Competition Fosters Entrepreneurial Spirit in High Schools

By Jacqueline Ghosen

Release Date: March 11, 2008

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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Six students from area high schools won first place in an entrepreneurship competition on March 8 for their business proposal, a high-tech gaming center.

The competition was the culmination of a 19-week Entrepreneurship Training Program conducted by the University at Buffalo School of Management and the Meszaros International Center of Entrepreneurship (MICE).

Members of the winning team were George Alexander of City Honors High School, Patrick Anhalt of Emerson School of Hospitality, Charles Beardsley of Burgard Vocational High School, Michael Cheaib of St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute, Craig Nicpon of Burgard Vocational High School and Wes Richter of City Honors High School. Each team members was awarded a leather embossed attaché case.

Seven teams presented business plans in the competition, which was held at Hutchinson Central Technical High School. Entries ranged from a proposal to provide microfinance funding in Ghana, to a unique restaurant concept to a fashion design business.

Judges for the competition were Louis P. Ciminelli, chair and CEO of LPCiminelli Inc.; Cynthia M. Shore, assistant dean of corporate and community relations, UB School of Management; and Chris Meszaros, product manager, Synacor.

Beginning in October, nearly 50 students from18 urban, suburban and rural area high schools attended the Entrepreneurship Training Program on Saturday mornings at the UB School of Management, where they explored the possibilities and complexities of self employment.

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, a number of area entrepreneurs as guest speakers and a business plan workshop.

"Young people have the greatest potential to develop positive attitudes and business behaviors," 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 entrepreneurship skills that students learned in this program -- effective work habits, personal management and critical thinking -- all transfer well into everyday life, and will help them to become high quality human assets," he added.

The Meszaros International Center for 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://mice-us-foundation.com.

The Wall Street Journal ranks the UB School of Management No. 9 in the nation among schools with strong regional recruiting bases. In addition, BusinessWeek ranks the school as one of the country's top 5 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.