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Meet Michael Oviosu, the 22-year-old entrepreneur changing the way you park

There’s an app for everything, they say. From ride-sharing to buying stocks, a person’s life can be controlled by the simple touch of their smartphones these days! Now an app created by 22-year-old entrepreneur Michael Oviosu called ParkAmigo is changing the way people secure parking in crowded urban settings.

The process is straightforward: people with open parking in driveways or in front of their properties post their rates and availability, which become available to those seeking parking. The app also offers online ordering at participating restaurants, grocery stores, car washes, and fashion retailers.

As with Uber and other service apps, payment is transferred directly from an online account to the owner of the parking spot or store. The app acts as a facilitator, helping people find affordable parking away from cutthroat parking garage rates while maximizing the available space within a city. The app also helps users avoid the hassle of metered parking and sends notifications when a user’s time is running out.

Michael hails from Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria. Upon completion of high school, he decided to leave England and move to New York in pursuit of charting his own path and continuing his personal development by enrolling at Syracuse University. In an interview with Kulture Hub, he explains:

“As a child, I often struggled with developing my own identity. At a young age, I was often alone with my thoughts so my mind often wandered to drawing buildings, breaking down toys, and rebuilding things. I started to gain an interest in business at around the age of 10.

Michael continued,

“My parents were my first role models and they always pushed me to read books and watch news at a young age. As I read more and more, I began to develop my own ideas and push for the stars! I was able to develop my business mind and acumen and start thinking about how to solve problems around my community.”

Michael eventually ended up working for a startup called Packback, which set out to make textbooks more affordable than your average overpriced school bookstore. He says that seeing firsthand how Packback attempted to disrupt a protected industry inspired him to think of his own solution that would make a lasting impact on people.

Michael came up with the idea for ParkAmigo just a few years ago while visiting Washington D.C. with his aunt.

“As we approached the madness that is Black Friday and searched for parking, I slowly realized the lack of parking options available to shoppers. I looked around at my surroundings and thought to myself: ‘Surely there has got to be a better way to find parking?’”

After that ordeal, Michael went home, got to brainstorming, and developed the initial concept of ParkAmigo just a few hours later!

Michael says that early on, it was extremely important to gain a lot of market research on the parking and transportation industry and speak to commuters who drove daily, especially given that Michael didn’t have a car himself. He carried out market research and developed his idea with the help of professors at Syracuse University.

Ultimately, he was able to find a way to make it a win-win solution for both the city councils he wanted to partner with and for the consumers who would use ParkAmigo.

“Syracuse University really helped me grow to become the individual I am today. As I was able to select my classes and meet other entrepreneurs like me, I started getting involved in activities like the Entrepreneurship and Investors Club.”

The most difficult part of setting up the company, Michael told Kulture Hub, was finding the right team. He says he conceived the app on his own but then struggled to find schoolmates who were just as passionate about setting up a profitable business.

As such, the most rewarding part of developing ParkAmigo for Michael has been seeing how it has grown over the years. Michael’s team is now much more experienced, with 11 core members and more being added each cycle!

When asked what his greatest highlights so far have been, Michael said that one was when ParkAmigo was selected as one of the top four startups run by student entrepreneurs in the United Kingdom in 2017.

“Till this day, I remember the exact moment I received the news from my best friend and business partner, Carl Alakija, as we applied for the competition together. We were both outside a club in London when we heard the news. Safe to say we celebrated well that night!”

Another favorite memory, he says, was being featured on Forbes.

Michael says ParkAmigo’s short-term goals begin with setting up operations in New York City in coming weeks. They are also looking at partnering with a few grocery delivery companies and supermarkets to boost order-ahead solutions in the NYC and Austin regions. Ultimately, though, ParkAmigo aims to make a long-term effect on the sustainability and efficiency in urban areas.

“Our mission is to make significant progress towards the U.N. Sustainability Development Goal 11, which is to make cities and communities around us inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. Working with merchants in various different businesses will help us analyze how we can reduce the time spent on the road, ultimately leading to lower carbon emissions emitted.”

