Black Collegians Award Winners of the Urban Business Academy

The Black Collegians Club at Santa Monica College had the conclusion of its Urban Business Academy Business Plan Competition Thursday, Nov. 6. The Black Collegians is an active club on campus, geared towards African Americans who want to learn about African American history, and transfer to historically African American colleges.

Over a period of six weeks, a group of students went through a writing workshop where they learned how to write a professional business plan. When asked about the program, the participants were very enthusiastic and repeatedly thanked the program administrators for the information learned during the workshop. One of the 7 finalists of the program, Lajuana Kiki Brewer said, " The program was very informative. The books that they give helped me learn a great amount about running a business and writing a business plan." Lajuana, a small business owner herself, said it has helped her run her urban clothing store more efficiently and develop a better marketing plan for it.

The Black Collegians partnered with the Small Business Development Center to make this program possible. There were seven finalists and two top prize winners.

The competition was for who could write the better business plan. The program began with a limited number of spaces, and as the workshop progressed fewer students were in the program, until the end, when only seven were left.

A panel of five judges was chosen to help select a winner. Lisa Laney, a judge and program administrator mentioned," Working with the youth is our future. This is a program directed at college students to help them out with their ideas. It's a great program."

Nov. 6 was the day of the ceremony and announcement of the competition winners. As the meeting progressed the look of eagerness on student's faces began to grow.

The students had worked hard and were ready to reap the rewards. The seven finalists were Heart Hayes, Joshua Wayne Moore, Ashli Townsend, Rasheda Bailey, Lajuana Brewer, Brandon Adams-Johnson, and Alara Mills. Alara Mills and Brandon-Adams Johnson were both top prize winners.

When asked about the program and his business plan idea, Brandon Adams Johnson responded, "There was a lot of information given through the program. I learned a great amount about financing, marketing, and promotions.

"There were six classes once a week. My business plan was for an Imaging Development Company for artists, models, dancers, and actors. Run by myself, the goal is to expand. I want to start it soon and see the business grow."

Sherri Bradford, a program administrator and judge, thanked the Small Business Development center at Santa Monica College.