Blazing New Trails

BLACK ENTERPRISE's Small Business Award recipients continue to break new ground in entrepreneurship

backgrounds in genetics, mathematics, physics, and computer science. Under Hill’s vision for the company and strategic planning, GNS has received $4 million in federal grants: $2 million from the Department of Energy for computer modeling and $2 million from the National Institutes of Health for heart research.

GNS takes chemical and biological information and turns it into computer models of human cells and organs. This method provides an efficient way to understand how certain drugs will affect patients. The multimillion-dollar company is sensitive to the high costs of medication. “Our technique of developing drugs is efficient, and it could potentially bring cheaper drugs to the market so that these drugs could reach across economic brackets,” says Hill, who was also named to BE’S Hot List (December 2003).

The promising businessman wants GNS to continue to impact breakthrough therapies for cancer, heart disease, and inflammation. “Our goal is to attract the best and the brightest in the field,” Hill says. “We want to double in size over the next year and have a dramatic effect on new drugs for cancer.”

BUSINESS INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR AWARD
IRIS RIDEAU
Iris Rideau, president and CEO of Rideau Vineyard in Santa Barbara, California, effortlessly combines delectable grapes from the Rhone Valley of France with the savory taste of Creole cuisine in her winery. Rideau’s strong business sense earned her this year’s BE Business Innovator of the Year Award. This award honors companies that have set trends and broken new ground in a particular industry.

Rideau Vineyard, established in 1997, sits on 25 acres of land and houses 11 premium wines. In 2003, the company brought in $1.2 million, and Rideau projects a promising sum of $1.9 million next year. The ambitious business owner ensures that Rideau will stand strong in the competitive market. Her philosophy says that wine is all encompassing. “People need to have a total experience when it comes to wine tasting. That means including food pairing,” says Rideau. Occasionally, she adds a personal touch by preparing dishes such as gumbo, jambalaya, red beans and rice, and crawfish étouffée in her country-style kitchen.

Rideau is proud of her success but isn’t making plans to mass-produce. “What creates growth are the people who come to the tasting room and want to be part of our seller club.” Viognier is one of Rideau’s favorite wines, which members may receive every other month. Viognier is made from white grapes, and its tropical essence comes through in a delicious pineapple and apricot flavor.

Rideau instructs entrepreneurs to have a five-year business plan (seven years for the winery business) and five years’ worth of cash flow before starting a business. Above all, Rideau admits that her tenacity and willingness to work hard and stay focused make her successful.

TEENPRENEUR AWARD
CAMILLE WINBUSH
Camille Winbush turned her appetite for a sweet-flavored frozen treat into a profitable business that has earned her the BE Teenpreneur Award. This award identifies entrepreneurs under the age of 18 who are role models and are committed to advancing the rich tradition of black

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