Competition Fosters Entrepreneurial Spirit in High School Students

By Jacqueline Ghosen

Release Date: March 24, 2009 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Six students from area high schools won first place in an entrepreneurship competition on March 21 for their winning business proposal, an eco-friendly café.

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

Katelin Kostek and Alexandra Kilgore of Lancaster High School, Keysha Lozada of Leonardo Da Vinci High School, Grace Niswander and Alice Zicari of Buffalo Seminary and Ebony Snow of Hutchinson Central Technical High School comprised the winning team.

Their business plan outlined the financial, marketing and sales projections for an ecologically conscious urban café that would feature local music and art.

Six teams presented business plans in the competition, which was held in Hutchinson Central Technical High School. The second-place team proposed an academically focused afterschool program and the third-place team won for their plan for a cancer-recovery center.

Judges for the competition were Louis P. Ciminelli, chair and CEO of LPCiminelli; Paul Giangreco, consultant; Althea E. Luehrsen, UB assistant vice president of corporate and foundation relations; Chris Meszaros, product manager, Synacor; Gerry Murak, principal, Murak and Associates, president and CEO, SoPark Corporation; and Cynthia M. Shore, assistant dean of corporate and community relations, UB School of Management.

Since October, 34 students from 12 area high schools have been attending the Entrepreneurship Training Program on Saturday mornings in 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, guest speakers from a number of area entrepreneurs 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 of Entrepreneurship is a not-for-profit foundation that develops and delivers entrepreneurship training products and programs. MICE has already 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

The Wall Street Journal has ranked the UB School of Management No. 9 in the nation among schools with strong regional recruiting bases. In addition, BusinessWeek has ranked the school as one of the country's top 5 business schools for the fastest return on MBA investment, and Forbes has cited 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