UB Minority and Women Emerging Entrepreneurs Program Names "Protege of the Year"

By Jacqueline Ghosen

Release Date: December 9, 2004 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Buffalo resident Laurice A. Vance of Vance Insurance Agency has been named "Protégé of the Year" and received a $1,000 prize from the Minority and Women Emerging Entrepreneurs Mentoring Program, a joint venture by the University at Buffalo School of Management Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL) and UB's Center for Urban Studies and Office of Urban Initiatives.

The yearlong program, sponsored by CitiBank, drew to a close with the presentation of the award at a banquet held on Dec. 8 in the Jacobs Executive Development Center, 672 Delaware Ave.

The participants who entered the program as protégés last January each were was assigned two mentors who are successful entrepreneurs from the local business and who met regularly with their protégés to help them evaluate and improve their business plans.

In addition to Vance, 10 individuals completed the program. They are:

Buffalo residents: Merline Bell, Promise Beauty Salon; Anita Kendall, Conlab Inc.; Jovino Morales, Jovino Property & Financial; Catherine Pera, Bison Scaffolding; Andre Scott, Shabach Realty; Atrilla Williams, Cakes by Atrilla, and Dionne Williamson, New Age Expressions.

Cheektowaga resident: Greg Simmons, Simmons Flooring & Remodeling.

Lancaster resident: Jock Davis, Davis Technologies.

Tonawanda resident: Richard Jeter, RJ Insulation.

"Mentor of the Year" awards were given to Amherst resident Mary Collins-Sanborn of Collins Advisors and Clarence resident Joseph Floss of Floss Agencies.

"The program's 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. "We are very pleased with the results of this first year, and we will be continuing the program in 2005."

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.

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

Applications for the 2005 program are due by Jan. 17, 2005. 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 Minority and Women Emerging Entrepreneurs Mentoring Program, call CEL at 645-3000 or visit http://www.mgt.buffalo.edu/ced/cel.