A Purpose Through Business

Nyenatee Davis GS’20 first discovered his passion for business as a child trying to help his parents in Liberia. Now a successful businessman, he’s using the skills he honed in Bethel’s MBA to follow his dreams and help others pursue their business goals.

By Jason Schoonover ’09, content specialist

May 13, 2021 | 9 a.m.

Nyenatee Davis GS’20

Nyenatee Davis GS’20 earned an MBA at Bethel to further his career and start his own business. Now he's helping other men and women aspiring for a career in business.

At age 13, Nyenatee Davis GS’20 embarked on his first business venture when he started selling candy to his classmates to help his parents support their family. “I had no idea that the need to survive was birthing in me an entrepreneurial ability,” he says. That experience would eventually grow into a lifelong passion. Today, Davis is a successful businessman in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, where he operates a car rental service and manages rental properties with his wife. And he’s looking to pay it forward and share his profit for business by hosting seminars for aspiring entrepreneurs—helping share skills he honed at Bethel University.

Davis grew up in Liberia, one of the poorest countries in Africa. His parents raised 14 children in a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home, and their family bore the scars of the country’s civil war. His parents raised six of their own children and adopted eight cousins whose parents were missing during the war. “My family had to find a way to survive,” he says. That need to survive led Davis to his first business ventures. Then in 2004, Davis came to the U.S. for college. He recalls it feeling like he was on another planet. Everything was new—the culture, food, people, and the language. “Sometimes, it felt like being in kindergarten again,” he says. But shortly after Davis became a permanent U.S. resident and earned an undergraduate degree, he started reading books about business and it reignited his desire to become an entrepreneur.

After graduating, Davis and his wife, Ruby, bought their first rental property. Davis also started a preschool in Brooklyn Park, which the couple later sold, while he worked another job. But Davis longed for more. He wanted to move from lower to middle and upper management and to start his own business. “I couldn't have brought those dreams to fruition unless I get the education and develop my skills,” he says. To Davis, the answer was to sharpen his business skills by pursuing an MBA, and Bethel was the clear choice. After researching MBA programs, Davis chose Bethel because he saw highly qualified professors, a flexible program that fit his family life, practical and applicable lessons, and an emphasis on leadership, which was “the icing on a cake” to Davis.

Nyenatee Davis GS’20

Nyenatee Davis GS’20 owns and operates Brooklyn Car Rental in Brooklyn Pak, Minnesota. The business is filling a niche as it provides rentals to people who often wouldn’t be able to rent from more traditional rental companies.

Along with gaining sound business principles through the program, Davis built a network of connections with his professors and classmates, and he learned the importance of marketing and networking. “I realized that it wasn't just how much I knew, but who I knew was also very important if I'm going to become successful in business or in management,” he says. Davis also used his time in the program to hone his business plan as he opened Brooklyn Car Rental. Davis learned there were few car rentals in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, and many people didn’t have the credit or means to rent cars—so he sees the business filling a niche. “I was like, I need an idea to build a business model around that segment of people. And the program really helped me with that,” Davis says. Brooklyn Car Rental serves people who couldn’t rent cars from other companies, and Davis strives to provide other payment options to customers at affordable prices.

The effects of Bethel’s MBA program can still be seen in Davis’ working style and the business. The program’s blending of business principles with beliefs and ethics helped Davis build relationships of trust and honesty with clients and staff. And the program’s emphasis on leadership helped Davis improve personally, too. Early in his career, Davis often worked alone and shouldered much of the burden. Bethel helped him improve his communication skills, so he grew more comfortable sharing the goals and vision of his business with his team, bringing them into business plans, and then delegating duties. “They saw me go from being just this manager to really now a leader, to a guy who can cast a vision,” Davis says. And that communication goes both ways, as he’s created an environment where others feel comfortable coming into his office, asking questions, and giving honest feedback.

“As a leader, people can now trust me. And because I'm open to the coworkers and my team, I'm seeing a huge trust relationship that’s developing."

— Nyenatee Davis GS’20
Davis, who holds a bachelor’s degree in biblical and theological studies, says his faith continues to play a key role in his business endeavors. His faith drives him to be honest in his interactions, and it helped give him the confidence to start a business despite many challenges—a lack of sufficient finance, city regulations, and the fear of failure. “It helped me to believe in my God-given abilities,” he says. “I believe that I will have customers and generate revenues regardless of the bigger competitors in the area. It helped me to be honest in my dealings with people and motivate my mission to help provide affordable car rentals to customers.”

As Davis has found success, he is committed to paying it forward. Even during the pandemic, Davis has been pleased to see the rental services’ growth exceed his expectations. And the company has been able to provide support to the nonprofit Trinity International Fellowship, which trains people in entrepreneurship. In June 2020, Davis started entrepreneur seminars at Trinity International Fellowship, and he plans to host them twice a year moving forward. “My purpose is to train people into becoming entrepreneurs, and Bethel has provided me the knowledge, skills, network, and leadership to do that,” he says.

Earn an MBA at Bethel.

Whatever your leadership gifts now, Bethel’s MBA program will challenge you to take them to the next level—to infuse them with not only confidence, passion, and professionalism, but character, wisdom, and grace. We’ll train you to become the kind of discerning, ethical leader that companies are looking to hire and promote.

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