Michael’s own advice to aspiring entrepreneurs shows in the success of his vision:

“Don’t adopt the ‘I’ll come back and work on my dream later’ attitude. Start now. You should also be willing to make a sacrifice to achieve your goals. One big sacrifice I made was giving up sleep when I went into college. I don’t regret the sleepless nights one bit because it all worked out in the end.”

On an international note, ParkAmigo set up operations in India earlier this year and recently acquired its first company. An official press release on that will be out soon with more details, and Michael says Kulture Hub will be the first to know!

Michael also wants the readers of Kulture Hub to feel free to contact him about potential merchant partnerships or if they think ParkAmigo should be available in a particular city.

“We strive to learn every day and want to set ourselves up as the best-tailored app in the market for consumers. And even if you just want some advice from a 22-year-old who is conquering his dreams, you can contact me too! You can reach me at and I’ll be sure to respond as soon as I can.”

With the domination of apps in today’s market, Michael has found a great niche in supplying uncontested parking spots in cities and making improvements to the oft-criticized availability of public parking. We can’t wait to see where Michael ’s entrepreneurial journey takes him next!

There are now 3.8 million apps available in the Google Play marketplace. Young entrepreneurs like Michael teach us that there’s always room for more — and for finding a spot, no matter how crowded it gets.

America’s Next Top Model is switching it up with its most diverse cast ever

TV shoes, movies and magazines all sell women using airbrushed, unrealistic techniques. The result? When women are constantly bombarded by unrealistic images of how they “should” look, many develop self-esteem issues.

More dangerously, others may go on to develop life-threatening eating disorders. Fortunately, there is some good news on the horizon.

America’s Next Top Model, premiering its next season on VH1 January 9th, includes at least two curvier models in addition to its already ethnically diverse cast. And so far, the fans are absolutely loving it!

The Link Between Models and Eating Disorders

A disparity between the average height and weight of female modes versus those of the general female population has long existed, and it continues to widen.

In 1997, the average model weighed only 8% less than the average woman in the general population. In 2017, the gap has widened to the point where models weigh 23% less than the average female population.

Currently 87% of models weigh between 100 – 150 lbs and stand anywhere from 5’6” and up. Contrast this with the average woman in America today, who stands approximately 5’4” and weighs 166.2 lbs. In this season of ANTM, plus-sized supermodel Ashley Graham will be returning as one of the judges.

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Even a cursory glance at these statistics shows that when the average woman seeks to look like the models in their favorite TV shows and magazines, she is going to be madly disappointed.

It’s not only the consumers of popular media who develop eating disorders, although it is important to note that immersion in this societal ideal starts early: 70% of teen girls say they are heavily influenced by the models they see on TV and magazines.

But, while some models may be genetically thin, other models fall prey to societal stereotypes as well. Both models and everyday teens alike are known to visit pro-Ana websites, sites dedicated to promoting anorexic behaviors.

Hope is on the Horizon

America’s Next Top Model bears a lot of responsibility. In order to make all women feel beautiful, they include women of many shapes, nationalities and now, sizes. America’s Next Top Model is leading the reality model shows in this regard.

Upcoming seasonal episodes will feature Krystayana Koroskova, a body-positive activist and Ivana West, a powerful plus sized model.

