Originally from Detroit, Mich., Hajj Flemings’ interest for technology grew while he was in high school. After high school, Fleming pursued his passion at Michigan Technological Institute , where he received his BA in mechanical engineering, before finishing his formal education completing his MBA at Lawrence Technological University
In 2000, passion began evolving while running a graphic design firm. In a sudden flash of inspiration, Flemings said his love for branding products became a love for branding oneself after reading a magazine article by the branding guru Tom Fleming.
Noticing that no one owned the personal branding conference space, Flemings saw an opportunity. From that spawned Brand Camp University, the largest personal branding conference in the Midwest. Starting in Detroit, the conference recently expanded to New York and Boston and is planning on adding five more cities in 2012.
Still, Fleming’s investment in his home town speaks to more than just wanting to make money, especially in Detroit where much of its former prosperity has been lost to the wave of technology.
But Fleming, unlike most sees opportunity where others see none.
“People might be surprised to hear it, but Detroit is really starting to build a startup ecosystem,” he told CNN. “Still, it’s nothing like the environment in Silicon Valley. I knew that if I wanted to get a startup off the ground, I needed to get out and go to events.”
His latest venture, Gokit, an online identity platform that let’s users curate their own personal brand, came to life in a classic entrepreneurial fashion.
“It’s so cliche, but I literally launched my startup on a napkin at South by Southwest this past year,” Fleming said.
Currently Gokit is seeking investment while beta testing with early adopters.