And The Nominees Are….

Its time again for the B.E. Small Business Awards. Here's a look at this years candidates.

Aubergine, which earned $4 million in revenues last year. Founded in 1990, the Chicago-based company is the nation’s only African American, female- owned shapewear manufacturer. Green’s line appears in Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom.
Vendemmia Inc.: Four years ago, Todd Alexander, now 29, turned a hobby and passion for wine into a $ 1.2 million wine import and distribution company. Vendemmia (which means “harvest” in Italian) imports from such places as California, France and Italy, and sells to the finest restaurants, hotels and wine stores in Atlanta.

Rising Star Award: This award recognizes individuals, ages 21-35, who exemplify outstanding skills, professionalism and perseverance and have established themselves as future business leaders.
Al Turbo Exchange: Tony Haywood, 33, has been building his Santa Monica business over the last 10 years. A performance automobile shop specializing in building and rebuilding turbochargers and superchargers for cars and trucks, Al maintains national and international clients. The company services about 100 cars per month and had sales of $400,000 last year.

Bardwell Industries: A $1.4 million computer hardware manufacturer, Bardwell Industries was established in 1986. Founder Kenneth Bardwell, 34, uses his extensive background in mechanical, automotive and computer design engineering to develop sophisticated high-tech computer components for major clients, including Chrysler.

Bulldog Entertainment: Through this two-year-old entertainment company, Jimmy “Mac” McNeal, 24, and Joel Sylvain, 25, handle the careers of up- and-coming R&B artists, hip-hop and rap artists. With $750,000 in revenues in 1996, the New York company continues to move upward and onward. The company recently introduced a new division, Bulldog Visions, that will. handle, among other things, book publishing.

Kidpreneur Award: This award recognizes young entrepreneurs under the age of 21 who serve as role models and are committed to advancing the rich tradition of black business achievement.
Classy Productions: Classy Productions, a Washington, D.C.-based catering and event planning business, is owned and operated by 17-year- old Maleka Lenzy. The company, which debuted in 1996, has earned sales of nearly $2,000 catering affairs for the Washington, D.C., Chamber of Commerce, the city’s Board of Trade and other professional organizations.

Little Miss Muffin: While most 10-year-olds are out playing in the park, Jessica Malone is baking and delivering muffins. As the owner of Little Miss Muffin, Jessica makes more than 40 different kinds of muffins for family, friends and businesses in her hometown of Lorain, Ohio. Her company made sales of $900 last year.

Umoja Children Inc.: Owned by black youths ages 9-17, Umoja is a Baltimore-based greeting card company that specializes in creating Christmas and Kwanzaa cards. Working in virtually every area of the business, from writing card inscriptions to checking inventory to handling the books, these youths have built a business that saw $160,000 in sales in 1996. The cards are distributed in about 20 cities.
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