Minority and Women Emerging Entrepreneurs Honored

By Jacqueline Ghosen

Release Date: December 7, 2006

Minority and Women Emerging Entrepreneurs Honored

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Buffalo resident Jetaun Jones has been named "Protégé of the Year" by the Allstate Minority and Women Emerging Entrepreneurs Program, a joint venture by the University at Buffalo School of Management's Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL) and the UB Center for Urban Studies.

Jones, owner of BeYouTiful Ladies Clothing Boutique, received a $1,500 prize for the honor. Tonawanda resident Jacqueline Schenk, owner of A Blooming Place, was awarded the second-place prize of $1,000. Two additional business owners, Kenmore resident Diane Brown of DS Brown Property Management Co., and Buffalo resident Charles Coleman of A Kut Above the Rest, tied for third place, receiving $500 each.

The program, sponsored by The Allstate Foundation, a charitable organization funded by subsidiaries of Allstate Insurance Corporation, drew to a close with the presentation of the awards at a banquet held on Dec. 6 in the Jacobs Executive Development Center, 672 Delaware Ave.

Seventeen participants completed the program after entering as protégés last January. In addition to the winners above, they are:

Amherst resident Carrie Boye, Allstar Advertising;

Buffalo residents Tamara Castillo, TDC Merchant Services; Lynne Clawson Woods, L.L. Woods Agency (Allstate Ins. Co.); Kobie Lewis, Specialty Wings/Swings; Kym Mathis, Damsel in a Dress; Marcus Moses, Top of the Line Cleaning; April Sanders, Team Player; Jessica Thorpe, Outside the Box; Carena Wells, Inkwells Office Supply; Ruby Williams, L&M Financial Services;

Kenmore resident, Mary Lee Marino, Mary Lee's Bridal;

Lackawanna resident Patricia DePrima, Rose Garden Opportunities, Inc.;

And West Seneca resident Debra Herman, Professional Document Creations.

"As a result of this program, these 17 graduates have sought to foster their economic independence, advance their families' future, and strengthen the economic health of their community," said Allstate Foundation Chairperson Inez Birbiglia.

"Knowing that these strong, intelligent men and women have enhanced their development by acquiring tactical business skills demonstrates the continued success of the UB/Allstate Foundation partnership," she added.  "We congratulate these talented individuals and the University at Buffalo for their vision, commitment and the impact they have made to the world around them."

Each participant was assigned two mentors who are successful entrepreneurs from the local business community and who met regularly with their protégés to help them evaluate and improve their business plans.

Mentors provided protégés with technical advice on varied aspects of running a small business, such as strategic and tactical thinking, marketing, merchandising, pricing, inventory control, accounting, long-range financial planning and basic legal advice to help protégés formulate realistic business goals and to develop timetables and strategies for achieving them.

"Mentor of the Year" awards were given to Jones' mentors, David N. Bunis of Elmwood Associates, and Mary C. Powell of Casilio Companies.

The culminating activity in the program was a new or revised business plan. One year after completing the program, protégés will be invited back to assess the program's impact on the development of their businesses.

"Our mission is to create a pathway that enables minority and women emerging entrepreneurs to move their companies to the next stage of development," said Althea Luehrsen, executive director of CEL. "The program has again exceeded our expectations, significantly increasing the number of graduates from last year, and we look forward to launching our fourth year in 2007," Luehrsen added.

Applications for the 2007 program are due by Jan. 12. To be eligible to apply, an entrepreneur must be a woman or a member of a recognized minority group (African American, Latino, Native American or Asian) and must own a business in the Buffalo-Niagara region. For more information on the Allstate Minority and Women Emerging Entrepreneurs Program, call CEL at 716-885-5715 or visit http://mgt.buffalo.edu/ced/cel.

The UB School of Management is ranked as one of world's top 10 regional business schools by The Wall Street Journal based on a survey of corporate recruiters. In addition, BusinessWeek ranks the school as one of the country's top five business schools for the fastest return on MBA investment, and Forbes cites it as one of the best business schools in the U.S. for the return on investment it provides MBA graduates. For more information about the UB School of Management, visit http://mgt.buffalo.edu.