At the Top of Their Game

Competent and creative, these entrepreneurs are small businesses' elite

international market; it now operates equally in the domestic and international markets. ITS is also the official courier of the American Black Film Festival.

Gene Network Services
TYPE OF BUSINESS Medical technology
PRESIDENT/CEO Colin Hill
LOCATION Ithaca, NY
Colin Hill has created a place for medicine and technology to meet. His company, Gene Network Services, takes biological and chemical data and turns it into computer models of human cells and organs. Those models help pharmaceutical companies design and create drugs, understand and forecast how their drugs will work, and help get the drugs to the market faster and less expensively. GNS has created the world’s largest computer model of a human cancer cell.
Founded in 2000, GNS is a group of 25 highly skilled molecular biologists, mathematicians, computer scientists, chemical engineers, and physicists. This multimillion-dollar company has already been granted some $4 million in federal grants in 2004; $2 million from the National Institutes of Health for heart research and $2 million from the Department of Energy for computer modeling.
As the 31-year-old CEO of the company, Hill is in charge of the strategic direction and vision of the company, and the direction he’s looking is up. GNS has developed, and is continually developing, the “new science that will forever change our understanding of nature and our place in it,” says Hill. “This is the new technology that will revolutionize pharmaceutical drug discovery.”

TEENPRENEUR AWARD NOMINEES
This award recognizes entrepreneurs under the age of 18 who serve as role models and are committed to advancing the rich tradition of black business achievement.

Lexica Interior Design
TYPE OF BUSINESS Interior design
PRINCIPALS Alexis Tiara Hudson
LOCATION Bedford Hills, NY
While many teenagers are constantly being told to clean up their rooms, 17-year-old Alexis Hudson is cleaning up other peoples’ rooms as the CEO of Lexica Interior Design. Hudson often consults with her clients before she transforms an uninspired room into a welcome retreat or a cluttered area into a functional, fully operational space. But her clients also trust her expertise and let her work alone.
Hudson has a natural eye for space and style and used to watch interior decorating programs on television. To supplement her natural ability, she took an internship at an architectural firm, where she learned the technical side of designing, including building codes and other parameters. Hudson also had to learn the proper industry guidelines and criteria for how to charge for her services. She only saw a couple of hundred dollars in revenues last year because she’s currently in the midst of a number of projects. Some of these projects she’s doing pro bono, just for the experience and exposure.
Hudson’s clientele is growing and she’s begun contracting out some of the painting and carpentry required for her work. She’s a full-time college student and is working on broadening her client base. She’s also investigating additional entrepreneurial endeavors.
MAY 2004 : BLACK ENTERPRISE : blackenterprise.com
In selecting the award nominees, a committee of BLACK ENTERPRISE editors and conference coordinators pored over hundreds of business plans and nomination forms. Once preliminary nominees were selected, BE’s research

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