MillerCoors Urban Entrepreneurs contest supports supplier diversity
(April 12, 2012) MillerCoors recently granted $125,000 to four small
business owners through its MillerCoors Urban Entrepreneurs Series (MUES).
The ultimate goal of the MUES program is to create a pipeline of
potential MillerCoors suppliers. Supplier diversity, community
investment and economic empowerment are priorities for MillerCoors and
the brewer has set a target to cumulatively spend more than $2.5 billion
with minority-owned and women-owned suppliers by 2015.
The grand prize winner, Ola Ayeni, CEO of Dining Dialog, which helps
food and beverage companies grow their customer base, received a $50,000
investment grant and three runners-up will receive $25,000 each.
"This is a big step for me and my business," said Ayeni. "This will help
me get the resources I need to succeed and one day do the same thing
MillerCoors is doing—help other entrepreneurs bring their businesses to
"We believe these emerging businesses and the jobs they are creating are
the key to growing and developing urban communities across the U.S.,"
said Larry Waters, Director of Multicultural Relations for MillerCoors.
"The entrepreneurs involved in MUES are dynamic and innovative business
owners. Our support and guidance gives them the motivation and
resources they need to take their business to new heights."
A recent study by Hiscox Small Business Insurance reveals that 47% of
emerging business owners are optimistic about their growth, with 8%
reporting that they plan on hiring new staff for 2012.
The others awardees in this year's MUES program were:
Sulaiman Sanni & Benjamin Lamson ($25,000) of WeDidIt, Brooklyn, NY.
WeDidIt is a web-based, online crowd-funding platform, allowing
organizations to raise money, reach new donors and increase their
exposure, at a lower cost than any other method in use today.
Roberto Torres, Michael Gil, Luis Montañez, & Christopher Findeisen
($25,000) of Black and Denim Apparel, Tampa, FL. Black and Denim is an
apparel brand with roots in American heritage principles: hard work and
functionality where "Made in America" is not a slogan, but a way of
Jamien Sills, Gwendolyn Tucker, Ricky Tucker, Tracy Bryant, Christopher
Lee ($25,000) of Neimaj in Memphis, TN. Neimaj produces evolutionary
footwear for the everyday hero, focusing on 360 degree protection
safetywear, as well as ecofriendly footwear without the use harmful
chemicals and adhesives.
The business plan competition was established in 1999 as a valuable
resource for entrepreneurs to grow their businesses, create jobs and
make a powerful impact in their communities. MUES has awarded nearly
$1.7 million in grants to more than 100 emerging businesses and offers
fundamental resources for all participating entrepreneurs, including
instructional webinars, interactive social media platforms and guidance
from some of the leading business minds in the country.
MillerCoors awarded Ayeni a $50,000 grant and three runners-up each
received $25,000. Winners were honored during a special reception at
the MillerCoors Corporate Headquarters in Chicago, IL. Co-star of ABC's
Shark Tank and founder of FUBU, Daymond John, served as the event's
guest speaker, sharing his entrepreneurial experiences.
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