Two regional businesses were honored recently by Frostburg State University’s Trident Initiative for their entrepreneurial efforts. Matthew Brewer of Bennett, Brewer and Associates was awarded the 2010 Model Entrepreneur of the Year award, and Eskat Asfaw of College Shuttle won the 2010 Young Entrepreneur of the Year award. The awards were presented at FSU’s Trident Initiative’s Annual Conference.
FSU students were also honored for their entrepreneurial ideas as part of their class, Business Plan Development. Four student teams participated. Taking first place was senior Evan Kullberg, owner of Malino’s Pizza on Main Street. Second place was awarded to Joelle Rodriguez, while Gregory Rhoades placed third. An appreciation prize of $50 was awarded to Jeffrey Katz.
The Model Entrepreneur of the Year award identifies a successful entrepreneur in the region who has been in operation for at least 10 years, has made significant contribution to the region’s economy through job creation, has a record of mentoring newer entrepreneurs within the region and has an acknowledged record of social and philanthropic giving to the community.
Bennett, Brewer & Associates (BBA), located in downtown Frostburg, was incorporated in 1995. Since the company began, it has steadily expanded. BBA provides professional services including consulting, surveying and civil, environmental and mechanical engineering services to both the public and private sectors. Some of BBA’s recent projects in Frostburg include Sand Spring Run Subdivision Phase 2 and Bobcat Court. A few years ago, when the City of Frostburg was undertaking the application process to become a State of Maryland-designated Arts and Entertainment District, BBA donated countless hours to ensure that the application resulted in a successful outcome. BBA once again stepped up when it was time to cultivate a business venture focusing on Appalachian arts and culture; Mountain City Traditional Arts is located in the first floor retail space of BBA’s location. BBA was awarded the Allegany Arts Council’s 2010 Community Partner Award.
The Young Entrepreneur of the Year award honors a successful young (under age 35) entrepreneur in the region who has been in operation for at least three years, has contributed to the region’s economy through job creation and has shown a willingness to mentor younger entrepreneurs and contribute to the community.
College Shuttle, LLC, seeks to fill the gap in the transportation needs of students, which improves their university study experience. The concept of College Shuttle occurred to Asfaw when he was a junior at Frostburg State University while participating in the activities of the Entrepreneurship Club. Spurred by his discussions with his classmates and professors, the results of a research he conducted on campus and the recognitions he received at the Trident Initiative Elevator Pitch Competition in 2008 and at the CEO conference in Chicago, he decided to implement his idea to see if it could indeed meet some of the transportation needs of his fellow students. Just under three years old, College Shuttle provides shuttle services between the campus and students’ homes. The company also assists students in transporting and storing their personal effects, especially at the beginning and end of the school year. College Shuttle has transported over 600 students thus far, and the demand for such service is growing rapidly. Students are able to catch the shuttle buses just outside their residence halls. College Shuttle has already made contributions to the transportation services of the region. It is working with organizations on campus, has provided job opportunities to 15 students by involving them in the administrative and vehicle operating tasks as well as helped some economically underprivileged students to make college tours to Frostburg State University and to other colleges. Recently profiled in the popular online entrepreneurial journal, the Startupist, College Shuttle is gaining some serious attention within the community.
The Trident Initiative is a comprehensive entrepreneurship-based education program at Frostburg State University supported in part through a grant from the Chicago-based Coleman Foundation, which supports entrepreneur education programs throughout the United States. For more information about the Trident Initiative, contact Dr. Sudhir Singh at 301-687-4093 or e-mail email@example.com