Chicago, IL – MillerCoors granted $125,000 to four small business owners through its MillerCoors Urban Entrepreneurs Series (MUES). 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 life.”
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. The brewer has set a target to cumulatively spend more than $2.5 billion with minority-owned and women-owned suppliers by 2015.
“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 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 on Thursday, March 8, at the MillerCoors Corporate Headquarters inChicago, 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.
The complete listing of this year’s winners follows:
|Ola Ayeni │$50,000|
|Dining Dialog – Bolingbrook, IL|
|Dining Dialog is an innovative business that helps food and beverage companies increase revenue, through a mix of effectively proven customer acquisition and retention marketing programs.|
|Sulaiman Sanni & Benjamin Lamson │$25,000|
|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|
|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 business.|
|Jamien Sills, Gwendolyn Tucker, Ricky Tucker, Tracy Bryant, Christopher Lee│$25,000|
|Neimaj – 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.|
MillerCoors continues to work with community and economic empowerment organizations across the country, to help facilitate the MUES program. These organizations are called upon to provide technical assistance and resources to business owners, as well as serve as an ambassador for the program. Long-time program partners include, the Atlanta Business League, the Chicago Urban League, the Detroit Urban League, the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Urban League of Greater Dallas and North Central Texas, the National Association of Asian American Professionals, Recycling Black Dollars of Los Angeles, the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Urban League, the Regional Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Latin American Chamber of Commerce and the Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The program has also received the endorsement and support of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
For more information about the winners and the program, visit www.MillerCoorsMUES.com.
MillerCoors brews, markets and sells the MillerCoors portfolio of brands in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Built on a foundation of great beer brands and nearly 300 years of brewing heritage, MillerCoors continues the commitment of its founders to brew the highest quality beers.
MillerCoors is the second-largest beer company in America, capturing nearly 30 percent of U.S. beer sales. Led by two of the best-selling beers in the industry, MillerCoors has a broad portfolio of highly complementary brands across every major industry segment. Miller Lite is the great-tasting beer that established the American light beer category in 1975, and Coors Light is the brand that introduced consumers to Rocky Mountain cold refreshment.
MillerCoors brews premium beers Coors Banquet and Miller Genuine Draft, and economy brands Miller High Life and Keystone Light. The company also offers innovative products such as MGD 64, Miller Chilland Sparks. Through MillerCoors new craft and import company, Tenth and Blake, imports Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Pilsner Urquell, Grolsch and Molson Canadian and features craft brews from the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company, Blue Moon Brewing Company and the Blitz-Weinhard Brewing Company. MillerCoors operates eight major breweries in the U.S., as well as the Leinenkugel’s craft brewery inChippewa Falls, Wisconsin, and two microbreweries, the 10th Street Brewery in Milwaukee and the Blue Moon Brewing Company at Coors Field in Denver.
MillerCoors vision is to create the best beer company in America by driving profitable industry growth. MillerCoors insists on building its brands the right way through brewing quality, responsible marketing and environmental and community impact. MillerCoors is a joint venture of SABMiller plc and Molson Coors Brewing Company.