The Making It! Institute 
For The Advancement of Business 

The Nelson Davis Story

Nelson Davis is President of The Making It Institute and Nelson Davis Productions both based in Los Angeles. He was born in Andalusia, Alabama and grew up in Niagara Falls, New York. Nelson’s fascination with business began with stories of his Grandfather who owned a small general store in the racially segregated south before he was born. From a young age, Nelson felt that controlling your own destiny was based on having your own way to make a living.


Before satisfying his entrepreneurial urge and becoming the sole owner of his own business, Mr. Davis was a partner in several small businesses. The first was a Submarine Sandwich shop, “Fat Albert’s”, which grew from one location to a chain of 14 stores. Another was Pioneer Aviation in Van Nuys California, which was a pilot training and aircraft maintenance facility.


On his way to business ownership Nelson loved working in the media. Prior to becoming a programming executive for the NBC Network in 1980, Nelson honed his television skills with a variety of projects. Freelancing as a host and producer in Los Angeles he worked on such diverse projects as a series for PBS, commercials for presidential candidate Ronald Reagan, and a film in Africa. At NBC for 4 years, he moved from Broadcast Standards on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson to Director of Daytime Programming for the network.


Nelson began Nelson Davis Television Productions in 1988 with the idea of bringing together special television programming with sponsors who wanted to reach a niche audience. His first weekly series was, Making It! Minority Success Stories, a program focusing on the small business community. His work has received over thirty awards and commendations from all levels of government and business organizations, including four Emmys as Best Public Affairs series. The company has also co-produced a quiz series, “Campus All Star Challenge” sponsored by American Honda.


In June of 2009, Nelson received IRS approval to launch The Making It! Institute for the Advancement of Business, a 501-c3 not-for-profit corporation. Under the umbrella of The Institute, Nelson is developing programs that educate, inspire, and place a brighter public spotlight on small and minority business communities via special events and peer-to-peer learning opportunities. The first of these is “Superstars of Small Business” which provides an opportunity for ambitious business owners to learn from the very best entrepreneurs.


Nelson frequently speaks on the subject of small business and entrepreneurial pursuits. His inspiring speeches have been delivered to audiences from Washington DC to San Francisco. They include The Edison Institute, Anheuser-Busch, University of Southern California, the Port of Long Beach and others. His favorite subject is “The Wisdom of 1000 Entrepreneurs.”


Nelson is committed to combining his passion and knowledge of television and radio production using these media to communicate positive messages and promote economic empowerment. In addition to The Making IT! Institute, Nelson also presently serves on the following community organizations: The Board of Directors of the Pacific Coast Regional Small Business Development Corporation, and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation. He has served on the Board of Advisors for the National Association of Women Business Owners, The Board of Trustees for National University, and is a Member of Santa Monica College Associates. Mr. Davis has also been active with Big Brothers.