June 6, 2018 - 12:57 PM EDT
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WBENC Sets the Stage in Detroit for the 2018 Student Entrepreneur Program and Pitch Competition

WASHINGTON, June 6, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) is proud to announce the 22 student entrepreneurs selected for the prestigious 2018 WBENC Student Entrepreneur Program (SEP) at WBENC's National Conference & Business Fair in Detroit, Michigan from June 19-21.

WBENC Student Entrepreneur Program

SEP is a premier startup program for collegiate female founders. The program fosters growth for the next generation of women-owned businesses through a tailored entrepreneurial curriculum and mentoring from certified women-owned businesses and Fortune 1000 Corporate Members including Adient, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Ericsson, JCPenney, Johnson & Johnson, Macy's, Medtronic, Merck & Co., Inc., Office Depot, PepsiCo., Procter & Gamble, Pfizer Inc, Shell Oil Company, Toyota, USPS, and Walmart. The program is specially supported by pitch competition sponsor EY and title sponsors FedEx and Allstate Insurance Co.

Since its inception in 2008, nearly 200 students from 64 colleges and universities across the country have graduated from SEP. This year, we are also welcoming five SEP alumnae from prior years as mentors to the current participants throughout the week and beyond. This exciting addition is made possible by our Alumni Champion Sponsor, Shell Oil Company.

As part of the program, WBENC will provide access to capital through the EY SEP Pitch Competition where students compete for $20,000 in seed capital ($10,000 First Place, $6,000 Second Place, and $4,000 Third Place). The Pitch Competition will be held on Thursday, June 21 from 3-5:30 p.m. at the WBENC National Conference & Business Fair in Detroit, Michigan.

This year's cohort includes two Master's students, two PhD students, and 18 undergraduate students from 22 universities majoring in biomedical sciences, engineering, computer science, business and arts. Many of these NextGen women entrepreneurs already have successful businesses and though SEP and the WBENC Network we can't wait to see how far they can go!


  • Audrey Awasom, University of Maryland, College Park, Noble Uprising
  • Danya Sherman, George Washington University, KnoNap
  • Elyse Arvella Penn, Old Dominion University, Elyse Arvella LLC
  • Fa'lon Thomas, North Carolina A&T University, Onyx Ocean Technologies
  • Hannah Kraebel, Lipscomb University, Kapped
  • Jenny Leung, UCLA, BellaNove
  • Kate Meacham, Mount Holyoke College, Duo Display
  • Khushbu Madhiwala, North Carolina State University, Sudsy
  • Lauren Cornell, UT Health Science Center, NovoThelium
  • Lisa Guerrera, Manhattan College, Skinno
  • Manyaqi Wang, Boston College, Taest Collective
  • Nicole Garcia, UC Davis, Femikit
  • Niki Birkner Stanford University, Fresquiticos
  • Nneka Brown-Massey, Hawai'i Pacific University, Innovative Supplies Worldwide, Inc.
  • Rontier Whitfield, Mississippi State University, Esteemed Juices
  • Rose Pidgorodetska, Eastern Kentucky University, Candles
  • Safia Abdalla, Northwestern University, Zarf
  • Sara Du, University of California, Irvine, Sweetbud
  • Sonya Liu, University of Southern California, MedMind
  • Stephanie Long, University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, The Cake Occasion
  • Taylor Hicks, East Carolina University, Simple & Sentimental
  • Whitney Jones, Columbia College, Liv

To learn more about the WBENC Student Entrepreneur Program, visit www.wbenc.org/SEP.

WBENC is the largest third-party certifier of businesses owned, controlled, and operated by women in the United States. WBENC partners with 14 Regional Partner Organizations (RPOs) to provide its world-class standard of certification to women-owned businesses throughout the country. WBENC is also the nation's leading advocate of women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs. Throughout the year, WBENC provides business development opportunities for member corporations, government agencies and more than 14,000 certified women-owned businesses at events and other forums. Learn more at www.wbenc.org.

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SOURCE Women's Business Enterprise National Council

Source: PR Newswire (June 6, 2018 - 12:57 PM EDT)

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