CEL graduates 49 emerging minority and women entrepreneurs

Group photo of graduates.

2023 CEL M&T Bank Minority and Women Emerging Entrepreneurs graduates outside the UB Center for the Arts. Photo: Heather Bellini

Release Date: July 17, 2023


BUFFALO, N.Y. —  After entering as protégés last year, 49 entrepreneurs are now prepared to take their businesses to the next level following completion of the M&T Bank Minority and Women Emerging Entrepreneurs program, presented by the University at Buffalo School of Management’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership.

The certificates of completion were presented at a graduation ceremony for two CEL programs on June 15 at the UB Center for the Arts on the university’s North Campus.

Sponsored by M&T Bank, the program helps minority and women entrepreneurs take their companies to the next stage of development with business growth seminars twice a month, networking events and one-on-one mentoring. Including the 2023 graduates, 437 entrepreneurs have completed the program since it was established in 2004.

With the generous sponsorship of Open4, this year’s class benefitted from such additional resources as leadership coaching; private consultations with industry experts; and panel discussions on marketing, strategic planning and business development resources. In addition, the Buffalo Urban League collaborated with CEL to provide a pre-launch workshop and additional networking opportunities for the class.

Rashone Scott-Williams, founder of Western New York Mobile OPS, received the C. Taylor Kew Entrepreneurial Excellence Award, which recognizes graduates for exemplifying the leadership and community service principles for which the late Kew stood. An energetic advocate for the CEL, Kew created and operated several companies and donated his time to several civic organizations before his tragic death in a seaplane crash in 1992. Through WNY Mobile Overdose, Scott-Williams has provided NARCAN training to more than 2,200 people and distributed 4,224 kits to neighborhoods and organizations in the region.

The emerging entrepreneurs completed a peer-based, mentor-driven program to help grow, refocus or better manage their businesses. During the intensive, 10-month course, they conducted an in-depth analysis of their businesses, while developing expertise in such key areas as strategic planning, financial management, employee relations and marketing.

The 2023 graduates and their companies are:

  • Olajumoke Akinwale Oguntimehin, Jolly J Entertainers Int’l
  • Katherin Alexander, Full Circle Family Service
  • Victoria Armstrong, Victorian Cleaning Service
  • Christine Belus, An Extra Scoop LLC
  • Danielle Bickel, Strokes Painting and Contracting
  • Yakenna Burse, Herban Alternative
  • Isaac Capo Carino, Luxasta
  • Casey Chebat, Natura Skin Boutique
  • Jonathan Clark, Clean Kings
  • Smita Chutke, Smitas Cookery Spices
  • Charlise Davis, Aesthetically Irresistible
  • Natalya Dean, Innovative L&D LLC
  • Lynette Elliott, E-scent-ials Body Care LLC
  • Yolanda Fonville, Funville LLC
  • Terry Fulcher, Resource-Ful One Consulting
  • Rita Gay, Melida’s Seasonal Delights
  • Ian Gunter, Victorian Cleaning Services LLC
  • Fragrance Harris Stanfield, Fragrance of Yah Records LLC
  • Joyelle Hackett, Grow Services
  • Rosemary Hansen, Tranquility Medical Aesthetics
  • Maurice Howard, The Howard Group
  • Antoinette Johnson, E’scentual Pleasures LLC
  • Reginald Johnson, Northern Lights Association LLC
  • Lisa Kulka, I can go to college!    
  • Shawna Lee-McMillan, Bue’s Beads
  • Lester McDade, Everything’s Copestetic
  • Nicole McDade, “X” Scape Spa
  • Miyata Maddox, Twisted Infusionz
  • Chevon Mason, Jean Adore
  • Sybil Rowe Middlebrooks, LivyBelleCreates
  • Khari Myers, The Mahogany
  • Emere Nieves, Gardeness Inc.
  • Anastasia Nikolaeva, Anastasias Artisan Bread LLC
  • Dajanyque Peay, Sweet Variations
  • Shauna Ronan, Tap That Pourhouse LLC
  • Elaine Salter, Lash House
  • Apryle Schneeberger, The Collaborative Center for Social Innovation
  • Lisa Scolnick, Lean Systems LLC
  • Chanelle Scott, Pink Frog Cleaning Service
  • Rashone Scott-Williams, WNY Mobile Overdose Prevention Services
  • Tiffany Searcy, Posh Pleasures Boutique
  • Dean Seneca, Seneca Scientific Solutions+
  • Angela Smith, Shear Pampering Spa Studio
  • Dametria Stover, The Body Valet
  • Olga Stremiakova, Pacific Petstylist
  • Darrin Strickland, Strickly Business Safety Solutions LLC
  • Anisa Umugwanera, Welcovery
  • Kamilah Whitfield, My Grandmother’s Garden
  • Alana Winnert, Intro the Woods Therapy

The CEL is accepting applications for the 2024 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.

Established in 1987, the CEL provides participants with individualized and interactive education in entrepreneurship. More than 1,500 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 management.buffalo.edu/cel.

Now in its 100th year, the UB School of Management is recognized for its emphasis on real-world learning, community and 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 management.buffalo.edu.

Media Contact Information

Kevin Manne
Associate Director of Communications
School of Management