Cassandra Ott, owner of Cassandra Ott Art & Design, was named Protégé of the Year from the Allstate Minority and Women Emerging Entrepreneurs (MWEE) Class of 2020.
Teshiko Payton, owner of Payton’s Place Learning Daycare, was awarded second place at the MWEE program's virtual graduation.
Nicole Davis, co-owner of Franci Jewelry, was recognized with third place at the MWEE program's virtual graduation ceremony.
Jittaun Hutchinson, co-owner of Franci Jewelry, also was honored with third place at the MWEE program's virtual graduation.
Shelden Gibbs, who founded Classic Knot at 10 years old, is one of the youngest graduates in the MWEE program's history.
Yanava (Navi) Hawkins—CEO of Girl Gang Entertainment, an event planning and hosting business—is ready to celebrate her MWEE graduation.
Release Date: June 29, 2020
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Cassandra Ott, owner of Cassandra Ott Art & Design, 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.
Ott earned a $1,500 prize for the honor. Teshiko Payton, owner of Payton’s Place Learning Daycare, was awarded second place and a $1,000 prize. Nicole Davis and Jittaun Hutchinson, owners of Franci Jewelry, took third place and a $500 prize.
The awards were announced on June 11 in a virtual graduation ceremony held jointly with the CEL’s Core program.
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, 24 participants graduated, bringing the total number of local entrepreneurs who have completed the MWEE program to 348 since it launched in 2004.
The graduates were:
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 2021 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.