Cream of the crop – African American entrepreneurs – Statistical Data Included

Paula McCoy-Pinderhughes

They’ve emerged as the innovative stars in their class

The theme of the sixth annual Black Enterprise/Bank of America Entrepreneurs Conference is “Leading in a Changing Economy: Innovation, Transformation, Growth.” And the candidates for the BLACK ENTERPRISE Small Business Awards exemplify that and much more.

The conference will host more than 1,200 African American executives and entrepreneurs from across the country, May 15-20, at the charming Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. Attendees will have the opportunity to network and participate in spirited sessions and informative workshops.

This year’s topics range from Financing Your Business, Smart Management Techniques, Family-owned Businesses, Mergers, Acquisitions and Alliances, Franchising, Creating Business Networks, and E-commerce to motivational sessions that will get you ready to face your daily challenges.

Additional conference highlights include The Exchange: Business-to-Business Expo, the Kidpreneurs[TM] Konference, the Town Hall Meeting and the BE Entrepreneurs Awards Gala Dinner, celebrating the accomplishments of African American small business entrepreneurs and the achievements of the nation’s largest black-owned businesses.

The BE Small Business Awards categories include: BE Emerging Company of the Year, BE Business Innovator of the Year, the BE Rising Star Award, and the BE Kidpreneurs Award.

–Paula McCoy-Pinderhughes and Roger Barnes

To receive information about the 2001 Black Enterprise/Bank of America Entrepreneurs Conference or to receive a nomination form, call our conference department at 800-543-6786 or log on to


This award recognizes businesses that are poised for future growth because they’ve carved out a niche for themselves and have adopted creative marketing techniques.

* A.L.D. ENTERPRISES L.L.C.: David Mosley, CEO, and David Wutoh, COO, are the tag team of success. As founders (along with Anthony Wutoh, Ph.D., and Dr. Leon Wright) of A.L.D. Enterprises (, a licensed pharmaceutical wholesaler, the two have built a company that supplies one-stop shopping for pharmacies and hospitals.

Founded in 1996 with a $4,000 investment, today the 20-employee company uses outside sales representatives to market its services to a nationwide clientele and boost its year 2000 sales to a projected $5.7 million.

Key to the company’s success is the complementary combination of Mosley’s experience as a financial services professional with Wutoh’s expertise in the pharmaceutical industry.

* OAKLAND CONSULTING GROUP: Cedric E. Nash, president of the Oakland Consulting Group (OCG) (, has turned finding the right man for the job into success for his clients and himself. In 1997 he launched OCG, leveraging his former co-workers, clients, and business associates into $3.6 million in revenue by 1998. Today, Nash counts Lucent Technologies, Panasonic, Deloitte & Touche, and Citigroup among his clients. OCG sales for 2000 are projected to reach $5 million.

* AEROTECH SERVICES: Marc Cormier, CEO of AeroTech Services, makes people feel secure. His company provides security and guard services to commercial property owners, utility companies, and airports. The 7-year-old company employs more than 350 people and has projected revenues of $8 million in 2000.

Cormier is currently expanding his company’s services to provide legal investigative work for lawyers. Further down the road, he plans to offer clients security devices such as surveillance cameras.


This award honors companies that have successfully set trends and broken new ground in a particular industry.

* KNC SOFTWARE: Marvin Butler founded KNC Software (www.knc in 1996 as an outlet providing software and content for educational purposes to roughly 15,000 schools and districts nationwide. Butler used $40,000 in personal savings and investments as start-up capital to build the company. Today, KNC Software employs about 60 people and has projected revenues of $3 million for the year 2000.

* HOLMAN TECNNOLOGY INC.: Brothers John and Ken Dixon formed Holman Technology Inc. ( in 1996 to provide innovative, turn-key holographic production systems to businesses. Holograms are three-dimensional pictures that appear to change shape as the viewer’s perspective changes. With more than four years in business and a reputation for renovation and technical expertise, the brothers count the Royal Canadian Mint, K-Laser, and American Banknote among their more than 20 clients. The company has now grown into a seven-person family affair with posted revenues of $2.5 million in 1999 and $3.2 million in 2000.

* MANZI METALS: Barbara Manzi, CEO, runs the only black female-owned metals distribution company in the U.S. Founded in 1993 with an investment of $45,000 from Manzi’s personal savings, Manzi Metals Inc. ( has since found a niche providing aluminum, stainless steel, copper, brass, bronze, titanium, and high-temperature metals to giants like Lockheed Martin Corp., Boeing Defense and Space Group, and the U.S. Department of Defense. Manzi has successfully turned nine years of experience and knowledge into a profitable business that netted $4.3 million in revenue in 2000.


This award recognizes individuals, aged 21 to 35, whose outstanding skills, professionalism, and perseverance have shown them to be future business leaders.

* VITAL MARKETING GROUP: As CEO of Vital Marketing Group (, a 2-year-old advertising, marketing, and public relations firm staffed only by 20-somethings, Joseph Anthony 27, already counts Nike, Universal Records, Tommy Hilfiger, Posner Cosmetics, and Adidas among his clients. Billing over $3 million in revenues last year, VMG stands to become a rising star worth watching.

* TOTAL INFORMATION SOURCE: Currently, more than 1,000 companies rely on Mark Moore’s Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Total Information Source ( to provide criminal background checks on job applicants.

Launched in 1991 as a company geared toward providing North Carolina’s landlords with up-to-date eviction information on prospective tenants, Moore’s company expanded, offering businesses full background searches more quickly and efficiently than other search companies in the state. The reward for such efficiency is huge clients, among them the state division of Time Warner Cable, and revenues of approximately $2.5 million last year, a 66% increase from its 1999 revenues of $1.5 million.

* LOST LINK ENTERPRISES: In 1993, Muhammed Akil founded Lost Link Enterprises (, a lecture management agency whose market is more than 5,500 colleges and universities and that counts such renowned speakers as Tony Brown, Tavis Smiley, Dick Gregory, Ivan Van Sertima, Sister Souljah, and Sonia Sanchez among its clients. Last year, Lost Link’s revenues reached almost $400,000.


This award recognizes entrepreneurs under the age of 18 who serve as role models and are committed to advancing the rich tradition of black business achievement.

* SANDOTEWEBSITES.COM: Eighteen-year-old Chris Diggs, president and CEO of, not only designs Websites, his company goes the extra mile by assisting clients in developing a Web presence and providing marketing and publicity services.

Established in 1997, generated $17,000 in its first two years. Last year, however, the company grossed $65,000 and has provided services to more than 140 clients to date.

* A&A CREATIVE DESIGNS: Ashley Jones, founder of A&A Creative Designs, provides Houston businesses with customized office tools, creating unique notepads, business cards, programs, and brochures for her clients. Starting the company three years ago with $3,000, she turned this into $8,000 in revenue her first year. Last year, Ashley had $15,000 in revenues after reinvesting a portion of her earnings in her business. Ashley plans to expand her venture with a Website.

* BUTTONS 4 U: Alyssa Watson, 12 years old and CEO of Buttons 4 U, designs and prints customized buttons. The sixth grader has been doing this for five years and can now produce up to 2,000 buttons per week. Over the past three years, her annual revenues have increased by 500%, growing from $300 in 1998 to $1,500 last year. Alyssa attributes her success to a good-quality product and dependable customer service. She also notes that most of the clients for her home-based business are repeat customers, with new customers contacting her through word-of-mouth advertising.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group

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