WBENC Sets Stage in Orlando for the 2016 Student Entrepreneur Program and Pitch Competition

The Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) is proud to announce the 19 student entrepreneurs selected from 16 universities for the prestigious 2016 WBENC Student Entrepreneur Program (SEP) at WBENC's National Conference & Business Fair in Orlando, Florida from June 21 to 23.

The program fosters growth for the next generation of women-owned businesses through tailored entrepreneurial curriculum and mentoring from certified women’s business owners and Fortune 500 Corporate Members. In addition, students will enjoy off-site visits to corporations and accelerators supported by title sponsor FedEx, pitch competition sponsor EY, and Student Scholar Supporters.

2015 SEP Pitch Competition Winner Fon Powell (center); second place finisher Jasmine Curtis (left); and third place finisher Naomi Thomas (right). 

2015 SEP Pitch Competition Winner Fon Powell (center); second place finisher Jasmine Curtis (left); and third place finisher Naomi Thomas (right). 

In 2015, WBENC awarded $5K in seed capital to Fon Powell, creator of the S.A.L.T device. This year, the cohort will compete in the EY WBENC SEP Pitch Competition on Thursday, June 23 from 3pm to 5pm at the Hyatt Regency Orlando - Convention Center, which is open to credentialed members of the media.

“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.”

WBENC is committed to enriching the future for all women entrepreneurs. By underscoring the importance of bringing diverse women from Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) fields together at the developmental stages of their career to build a support network for future women business owners and leaders, WBENC is committed to being the nation’s leader in women’s business development.  

This year's cohort includes students majoring in biomedical, engineering, computer science, business, and arts degrees.

{in alphabetical order}

·      Temiloluwa Adeniyi - University of Cincinnati

·      Chidimma Amagwula - Prairie View A&M University

·      Mona Amin - East Carolina University

·      Justine Avoudikpon - University of Georgia

·      Emily Bocchino - Florida State University

·      Ny-Aja Boyd - North Carolina A&T State University

·      Eunice Cofie - University of Cincinnati

·      Mariah Henry - Florida A&M University

·      Shannon Homa - Alvernia University

·      Lisa Huang - Rice University

·      Natalie Kass - University of South Florida

·      Sarah Lumanu - Prairie View A&M University

·      Ya-El Mandel-Portnoy - Mount Sinai School of Medicine

·      Yadira Martinez - College of Southern Nevada

·      Hayley Owczarzak - Aquinas College

·      Chancedy Pulliam - Mississippi State University

·      Dhuree Seth - Embry Riddle Aeronautical University

·      Tamarre Torchon - Georgia State University

·      Vinitha Thiyagarajan Upaassana - University of Cincinnati

"We must be proactive about encouraging future WBEs of all backgrounds to see the possibilities in opening their own businesses,” says Pamela Prince-Eason, WBENC President and CEO. “The SEP program does this by bringing students from across the country, in different fields and with diverse backgrounds.”

Since its inception in 2008, more than 150 students have graduated from the program. In addition to WBE mentors, this year’s cohort has the Student Scholar Supporters, including Allstate Insurance Co.; Avis Budget Group; Bristol-Myers Squibb; CVS Health; Ericsson; ExxonMobil; Johnson & Johnson; The Kroger Co.; Merck & Co.; Motorola Solutions; Office Depot; Raytheon Company; UPS; and USPS.



Posted on June 7, 2016 .