Benjamin Moore III shares with the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute his inspiration behind starting Keyz 2 tha Lexis and how his passion for linguistics continues to drive lifelong learning.
“If someone gave you a million dollars right now to start a business, what would you do? I call that the ‘million dollar question.’ The answer is your passion.”
– Benjamin Moore III
What is Keyz 2 tha Lexis?
Keyz 2 tha Lexis is a linguistic and language arts learning program embedded with multimodal strategies. Through incorporating music, dance, lyricism, and theatre, I teach the various theories of linguistics to foster more effective learning and retention as well as make learning fun and entertaining.
What inspired the name of your company?
I’ve always been passionate about learning. One day while perusing the dictionary, I stumbled upon the word “Lexis,” which means “word or speech” in Greek. So, “Keyz 2 The Lexis” essentially translates to “keys to the word” – Not the car!
How do you incorporate the study of linguistics into your company?
Linguistics is the science of language. My program covers the entire spectrum of linguistics starting with graphology (the study of letters) moving to phonology (the study of letter sounds), morphology (the smallest meaningful parts in a word), semantics (general meaning in language), syntax (grammar and the grouping of words), and finally ending with, pragmatics (the use of language in regards to your audience). The curriculum provides learning for students from Pre-K to eighth grade.
What was your inspiration behind Keyz 2 tha Lexis?
One of the major reasons why I started Keyz 2 tha Lexis is because the same year I came up with the concept, I had my first child. Her name was Leilani. Keyz 2 tha Lexis essentially grew up with her. She was my first student. Back in 2015, I lost her. She was taken in a tragic event. Now, a lot of what I do in terms of Keyz 2 tha Lexis is dedicated to her. She is my source of inspiration.
How did your education influence your company?
I had originally dropped out of Georgia State. I had a full ride, but I lost my focus because I lost my passion. After regaining that focus, I returned to school to earn my B.A. in Linguistics with minors in English and African American Studies. I also have my Master’s in Applied Linguistics and am currently working towards my Ph.D. in Teaching and Learning with a concentration in Language and Literacy. My education has opened up many doors and garnered greater levels of influence and visibility, which has greatly affected the development of my business.
Share about your experiences with the ENI courses.
This past summer, I took my first ENI course with Dr. Graybeal. In ENI 3101 “Entrepreneurial Thinking,” you’re immediately submerged into their entrepreneurial network across the Georgia State campus and beyond, like with the Creative Media Industry Institute. I’ve had entrepreneurial ambitions for a while, but being in this program has continued to cultivate a successful mindset to further manifest my ambitions.
Where do you see Keyz 2 tha Lexis in the future?
I’m currently working with the Creative Media Industry Institute (CMII) at Georgia State and the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) at Georgia Tech while continuing to seek out other creative media and cinematography companies to digitalize Keyz 2 tha Lexis. I currently perform live in front of children, but I want to create an entertaining learning experience where students, educators, and other individuals can visit my website to subscribe to my lessons, purchace my DVD/CD multimedia, and play interactive lesson-related apps and games.
What have you learned working on Keyz 2 tha Lexis?
- Perseverance: There were so many times I was thinking I was going down one path then ended up on another. It can sometimes be discouraging when your plans do not pan out; however, it’s important to preservere and continue the journey to arrive at your destination. The only ‘L’ we should ever take in life should stand for ‘lesson’.
- Hard Work: There’s a quote by Andrew Carnegie that goes “I’d rather have one percent of a hundred people’s effort than a hundred percent of my own.” That was my initial thinking. I thought I was going to find talent, put it together as a team, then sit back and watch it all come together. Life quickly taught me that you must put in the work yourself.
- Holistic Knowledge: It’s important to know every facet of your business. I have touched every facet of my business at some point between the marketing, curriculum creation, music and video editing, and everything in between. Having that holistic knowledge is key.
Looking back, did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I wasn’t necessarily “entrepreneurial” when I was younger. When I first came to Georgia State, I had changed my major so many times from psychology to computer science and even physics. It wasn’t until I had found something that I was truly passionate about that I had realized I wanted to become an entrepreneur.
What piece of advice can you offer to future generations of black male entrepreneurs?
My father and uncles were entrepreneurial, supportive, and encouraging. I call my father and uncles “my three giants.” I stand on the shoulders of giants. That’s why I can see as far I as do. That’s why I can achieve as much as I do, simply because they help to show me an image of positive black males. I want to be that positive image for future generations of black male entrepreneurs. So, my advice is to look to the image of positive black male entrpreneurs that come before you and be the positive image for those black male entrepreneurs that come after you.
What does entrepreneurship mean to you?
To be an entrepreneur is to integrate your passions while getting paid for it, to market and commercialize your passions. Simply put, I feel that entrepreneurship isn’t just about selling a product or service. I think to be a true entrepreneur, you have to be passionate about it.