✅I have cellulite – 🚫NOT I feel FAT ✅I have wrinkles – 🚫NOT I feel old ✅I have rolls – 🚫NOT I feel ugly ✅I have $20.00 to my name -🚫 NOT I feel poor ✅I didn’t succeed at this task – 🚫NOT I feel like a total loser. fat, old, ugly, poor, unsuccessful ARE NOT REAL feelings !!!!!!!!!! Please please try and change the INNER DELUSION focused words to REALITY focused WORDS when you speak of yourself. Why being so negative? Just why? Feelings are REAL so examine the real feeling. ✅example: feeling an actual discomfort around your waistline DUE to super tight jeans u got last summer, they no longer fit the same – fact: you gained some weight and have a feeling of DISCOMFORT – pinching squeezing your skin, flash, organs THATS what you feel… NOT FEELING FAT. But that feeling of discomfort. Stop the use of STIGMA LOADED words, they can destroy your self esteem in seconds and take over your day/week/year and anyone who loves you just because you misused the words and confused reality with delusion! Not biggie. But let’s learn to be more loving towards ourselves – we DO deserve our own love ❤️ 💚💛💙💜💗 – Khrystyana – Photo by @melinadeya mua @vlefay style @bethbecker @cinestreampictures production #bodyimage#allbodiesaregoodbodies#loveyourself#bekind#mybodymychoice#curvyfashion#antm#antm24#curved

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It will be interesting to see how they compete in this upcoming season against models with the more stereotypical body shapes.

In addition to shows and agencies, individual models are also taking a stand. Model Tabria Majors recently shared photos of her plus-sized model’s body displaying the same apparel as popular Victoria Secret’s models.

Her mission is to show the world that curvy models can still model lingerie and be just as sexy, and one look at her photoshoot makes her claim impossible to deny.

As one of the most popular shows on TV, America’s Next Top Model can and should do more to encourage healthy displays of all body sizes and shapes.

Once more diverse models are shown on TV and in magazines, we will hopefully begin to see healthier eating habits among teens and adults alike, and a happier population overall. You go, girls!

Who was Beate Uhse? Meet the ‘Hugh Hefner for women’ who built a sex empire

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t heard of Hugh Hefner.

The Playboy overlord created an empire of scantily clad women, a place where men could fulfill all their wildest dreams.

Far fewer people outside her home country know about Beate Uhse, known as the “German Hugh Hefner.” However, she ran her sexual empire a little bit differently.

A Road to Enlightenment

After fulfilling her dream of becoming a pilot, Uhse had to find something else to aspire to when WWII was over. The end of the war created problems for women in accessing food and housing, but unwanted pregnancies were also a huge risk in the post-war environment.

Contraceptives were pretty much nonexistent, so Uhse took it upon herself to educate women and teach them natural methods of contraception. And thus, her sexual empire was born.


She launched a mail-order business with her second husband, and the couple published a catalogue featuring condoms, books, and other items.

The mail-order business soon grew, and Uhse opened the world’s first sex shop, calling it “The Institute for Marital Hygiene.” Business kept growing, especially once pornography laws relaxed in the 1970s, leading to a full chain of Beate Uhse stores.

Fast forward to the present, the brand has a successful website, has done a few re-brandings, and has ventured into the home parties business, solidifying the Beate Uhse brand as a global sexual empire.

The Beate Uhse shops have taken on a more feminine look, showcasing their focus on catering to women.

The Important Difference

Both Uhse and Hefner were undoubtedly pioneers, paving the way for people to openly discuss sex and sexuality. They fought against conservative norms, restrictive laws, the church, and other socially conservative groups that opposed what they were introducing into the culture.

Both of them also showed intense business prowess, creating their empires from virtually nothing and building them into large, successful corporations.

The difference is that Hefner built his sexual empire around men. In Hefner’s worldview, women became nothing more than objects for men’s desire, ones who were always ready and willing for sex.

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He surrounded himself with his Playmates, showing off the beautiful girls that came with having power. He bragged about the number of women he had sex with, and had multiple —much younger — girlfriends simultaneously.

Uhse focused instead on helping women communicate their sexual wants to men, as well as encouraging a quality sex life within committed relationships and marriages.

She was a married mother of four and was dedicated to her family, which sharply contrasts the rotating parade of women that always surrounded Hefner.

Encouraging Equal Pleasure

Uhse wanted sex to be enjoyable for both partners, and to make sure a monogamous sex life was still a fruitful one. She offered advice on how women could express their needs without hurting a man’s ego or sounding insensitive.

