Founder of Anu World Enrichment Center and Apex Motor Sports, Cartez Smith is the embodiment of perseverance.
When it comes to Anu World Enrichment Center, I really just started thinking about ways I could give back to the community. I thought about how I could inspire the youth and show them that great things are possible. I sat down with some great minds and shot them my ideas. I connected with a lady by the name of Rosalyn Glenn who helped me set up the 501c3. The rest is history mannn. We’ve hooked up with Toys R Us, as they’ve donated toys. Walmart, Staples, Sam’s Club…so many companies have donated to the cause. Another blessing is that we’ve had Housing Authorities in different counties showing us to utilize their facilities.
We’re implementing the S.T.E.M. program, as well as just giving back during Christmas, summertime, Easter. The back to school event last year was a great success. Worked with some great people… Wayne Pratt, Brandis Agnew, Patrick Shelton, Leon Gallman and many more that got involved. Each of them had that same mentality that anyone can give back. It was just great to see the effect on the community and the smiles on people’s faces.
What are you currently working on?
Just trying to expand the power sports division. Adding a rim shop as well. As well as continuing to give back with the non-profit. I have a meeting with Toys R Us tonight to discuss more donations. They’re really good about that.
Why do you do what you do?
I just want to give back as much as I can. Whether it’s cars or toys. In financing vehicles, I enjoy helping people who may have tarnished credit get into a vehicle that they may not have thought they could get.
I know the Apex motto, but let the people hear it.
Our motto is “We are in the business of providing vehicles to help you through your journey of life”
What was you “ah-ha!” moment…when you knew this is what you wanted to do?
When it comes to the non-profit, it came from my downfalls…my detours in life. Being incarcerated, coming home and knowing that life wasn’t for me. And knowing that life shouldn’t be for anyone else. That was my “ah-ha” moment! Taking advantage of opportunity man. A lot of times when you’re out there, you don’t see the opportunities. People or situations have to wake you up. I had that moment when I was incarcerated, asking myself “What do I do now?” Because what I was doing before wasn’t working.
Professionally, what are your goals?
For Anu World, I really want to build something along the lines of the YMCA, throughout South Carolina. That may sound far-fetched to done, but it’s definitely the goal.
With Apex Motor Sports, I want to franchise the brand at some point in the future.
Who/what inspires you?
Man… my son! My son. That’s what inspires me.
How has fatherhood changed you?
Fatherhood made me more mature. It have me a better understanding of my values and responsibilities to the utmost respect. Fatherhood is an amazing feeling.
If you could have a business lunch with any the people (dead or alive), who would they be?
Wow. I would want to meet with Warren Buffett. Just his sense and ability to recognize sound investment opportunities. From GEICO to the railroad purchase he just made, he is able to recognize and take advantage of financial opportunity. He wrote the book on success, to me. I’d definitely like to sit down with Jay Z. Just because of what he has become, in regards to where he came from. It’s hard to even explain what Jay Z is right now. He’s amazing, man. I really respect him. Thirdly, would be Sheila Blair. She was the head of the FDIC
What is your advise to other aspiring entrepreneurs?
My advise is, first, thank God that you have a brain. Because you can be anything that you want to be. You just got to put forth the effort and believe. So, don’t hope…believe. When you hope, you’re just sitting around hoping. When you Believe, you’re willing to take action and make it happen. Because failure is just proof that you’ve gone after something.
Smith is also an author. His book, Destiny’s Favorite, is available on Amazon.
How do you Defy Life?
I’m gonna tell you this. My son’s favorite cartoon is The Penguins. There’s this one episode where they are all headed somewhere. There are three penguins and one keeps asking “Where are we going? Where are we going?” Another one says “We just go. We don’t care. We go anywhere.” And the last penguin turns and says “I defy nature!” Meaning, just because you may think you know what I’m supposed to be or do, don’t make it right. Sometimes life has a different plan for you…that don’t make it my plan! I would say I Defy Life by defying any negativity that comes my way. Anything that tries to stop me from God’s greatness that he has instilled inside of me, I defy that.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I just want to thank God for allowing me to believe. For everyone who believes in me. Family, friends, everyone. People that believe in what I do and what I’m trying to do. Especially out in the community.
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