Omar Aziz was born in New Orleans, a city of romance, charm and the world’s greatest foods. He grew up happy but perpetually baffled as to how his mother’s baking skills, and his father’s ability to peddle the homemade pies from a basket, managed to support the family. Omar had his first major encounter with entrepreneurship at the early age of 16. As a youngster, Omar was content with sampling pies, not baking or selling them, until his mother encouraged him to help bake pies for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. The festival put money in his pocket and brought the new respect for business. His family has been a part of this festive celebration of Louisiana culture, music, crafts and food since 1976.
It was later, as a college student that he began to feel his entrepreneurial oats. His college studies and his success, selling his mom’s pies at the Jazz Festival and in the University of New Orleans dormitories, prompted him to put the two together. “I applied what I learned in my business courses,” he says. Omar became a student entrepreneur bridging the gap between academic theory and business practice.
His talent for marketing and business development fueled the rapidly expanding pie business. He started selling in the French Market and at the 1984 World’s Fair. He opened pie shops in the French Quarter Marketplace, Jackson Brewery, Canal Place, and in the New Orleans Riverwalk Mall. He has made special appearances at the Dixieland Jazz Festival in California, Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Faneuil Hall in Boston, South Street Seaport and Bloomingdale’s in New York as part of the “Taste of Louisiana” promotions. Omar has also been the focus of numerous feature stories on ABC, CBS, and NBC local affiliates, and in local and national publications. He is currently the co-host producer of a new television show entitled, “The Economics of Success: Strategies for Wealth-building in New Orleans.”
As the founder of the American Student Entrepreneurs Association and a member of the Urban Institute for Entrepreneurship Education, Omar has been a leading advocate for the inclusion of entrepreneurship in public education. In November 1993, Entrepreneur Magazine featured his widely shared entrepreneurial equation, “K + A + C = E3.” A series of seminars were held at Barnes & Noble entitled, “How to Get Your Piece of the Pie: a secret recipe for entrepreneurial and small business success.” Each session was taped by a professional film crew and is available on video or audiocassette.