Competition Cultivates High School Entrepreneurs

Release Date: April 7, 2011 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Six students from area high schools won first place in an entrepreneurship competition on April 2 for their winning business proposal, an online gaming lounge.

The competition was the capstone event following a 20-week Entrepreneurship Training Program (ETP) conducted by the University at Buffalo School of Management and the Meszaros International Center of Entrepreneurship (MICE).

Jordan Commodore of Bennett High School, Robert Greene of Hutchinson Central Technical High School, Don Jordan of Lancaster High School, Joshua Prible of Depew High School, Luis Rodriguez of Hutchinson Central Technical High School and Alissa Smithers of Williamsville South High School comprised the winning team.

Their business plan outlined the financial, marketing and management plans for a business that would provide the latest online games and gaming consoles for people to use in a social environment.

Eight teams presented business plans in the competition, which was held in Hutchinson Central Technical High School. The second-place team—Nhi Kha, Samantha Santos and Anna Tram of Hutchinson Central Technical High School, Kalifa Doucet of Cleveland Hill High School, and Yessica Amezquita of The International Preparatory School at Grover—was recognized for its plan for an international clothing boutique.

Placing third, for their business proposal to convert methane gas from cow manure into energy, were: Michael Lawler and Konrad Pawlak of City Honors School, Thomas Mangan of St. Francis High School, Jacob Piersa of Lancaster High School, Michael Rivera of St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute, and Ryan Tick of Nichols School.

Judges for the competition were George Greenwood, controller, Hunterview; Mark Eister, director, national distribution, Rich Products; Joseph Malkiewicz, retired educator, Kenmore-Tonawanda School District, Canisius College and Buffalo State College; Edward (Trey) Roth, consultant, general manager, Perm Clip Product; and Cynthia M. Shore, senior assistant dean and director of external relations, UB School of Management.

Since October, 46 students from 21 area high schools have been attending the ETP on Saturday mornings in the UB School of Management, where they explored the possibilities and complexities of self-employment.

The competition was followed by an ETP graduation ceremony that included remarks from representatives of MICE and the UB School of Management.

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 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. 

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 has been ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek, the Financial Times, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report and The Wall Street Journal for the quality of its programs and the return on investment it provides its graduates.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and 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.

Media Contact Information

Jacqueline Molik Ghosen
Assistant Dean and Director of Communications
School of Management