CEL graduates emerging minority and women entrepreneurs

Release Date: July 16, 2018 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. —  Allison DeHonney, owner of Urban Fruits & Veggies LLC, has been named Protégé of the Year by the Allstate Minority and Women Emerging Entrepreneurs (MWEE) 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.

DeHonney earned a $1,500 prize for the honor. Sandra Sexton, owner of MARMOTA-TEK, was awarded second place and a $1,000 prize. Venus Quates-Majors, owner of launchTECH, took third place and a $500 prize. Mike Cardus, Organization Development by Mike Cardus, was honored as Mentor of the Year.

The awards were handed out at a graduation ceremony for three CEL programs on June 8 at UB’s Center for the Arts.

Sponsored by The Allstate Foundation, the MWEE program helps minority and women entrepreneurs take their companies to the next stage of development with business development seminars twice a month, networking events and one-on-one mentoring.

After entering as protégés last year, 32 participants graduated, bringing the total number of local entrepreneurs who have completed the MWEE program to 293 since it launched in 2004.

The graduates were:

  • Rebecca Brady, Top Seedz
  • Alexandra Cartier, Zaniology
  • Deondra Cook, The Red Hamper LLC
  • Candice Crosby, Candice Does My Hair
  • Ed Cruz, Cruz Painting and Design LLC
  • Allison DeHonney, Urban Fruits & Veggies LLC
  • Gretchen Demeo, Go to Girl Concierge
  • Tatianna Devers, Diva Enhancement by Miss T
  • Tanesha Dupree, I DuPretty
  • Deborah Erwin, Witness CARES LLC
  • Jamie Fingerlow, Signature Sweets by Jamie
  • Sriti Hossain, HNH Development
  • Dee Johnson, Witness CARES LLC
  • Arlene Kaye, Fashion Lab NY LLC
  • Maureen Kemeny, LifeSwitch Inc.
  • Linda Lund,  Babcia’s Pierogi
  • Francie Marzec, The Real You Physical Therapy/All About Motion PLLC
  • Tricia Mendez, GCF Auto Repair
  • James Moise, The Organic Gentleman’s Club
  • Pam Nelligan, Statdash LLC
  • Jonas Ofori, JJ’s New City Auto Sales LLC
  • Abel Plazola, P. Max Engineering
  • Venus Quates-Majors, launchTECH
  • Treina Saint, Treina Saint – Live With Heart
  • Sandy Schneider, Magic Penny Reading/Literacy Institute
  • Sandra Sexton, MARMOTA-TEK
  • Sandra Talley, Talley Virtually Works 4U
  • Dawn Tarbox-Szerbiak, Kiptom Dance Center
  • Britney Tucker, Befit!
  • Shannon Waddell, Healthy Connections Consulting
  • Lauren Willett-Benson, VEDA Yoga Space
  • Beth Zubin, Bling It On Salon

Each participant was assigned a mentor from the local business community to help devise realistic business goals and develop timetables and strategies for achieving them. Mentors met regularly with participants, providing advice in strategic and tactical thinking, marketing, long-range financial planning and more.

The CEL is accepting applications for the 2019 MWEE program. To be eligible, an entrepreneur must be a woman or member of a recognized minority group and own a business in the Buffalo Niagara region.  To learn more about the curriculum or apply, contact the CEL office at 716-885-5715 or mgt-cel@buffalo.edu.

The Allstate Foundation, a charitable organization funded by subsidiaries of Allstate Insurance Corp., provides philanthropic grants to nonprofit organizations. With a focus on teen safe driving and building financial independence for domestic violence survivors, The Allstate Foundation also promotes safe and vital communities; tolerance, inclusion and diversity; and economic empowerment. For more information, visit allstatefoundation.org.

Established in 1987, the CEL provides participants with individualized and interactive education in entrepreneurship. More than 1,400 CEL alumni employ more than 23,000 Western New Yorkers, and their businesses are worth more than $2.3 billion to the local economy. For more information, visit mgt.buffalo.edu/cel.

The UB School of Management is recognized for its emphasis on real-world learning, community and economic impact, and the global perspective of its faculty, students and alumni. The school also has been ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes and U.S. News & World Report for the quality of its programs and the return on investment it provides its graduates. For more information about the UB School of Management, visit mgt.buffalo.edu.

Media Contact Information

Kevin Manne
Associate Director of Communications
School of Management