for his business savvy. Duties at TechnikOne are now split between the two partners: McNeese handles the creative aspect of the agency, while Geiger concentrates on business development.
With clients such as Honda, New Line Cinema, IBM, and Universal Music Group, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based TechnikOne is one of the few technology-related firms to retain its original client list.
IBM selected TechnikOne, along with three other firms, to provide Website development. “We’re in the midst of doing a pretty big usability project.” says Geiger. “Basically, we’re going to be the guys to write the blueprint.” Geiger estimates the deal will add some 25%–30% to the company’s bottom line.
TYPE OF BUSINESS Film and video production
PRESIDENT Melinda Emerson
LOCATION Philadelphia, PA
Founded by 30-year-old Melinda Emerson in 1999, Quintessence provides promotional and production services, including script writing, film directing and editing, graphic design, and interactive media development (which includes Web design, animation, and multimedia presentations).
Boasting clients such as Verizon, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Citizens Bank, Comcast Corp., and the NBA Players Association, the six-person staff grossed $299,000 in 2002, $187,000 in 2001, and hopes to break the $1 million mark in 2003. “A lot of that has been built by word-of-mouth referrals and networking,” says Emerson. “I really started networking through the national minority supplier development council. I [mailed] all the corporate members information about my company and [called] them and [reminded] them who I was.”
Emerson plans to go into commercial film production, putting the company’s Small Business Association 8(a) and Hub Zone certifications to good use. “Now we’re going back to our corporate friends and telling them about our new status because a lot of these corporations that do business with the federal government have requirements they have to meet.”
This award recognizes entrepreneurs under the age of 18 who serve as role models and are committedto advancing the rich tradition of black business achievement.
TYPE OF BUSINESS Musical instruction
INSTRUCTOR Monique Alleyne
LOCATION Washington, D.C.
Monique Alleyne started taking piano lessons when she was six years old. Now 17, she is teaching others to play. Founded in 2001, the Washington, D.C.-based studio has six students, ages 5 to 60, and generated $8,600 in revenues in 2002. In addition to piano lessons, Alleyne teaches music theory, music history, and ear training.
“I like to teach and I like children. It’s a good way to make money and I get to teach from my own home,” she says. “And it’s an opportunity to share my talent and the gift of music with others.”
To promote her business, Alleyne uses the word-of-mouth approach as well as placing ads. “Half of the people I teach found out about my studio through my mother and other friends,” she explains. “The other half found out because of my various advertisements at churches, schools, and recreational facilities.”
Alleyne, a junior at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C., where she undergoes intense training in piano, is hoping to attend Florida A&M University and ultimately receive a doctor of music education degree. “I would like