SBDC Gives Entrepreneurship Of The Year Awards

Second from left, Hector Alverio, The Hotspot Cafe owner, is pictured here with Small Business Development Center officials and Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist. Alverio received one of SBDC’s Entrepreneurs of the Year Awards. Submitted photo

The global pandemic has had a lasting impact on the small business community and many businesses do not know if they will remain open.

However, the Small Business Development Center at Jamestown Community College recognizes the tremendous efforts of the local small business community to continue successful operations of their businesses in these unprecedented times. In an effort to recognize our resilient business community, the SBDC has created the first ever Entrepreneurs of the Year Awards for our region. The SBDC is pleased to recognize the following small business owners in Chautauqua and Cattaraugus County as Entrepreneurs of the Year:

¯ Hector Alverio, The Hotspot Cafe

¯ Jackie Francis, Ashville General Store

¯ Jessica Gilbert, Ava Grace Eco Fashion

¯ Shannon Whipple, Custom Cuts

These individuals were selected for their successes owning small businesses in our region and have been nominated to receive awards at the state level as well. Each has overcome obstacles and contributed to the economic growth of the area as female and minority business owners.

The SBDC is honored to work with the small business community in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Allegany County. According to SBDC Director, Courtney Curatolo, “These individuals have not only inspired the SBDC team of advisors, but also inspire others interested in starting their own small business in our region. It has been very fulfilling watching each of these individuals grow their businesses and see success in a period of economic uncertainty.”

As a minority entrepreneur, Hector Alverio opened his cafe on Valentine’s Day 2020, just before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the shut down he implemented take out service and not only survived, but thrived.

Jackie Francis opened The Ashville General Store in 1991 and it quickly became a place for locals and tourists to come and mingle over food made from scratch. It has been open for 30 years not only due to good business decisions, but also by operating with a greater purpose in mind-the idea of community. This award is being given by the SBDC at Jamestown Community College and the SBDC at Binghamton University.

Jessica Gilbert is a female entrepreneur that was able to pivot during the pandemic to create a successful online presence, purchased a new building in Ellicottville for her store, started to produce her own brand, and has seen substantial growth.

Shannon Whipple is another female entrepreneur that has resilience and determination. Despite personal and professional struggles caused by the pandemic, she has demonstrated a strong will, optimism and creativity to make her business successful.

See SBDC, Page C3


From Page C1

Holger Ekanger, VP for Workforce Readiness at JCC, also said, “JCC is focused on working with entrepreneurs in the region and excited to honor these individuals through the SBDC. Each of these entrepreneurs is a role model for others to start small businesses and we hope to work with those individuals to ensure they are successful. In fact, we are working on developing an entrepreneurship certification over the next 10 months and hope to provide the training needed for diverse industries.”

For more information, contact 338-1024 or visit sbdcjcc.org.


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