Monday, June 19, 2017

WBENC Sets the Stage in Las Vegas for the 2017 Student Entrepreneur Program and Pitch Competition

Article extract from

WASHINGTONJune 5, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) is proud to announce the 20 student entrepreneurs selected for the prestigious 2017 WBENC Student Entrepreneur Program (SEP) at WBENC's National Conference & Business Fair in Las Vegas, Nevada from June 18 - 23

The SEP program fosters growth for the next generation of women-owned businesses through a tailored entrepreneurial curriculum and mentoring from certified women-owned businesses and Fortune 500 Corporate Members including Bristol-Meyers Squibb Company, Dell Technologies, Ericsson North America, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Merck, Macy's Inc, Pfizer Inc., Office Depot, Inc, U.S. Postal Service, and Walmart Stores, Inc. The Title Sponsors for the 2017 program are Allstate Insurance Company and FedEx.

Cheryl Harris, Senior Vice President and Chief Procurement Officer of Allstate Insurance Company, reflects on her experience as a mentor with SEP: "WBENC's Student Entrepreneur Program (SEP) emboldens that entrepreneurial spirit in the next generation of women business owners. As a past mentor, I feel it is my duty to continually be a part of this developmental program. SEP fosters the brilliance of these women; empowering them to exercise their ingenuity and influence in advancing the business and local community landscapes – unleashing innovative WBEs into the economy.

"FedEx is proud to support the WBENC Student Entrepreneur Program (SEP)," says Sue Spence, Vice President, Sourcing and Procurement at FedEx. "This program has a proven track record of providing essential resources to help encourage the next generation of women business owners. Playing a role in the growth of small businesses is a major focus area for FedEx, and it's even more exciting to play a role in the development of young women through the SEP program."

Since inception in 2008, more than 150 students from 50 colleges and universities across the country have graduated from SEP. To celebrate WBENC's 20th anniversary, SEP is welcoming ten alumnae from prior years as mentors to the current participants throughout the week and beyond. This exciting addition is made possible by our 20th Anniversary Alumni Champion Sponsor, Shell Oil Company.

As part of the program, the students compete in a pitch competition. In 2016, WBENC awarded $5,000 in seed capital to Ya-El Mandel-Portnoy, founder and CEO of Cardea Sciences; the 2nd and 3rd place participants won $3,000 and $2,000 in seed capital, respectively. This year, the cohort will compete again for $10,000 in seed capital during the EY WBENC SEP Pitch Competition on Thursday, June 22 from 3-5 p.m. at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. Conference attendees are encouraged to attend. 

This year's cohort includes students from 17 universities majoring in biomedical, engineering, computer science, business and the arts. All student participants are passionate about their future and have incredible entrepreneurial spirits. Whether they are still in the early stages of launching their startup or looking to advance their business, SEP will give this year's cohort the tools and resources to become proactive women entrepreneurs. Here are this years' participants.

{in alphabetical order}

  • Carrisa AndersonHofstra University
  • Isis AshfordPrairie View A&M University
  • Jordan BanksWake Forest University
  • Emilee Burroughs, Berry College
  • Alex CorenUniversity of Miami
  • Ashia DavisPepperdine University
  • Rebecca DubermanUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Queneesha GregoryGeorgia Southern University
  • Nakia GuyColumbus State University
  • Allison IngleWright State University
  • Sharlena LuyenOregon State University
  • Lauren MillerWake Forest University
  • Alexa PetePrairie View A&M University
  • Sadie PierceMississippi State University
  • Kareman Rawy, Oregon State University
  • Rikki RummelUniversity of South Florida
  • Ana SanchezFlorida State University
  • Parisa SorayaUniversity of Michigan
  • Mary Taylor JrUniversity of Cincinnati
  • Rose WongUniversity of Hawaii at Manoa
Sadie Lee
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