From left: Dazhai Brown, Dr. Allen J. Singleton, Peta-Gay Harper and Victor Olaniyi

The way Victor Olaniyi approached this year’s Essex County College Allen J. Singleton Business Plan Competition was to prepare a presentation based on with what he was most familiar. So by working off a personal business idea he was already developing, the finance major from Newark was able to win first place in the recent competition.


“The competition gave me a lot of great exposure and required me to tackle a lot of different areas within my business,” said the budding entrepreneur. His project was Trinity Brand LLC, a men’s clothing store.  He has been developing this project as an online store, specializing in men’s formal wear, and hopes to formally launch his endeavor sometime this summer. Victor hopes to transfer to Kean University upon earning his Essex degree and major in finance/global business.


In second place was Dazhai Brown, a Business Administration major whose entry was Dazhai Shearz & Co., which provides beauty products and services. “The competition was an amazing experience; it was inspiring to be around like minded individuals and business professionals, and to hear the different ideas of the other competitors,” said Dazhai. She said she also enjoyed the feedback provided by the judges which will help her in furthering her evolving business plan. Overall, she called the experience “surreal.”


Peta-Gay Harper, an Education major, came in third with her P & S Virtual Beauty Bar.  “My idea was inspired by an Instagram account I follow where there were similarities on the ‘beauty service on wheels’ aspect,” said Peta-Gay as she developed other facets of the business plan which she tailored to her student lifestyle.


The competition, in its second year at the College, was judged by a panel of area business professionals. This annual event is sponsored by Dr. Allen J. Singleton, a retired Essex professor.  The top three winners received cash awards while also gaining a wealth of knowledge required in starting or expanding their businesses. The students began developing their business plan projects last semester, leading up to the final presentation in March.


In an interview, Chair of Business Division Dr. Augustine Boakye assured the College community that the Division is determined to continue the Business Plan competition and provide similar opportunities that will help students to achieve their dreams.



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