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Minority and Women Emerging Entrepreneurs Honored

By Jacqueline Ghosen

Release Date: November 8, 2012

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Mentor of the Year David Berghash (left), CEO of Shield Manufacturing Inc., and Protege of the Year Samuel Bodapaty, president of Indus1 Inc.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Samuel Bodapaty has been named "Protege 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.

Bodapaty received a $1,500 prize for the honor. He is president of Indus1 Inc., a Buffalo-based firm that specializes in helping small and medium firms to enter, establish and expand trade with India.

Laura Reed of Buffalo Bites Food Tours in Orchard Park was awarded the second-place prize of $1,000. Roxanne Button of Design Synergies Architecture P.C. in Buffalo, and Alisha Taggart-Powell of Janie's Emporium in Buffalo tied for third place and will each receive $500.

The Allstate Foundation, a charitable organization funded by subsidiaries of Allstate Insurance Corporation, sponsored the program and presented the awards at a banquet on Nov. 7 in the Center for Tomorrow on UB's North Campus.

Eighteen participants completed the program after entering as proteges last March. In addition to the award winners, the graduates were: Melissa Babiarz, Melissa Babiarz, LMHC, Williamsville; Michelle Boudreaux-Dhanoa, Gala Parties Inc., Lancaster; Laurie Brinkerhoff, Benefits Brokers of WNY, Amherst; Melissa Fayson, Mobile Soles, Buffalo; P. Anne Gaspar, Ciredon Group LLC, Hamburg; Stacy Green, S.E.G. Construction Inc., Williamsville; Mary Pat Maloney, Overdorf Associates Agency Inc., Hamburg; Kristen Martin, Eco Posh Events and Décor, Buffalo; Kate Moody, YourTroubadour Inc., Springville; Amy Polowy, Gross Polowy Orlans LLC, Amherst; Hatsutaro Ramadhan, HAZ Financial Solutions LLC, Cheektowaga; Bridget Reid, Overdorf Associates Agency Inc., Hamburg; Clare Root, CR Home Renewed, Buffalo; and Julianne Wells, JPW Supply LLC, Buffalo.

"Our goal is to help minority and women entrepreneurs take their companies to the next level," said Thomas Ulbrich, executive director of the CEL. "These graduates can use their newly developed skills to achieve their business and personal goals, while also contributing to our local economy."

Donna Scalfaro, owner of Carpet Care Services Inc. and a 2010 MWEE graduate, delivered the keynote address. She also served as a mentor in this year's program and is enrolled in the CEL's Core program.

Each participant was assigned a mentor from the local business community to help formulate realistic business goals and develop timetables and strategies for achieving them.

Mentors met regularly with participants, providing advice in strategic and tactical thinking, marketing, long-range financial planning and more. The capstone project in the program was creation of a new or revised business plan.

The "Mentor of the Year" award was given to David Berghash, CEO of Shield Manufacturing Inc.

This year's class brings the total number of Allstate Minority and Women Emerging Entrepreneurs program graduates to 171.

The CEL is now accepting applications for the 2013 MWEE program. To be eligible, 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, call the CEL at 716-885-5715 or visit http://mgt.buffalo.edu/ced/cel.

The Allstate Foundation, established in 1952, is an independent, charitable organization made possible by subsidiaries of The Allstate Corporation. Through partnerships with nonprofit organizations across the country, The Allstate Foundation brings the relationships, reputation and resources of Allstate to support innovative and lasting solutions that enhance people's well-being and prosperity. With a focus on teen safe driving and building financial independence for domestic violence survivors, The Allstate Foundation also promotes safe and vital communities; tolerance, inclusion, and diversity; and economic empowerment. For more information, visit http://www.allstate.com/foundation.

Since 1987, the CEL has been providing participants with individualized and interactive education in entrepreneurship. More than 900 CEL alumni employ more than 22,000 Western New Yorkers, and their businesses are worth more than $2 billion to the local economy.

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.