BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Williamsville resident Julie S. Waldron has been named “Protégé 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.
Waldron, owner of Proforma Total Business, received a $1,500 prize for the honor. Buffalo resident Merry R. Constantino, owner of ProductLogic was awarded the second-place prize of $1,000. Additionally, Buffalo resident Lenny Johnson, President of L&D Johnson Plumbing & Heating Inc., was awarded the third-place prize, receiving $500.
Program sponsor The Allstate Foundation, a charitable organization funded by subsidiaries of Allstate Insurance Corporation, presented the awards at a banquet held on Dec. 10 in the UB Center for Tomorrow on UB’s North (Amherst) Campus.
Twenty-three participants completed the program after entering as protégés last January. In addition to the award winners, the participants were:
Amherst residents Janee Dabney, Mariedon Productions; Marisa Dabney, Mariedon Productions; Myron Hodges, Action Cleaning Services.
Buffalo residents Jason Bellamy, Bellamy Estates. LLC; Peggy Brooks-Bertram, Uncrowned Queens Institute for Research and Education on Women Inc.
Rhydell Griffin, Griffin Properties & Management Inc.; Tracy Horn, Emerald Waters Birth Center; Michelle Mullen, Health and Fitness Solutions; Barbara Nevergold, Uncrowned Queens Institute for Research and Education on Women Inc.; Audrey Ross-Sanders, Audrey Ross-Sanders Architect; Lemark Shaw, (LMZINC) Zinc Screen Printing; Jill Wisz, Otherwisz Creative Corporation.
Cheektowaga resident Michelle Melanson, Quoteagious.
Clarence residents Mary Beth Dunn, Mary Beth Dunn, DDC; Marge Rein, Educated Healthcare
Depew resident Jamie Randall, Jamie Randall, LMT.
Orchard Park residents Jane Meech, Orchard Park Massage Clinic; Toni Naumovski, A&A Corner Store and Café.
West Seneca resident Michelle Unger, WNY Virtual Office.
And Williamsville resident Danielle Woodman, Web site Design Consultant/Grant Proposal Consultant.
“As a result of this program, these 23 graduates have sought to foster their economic independence, advance their families’ future and strengthen the economic health of their community,” said Allstate Foundation Chairperson Krista Conte.
“Knowing that these strong, intelligent men and women have enhanced their development by acquiring tactical business skills demonstrates the continued success of the UB/Allstate Foundation partnership,” she added. “We congratulate these talented individuals and the University at Buffalo for their vision, commitment and the impact they have made to the world around them.”
Each participant was assigned two mentors who are successful entrepreneurs from the local business community and who met regularly with their protégés to help them evaluate and improve their business plans.
Mentors provided protégés with technical advice on varied aspects of running a small business. This includes strategic and tactical thinking, marketing, long-range financial planning and basic legal advice to help protégés formulate realistic business goals and to develop timetables and strategies for achieving them.
“Mentor of the Year” awards were given to Waldron’s mentors, David Reichard of Gas Technology Energy Concepts LLC and Paul Maher of D&M Plywood.
The culminating activity in the program was creation of a new or revised business plan. One year after completing the program, protégés will be invited back to assess the program’s impact on the development of their businesses.
“Our mission is to create a pathway that enables minority and women emerging entrepreneurs to move their companies to the next stage of development,” said Thomas Ulbrich, Executive Director of CEL. “The program has again exceeded our expectations, significantly increasing the number of graduates from last year, and we look forward to launching our sixth year in 2009,” Ulbrich added.
Applications for the 2009 program are due by Jan. 14. 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 Allstate Minority and Women Emerging Entrepreneurs Program, call CEL at 716-885-5715 or visit mgt.buffalo.edu/ced/cel.
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 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 mgt.buffalo.edu.
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system that is its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB’s more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.