Pictured left to right: judge Steven Gomez, winner Crystal G. Warner, WCEC Grant Manager Steve Maiorano, winner Angela Selden, WCEC Executive Director Rana Shanawani, WCEC Board Member Alyce Hackett, winner Anatalie David, winner Kristina Maccaro, WCEC Advisory Board Member Michel Bitritto, winner Jacqueline Devone, judge Liz Miller, winner Beth Diana Smith, judge Mimi Feliciano, WCEC Board Member Robin Tabakin and WCEC Advisory Board Member Peggy McHale.
The Women’s Center for Entrepreneurship concluded its year-long S.E.E.D. Grant program with a business plan pitch and awards ceremony, which took place on June 15 at the Enterprise Development Center at NJIT, where $21,000 in cash prizes were awarded to five New Jersey-based, women-owned businesses.
The deserving winners were:
- Crystal G. Warner for Lor’ Dour Designs, LLC, a Newark-based line of fashion active wear for women, who won the top prize of $7,500.
- Angela Selden for Unique Design Commercial Cleaning, a Flanders-based janitorial business, who won the second place prize of $5,000
- Anatalie David and Kristina Maccaro for The Hair Room JC, a Jersey City-based salon experience, who won the third place prize of $4,000
- Jacqueline Devone for POSH Cosmetics™, a Cherry Hill-based e-commerce site for organic, personal care products, who won the fourth place prize of $3,000.
- Beth Diana Smith for Passionistas, an Irvington-based international lifestyle brand for female entrepreneurs, who won the fifth place prize of $1,500
The S.E.E.D. program, which stands for Supplementary Entrepreneurial Establishment Dollars, was a year-long program which included mandatory seminars for aspiring women entrepreneurs, including classes on Business Planning, QuickBooks, Marketing, Sales and Public Speaking. After attending the required classes, which were offered at various locations throughout the state, the applicants submitted their business plans to the WCEC for review. The top five business plans were selected and the finalists had an opportunity to deliver a pitch to compete for placement for the five awards. The pitches were evaluated by a panel of three judges – Liz Miller, President of Summit Place Financial Advisors; Steven Gomez, Executive Director of the Greater Newark Enterprise Corporation; and Mimi Feliciano, Founder and Board Member of the Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship at Montclair State University.
WCEC Executive Director, Rana Shanawani, remarked, “This grant has provided invaluable funds, allowing Main Street entrepreneurs to receive training from business experts throughout the state, and to receive start-up funding for their businesses. The State of New Jersey and the U.S. Small Business Administration have allowed us to support women to successfully start and grow their businesses, enabling them to invest financially, intellectually and emotionally in their communities.”
The S.E.E.D Grant program was funded by the New Jersey Office of Faith Based Initiatives. In addition, the WCEC is partially funded by the US SBA, Peapack-Gladstone Bank, other corporate sponsors and individual donors who are part of the Center’s Society of 75.