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College Business Plan Competition Offers Students Great Experience

Standing, from left: Jelony Mann, Marshal Oyama and Antionette Bennett with Dr. Allen J. Singleton

Jelony Mann admits sleep was at a premium as she diligently prepared her submission for the Division of Business’ annual Dr. Allen J. Singleton Business Plan Competition. Following the March 28 competition, the Business Administration major can now relax.

Jelony’s product and presentation – Created by Lonna, Makeup Artistry Service – won first prize, carrying a $1,000 cash prize. It was especially gratifying because the competition was judged by a panel of area business professionals and College personnel.

“I learned so much about what I can improve on and how far I’ve come with my business. I learned a lot about how to properly write a business plan and how to execute one as well. Though I lost a lot of sleep, and spent many hours on this, I found the information needed to run a business very informative, and I’m so happy that I entered,” said Jelony.

Antionette Bennett (a $750 winner) came in second with her Jireh Innovations, Children’s Books Production, while Marshal Oyama’s entry, with his Moyama Enterprise, Palm Oil/Palm Kernel Oil Production came in third place, which includes $500.

The real winners were all the students who entered the competition, according to Dr. Augustine Boakye, Chair of the Division of Business. “A community that promotes entrepreneurship creates jobs and wealth,” he said. “In this respect, the Business Division is tenacious in offering Entrepreneurship as a course for the Business majors and simultaneously mentors many young people through our annual Business Plan Competition.”

This annual event is sponsored by Dr. Allen J. Singleton, a retired Essex professor. All participants gained a wealth of knowledge required in starting or expanding their existing businesses. The students began developing their business plan projects last semester, leading up to the final presentation on March 28.

Antionette’s business by-line is the extremely positive “All Things Are Possible.” The Liberal Arts – Communications major survived a serious accident a few years ago. “God saw fit for me to live,” she said. She utilizes her writing talents to create. “Believe me, if I can do it, anyone of my Queens and/or Kings, can make their vision a possibility,” added Antoinette, who plans to transfer to Kean University after graduation from Essex.  

“Even though I’m a General Science major, I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur, which is why I entered the Business Plan Competition,” said Marshal, who hopes to transfer to the University of Pennsylvania. During the competition, he spent part of the time mulling over how he would explain his product to the audience and judges, knowing that not everyone is familiar with palm oil or palm kernel oil. Fortunately, his explanation that red palm oil is frequently used for cooking and other medical uses, while the Palm Kernel Oil is used in the production of soap, cream, and other skincare products.