By Ann Brown
Release Date: September 19, 2023
BUFFALO, N.Y. – The University at Buffalo has named Beautiful Brains as the fastest-growing business owned or led by an alumnus or former student during the Fast 46 celebration held Thursday, Sept. 14.
The Fast 46 competition is named in honor of UB’s founding in 1846. Its mission is to recognize successful businesses led or owned by UB alumni or former students. To be considered a Fast 46 finalist, eligible companies must have been in business for at least three years; have verifiable revenues of at least $100,000 or more in 2019 and 2020 and at least $250,000 in 2021; and the owner, CEO, president, managing partner, director or chair must be a UB alumnus or former student.
The Fast 46 verification firm, The Bonadio Group, analyzed three years of financial data provided by each company and determined the ranking. Based on their analysis, Beautiful Brains, led by Christian Johnson, CEL ’15, was named the fastest-growing business as confirmed by revenue growth rates. A Buffalo-based company, the firm helps businesses strengthen and diversify its supply chains through end-to-end global product manufacturing and distribution services. A serial entrepreneur, Johnson is a board member of Erie County Medical Center and the African American Veterans Monument in Buffalo.
“Being this year’s number one company in UB’s Fast 46 program means so much to me, not only as an entrepreneur, but as a Black woman. I’ve faced countless roadblocks throughout my career, so I hope that my being here can inspire others to have faith in themselves and relentlessly pursue their goals. Many thanks to the UB Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership program for helping me break though those glass ceilings, and the UB Alumni Association for nominating Beautiful Brains.”
More than 400 companies were nominated for this award. Of the 46 finalists, 26 companies are from Western New York, and the remaining are located across the U.S.
“Congratulations to all of this year’s finalists. Our accomplished alumni business owners set a tremendous example for our students and our entire university community,” says UB President Satish K. Tripathi. “As successful business leaders, it is exciting the watch these alumni-owned businesses grow and see how their collective success contributes to the economy, demonstrating the impact of UB not only in Western New York, but far beyond.”
Thomas McArthur, EdM ’08, associate vice president for alumni engagement and annual giving, said the competition “demonstrates the amazing entrepreneurial skills of UB alumni who are building businesses. Their innovation and business know-how inspire our students and our broader alumni community all over the world.”
“It’s been a pleasure partnering with UB on this initiative, and we are honored to again serve as the official verification firm of the competition,” says Denise Neamon, partner, The Bonadio Group. “On behalf of everyone at our firm, we congratulate the recipients on their success and wish them continued growth in the years to come.”
The UB Alumni Association is the presenting sponsor of Fast 46. In addition to support from The Bonadio Group, Fast 46 is sponsored by Bank on Buffalo.
More information about the Fast 46 competition, including the list of finalists, can be found on the alumni association’s website.