Men may not even have realized women weren’t achieving orgasm, as women almost always take longer to climax than men.

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While Hefner catered mainly to men and their fantasies, Uhse was grounded in realism. She wanted sexual relationships to be fulfilling for both partners, and offered both literature and products such as condoms, creams, and sex toys.

Hefner’s magazines, however, were strictly focused on men and their wants — even when it came to the content of the articles.

Playboy Bunny GIF by Playboy - Find & Share on GIPHY

In contrast, Uhse never ignored men — and, in fact, men were the bulk of her customer base. Emphasizing how to assist women in their pleasure brought a better sexual experience for men, and left them less likely to turn to other places for sexual satisfaction.

More pleasure for women meant they would be more receptive to sex, when they might not have been previously because they weren’t fully enjoying it.

Uhse is the kind of sexual liberator we should be celebrating. She achieved the same cultural shift Hefner did, yet in a way that didn’t objectify women.

She built her sexual empire on mutual satisfaction in committed, monogamous relationships, with an emphasis on ensuring equal enjoyment and satisfaction from both partners.

Her success story is the one we should be telling when we talk about the rise of prominent sexual culture.

First Muslim woman Olympian gets her very own hijab-wearing Barbie

Ibtihaj Muhammad should be used to making history by now.

She’s already been the first sabre fencer to compete for the United States in the Olympics while wearing a hijab, and she’s also the first Muslim woman to win a medal, taking home the bronze as part of Team USA.

Because of this, Mattel is making history, too, by creating the first hijab-wearing Barbie doll ever.

Muhammad has always loved being active, but struggled to find a sport she could participate in while maintaining proper attire for a Muslim woman.


She started epee fencing at 13 before finally switching to sabre. She graduated from Duke University in 2007, and has been part of the United States National Fencing Team since 2010.

In 2014, she launched a clothing line — Louella — that creates modest active wear and fashionable clothing.

Shop the Pale Pink Pant Set now available at 💘 Cyber Monday 40% OFF sale with code TAKE40 at checkout

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She represented Team USA in the sport of fencing in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. After earning her bronze medal, she lost in the second round of the individual sabre competition to Cecilia Berder of France.

In spite of the early loss, she still became a media darling — both for her tenacity in the ring and for the fact that she is the first woman to wear a hijab while competing for the United States.

Muhammad is also the first Muslim-American woman to earn an Olympic medal for the U.S.

Barbie Glory

2017 was a momentous year both for Muhammad and for Mattel. The toy company announced they were modeling a Barbie after Muhammad — complete with her signature sabre and her hijab.

The new doll is part of the Barbie “Shero” program that recognizes women who “break boundaries to inspire the next generation of girls.”

Other women who have been included in the Shero program include director Ava DuVernay, Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas and dancer Misty Copeland.

This new Barbie is especially important for young Muslim women who may feel like they can’t compete in sports because of their religion or their desire to dress modestly or wear hair coverings or hijab.

Muhammad mentioned receiving some criticism during an Olympic interview for saying she didn’t feel safe in the U.S. as a Muslim, and described her home country as a dangerous place, especially during the 2016 presidential race.

Representation in the media has been hard to come by for people of color, as well as women — fewer than one-quarter of speaking roles in Hollywood blockbusters went to people of color in 2015, and women made up fewer than a third of the main characters in movies in 2016.

For children who are learning how to process the world around them, seeing themselves represented in the media can be essential.

Instead of seeing cookie-cutter Barbie dolls on the shelf, Muslim women can now walk into the Barbie aisle and see a doll that looks like them.

It may seem small to some, but this representation is crucial in building confidence and identity for future generations of young Muslim women.

The Ibtihaj Muhammad Barbie doll may be the first Mattel doll wearing a hijab, but with amazing women like this Olympic fencer to look up to, we can bet it won’t be the last.

Her triumphs in both Olympic competitions and in life are just beginning, and we can likely look forward to more progress and success in the future from Ibtiahaj Muhammad and groundbreakers like her.