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UB Competition Recognizes High School Entrepreneurs

By Jacqueline Ghosen

Release Date: April 25, 2012

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Five students from area high schools won first place in an entrepreneurship competition on March 31 for their winning business proposal, an environmentally friendly gym.

The competition was the capstone event following a 20-week Entrepreneurship Training Program (ETP) conducted by the University at Buffalo School of Management and the Meszaros International Center of Entrepreneurship (MICE).

Amber Quinney of Hutchinson Central Technical High School, Summer Saleh of Niagara Falls High School, Joshua O'Brien of Kenmore West High School, Cooper Oexle of St. Joseph Collegiate Institute and George Scouras of Lancaster High School were the members of the winning team.

Their business plan outlined the financial, marketing and management plans for Smart Gym, a business that would promote athletic activity using superior technology.

Five teams presented business plans in the competition, which was held in Hutchinson Central Technical High School.

Judges for the competition were Mark Eister, corporate director, national distribution, Rich Products; Joe Farage, owner, Buffalo Printing Co.; Tony Manzella, president, Manzella Productions; Cynthia Shore, senior assistant dean of external and alumni relations, UB School of Management; Shandra Spicer, owner/CEO, S&W Contracting; and Jim Swiezy, president, Green Leaf Development and Construction.

Since October, 27 students from 12 area high schools have been attending the ETP on Saturday mornings in the UB School of Management, where they explored the possibilities and complexities of self-employment.

The competition was followed by an ETP graduation ceremony that included proclamations from Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and Erie County Executive Mark Polancarz and remarks from representatives of MICE and the UB School of Management.

Funded by a grant from the Oishei Foundation, the program focuses on ethical entrepreneurship training and features class exercises that encourage team skills and critical thinking, guest speakers from a number of area entrepreneurs and a business-plan workshop.

"The entrepreneurship skills that students learned in this program -- effective work habits, personal management and critical thinking -- will help these students throughout their lives," said Joseph Salamone, co-founder of MICE, author of the Entrepreneurship Training Program and associate professor of organization and human resources in the UB School of Management.

The Meszaros International Center of Entrepreneurship is a not-for-profit foundation that develops and delivers entrepreneurship training products and programs. MICE has successfully completed programs in Central Europe. MICE was founded and originally funded by Laszlo (Les) Meszaros, a former entrepreneur who successfully started companies, most notably Voice Technologies Group, which he sold to Intel Corporation. For more information, visit http://www.mice-us-foundation.com.

The UB School of Management is recognized for its emphasis on real-world learning, community and economic impact, and the global perspective of its faculty, students and alumni. The school has been ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek, the Financial Times, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report and The Wall Street Journal for the quality of its programs and the return on investment it provides its graduates. For more information about the UB School of Management, visit http://mgt.buffalo.edu.