company, Divine Scents. Her company has partnered with JUFWBE and has developed “the fragrance of JUFWBE”. Not only is it a media and networking platform, but it has its own fragrance, which has also been parlayed into candles, lotions and scrubs. Tatum says she wants people to know that the the scent of JUFWBE is in the air.

Cotlu films is a full-fledged movie production company owned by Rick Cotton and Edwin Lewis. The Greensboro natives are instrumental in implementing original programing for JUFWBE TV. Cotlu Films has had two original films shown during the JUFWBE Dinner and a Movie events. Lewis says the partnership with JUFWBE gives independent filmmakers the opportunity to show and sell their films to the general public. JUFWBE members will have the opportunity to review independent films immediately, stream, download or order a copy. Currently, Cotlu films is the gateway for filmmakers to JUFWBE TV. The company is actively seeking content to review for JUFWBE TV, which will be broadcasting 24 hour programming. Cotlu Films has a great deal of content online, from PSAs to short films to live shows. The company is currently in production of a documentary titled, “Surviving the Big C”. The story walks through the real lives of seven African American’s who have been diagnosed with some form of Cancer. The dramatizations of their lives are heartfelt and true. The company is even in the midst of a big fundraiser to cover the overwhelming costs required to produce such an authentic film.

Dez Gerald is the creative genius behind the super intuitive and sleek JUFWBE website. As the creative director for the website she has the daunting task of making sure the website adequately expresses who and what JUFWBE is. There are more than 200 website pages containing a great deal of information that could easily become overwhelming and uninviting. Nevertheless, she has been able to create a website that is not only pleasing to the eye but user friendly. Right from a user’s profile the entirety of JUFWBE is accessible, even sites such as Facebook and Twitter; all streaming in real-time together. Gerald has always been artsy and creative. She has worked in real estate and television staging so she knows what is pleasing to the eye. She believes it is important for JUFWBE to embrace the part of the puzzle that other sites bring to the table and not attempt to destroy them. Although there is much more to come on the JUFWBE website, Gerald admits they had to stop adding in order to starting operating.

Nikeema Lee oversees the virtual dating aspect of JUFWBE known as Heart to Heart. In 2008, Lee started her own company Upscale Desires and became an intimacy coach. She teaches singles and couples how to love their own selves before falling in love with someone else. After starting her company she realized the information she was able to give to her clients and teach them was more valuable than the product she was attempting to sell. She connected with JUFWBE and began designing a dating site that would not only provide a virtual dating platform but a teaching platform as well. She says it is absolutely what distinguishes JUFWBE from all other dating sites. Heart to Heart offers the meeting place for interested individuals but also offers webinars and empowerment series to show people how to search for a mate online, and how to initially find love within themselves. She is the author of the book, “How to Become the Authentic You.”

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