Minority and Women Emerging Entrepreneurs Honored

Release Date: November 9, 2011 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Maria Pascucci, president and founder of Campus Calmâ„¢, has been named “Protégé of the Year” by the Allstate Minority and Women Emerging Entrepreneurs (MWEE) program.

The program is a joint venture by the University at Buffalo School of Management’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL) and the UB Center for Urban Studies.

Pascucci received a $1,500 prize for the honor. Campus Calm provides training solutions to colleges and universities to help develop the next generation of young female leaders.

Laura St. Pierre Smith, of Blaine Realtors in Hamburg, was awarded the second-place prize of $1,000. Additionally, Melissa Neal, M.D., owner of Twenty 20 Eye Care and Aesthetic Oculoplastic Medicine in Buffalo, was awarded the third-place prize, $500.

The Allstate Foundation, a charitable organization funded by subsidiaries of Allstate Insurance Corporation, sponsored the program and presented the awards at a banquet on Nov. 8 in the Center for Tomorrow on UB’s North Campus.

Fifteen participants completed the program after entering as protégés last March. In addition to the award winners, they were: Allie Balling, Allieway Marketing Services, Buffalo; Felicia Beard, Paper Trails, Buffalo; Natalie Brooks, Transform Your World LLC, Buffalo; Sammie Davis Jr., David & Bartholomew, Buffalo; Talia Johnson, MWBE Constructors Inc., Buffalo; Marinette Kozlow, MAK Design, Buffalo; Dale Martin, Martin & Associates-WNY@Work, Buffalo; Paige Mecca, Allegro Power, Williamsville; Kelly Mustillo, Smooches for Pooches LLC, Clarence; Douglas Ruffin Jr., Urban Legacy Filmworks, Buffalo; Linda Simmons, Bubble’s Q Sauce, Buffalo; and Yvette Suarez, Integrity Worldwide LLC, Buffalo.

Shandra Spicer, owner of S&W Contracting of WNY, delivered the keynote address. Spicer is a 2010 MWEE graduate and served as a mentor and competition judge for the program this year.

“Our goal is to help minority and women entrepreneurs take their companies to the next level,” said Thomas Ulbrich, executive director of the CEL. “These graduates can use their newly developed skills to achieve their business and personal goals, while also contributing to our local economy.”

Each participant was assigned a mentor from the local business community to help formulate 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 capstone project in the program was creation of a new or revised business plan.

The “Mentor of the Year” award was given to Lori E. Miller, president of Developing Professionals, Lancaster.

This year’s class brings the total number of Allstate Minority and Women Emerging Entrepreneurs program graduates to 135.

The CEL is now accepting applications for the 2012 MWEE program. To be eligible, 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, call the CEL at 716-885-5715 or visit mgt.buffalo.edu/ced/cel.

Established in 1952, The Allstate Foundation is an independent, charitable organization made possible by subsidiaries of The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL). Through partnerships with nonprofit organizations across the country, The Allstate Foundation brings the relationships, reputation and resources of Allstate to support innovative and lasting solutions that enhance people’s well-being and prosperity. 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.

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. 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 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.

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Jacqueline Molik Ghosen
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School of Management