Competition at the University at Buffalo recognizes high school entrepreneurs
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).
Amber Quinney of Hutchinson Central Technical High School, Summer Saleh of Niagara Falls High School, Joshua O’Brien of Kenmore West High School, Cooper Oexle of St. Joseph Collegiate Institute and George Scouras of Lancaster High School were the members of the winning team.
Their business plan outlined the financial, marketing and management plans for Smart Gym, a business that would promote athletic activity using superior technology.
Five teams presented business plans in the competition, which was held in Hutchinson Central Technical High School.
Judges for the competition were Mark Eister, corporate director, national distribution, Rich Products; Joe Farage, owner, Buffalo Printing Co.; Tony Manzella, president, Manzella Productions; Cynthia Shore, senior assistant dean of external and alumni relations, UB School of Management; Shandra Spicer, owner/CEO, S&W Contracting; and Jim Swiezy, president, Green Leaf Development and Construction.
Since October, 27 students from 12 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 proclamations from Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and Erie County Executive Mark Polancarz and 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.
“The entrepreneurship skills that students learned in this program -- effective work habits, personal management and critical thinking -- will help these students throughout their lives,” 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.