The winners were honored and received a $5,000 check during the Entrepreneurs Institute Luncheon at the annual National Black MBA Association Conference in Washington, D.C. on September 17. The winners were selected from a nationwide pool and were evaluated based on their companies’ business performance, innovation, growth and personal service to the community. National Black MBA members who nominated the winners received a $1,500 award.
Ashtae Products, Inc. is a multicultural hair care manufacturer with distribution throughout the U.S., Canada and Caribbean. Owners Michael and Ramona Woods started the International Hair & Business Symposium, bringing together approximately 500 professional cosmetologists from across the nation, and have also written a book, Against the Grain, about their perseverance. The Woods are dedicated to serving their community, sponsoring projects including financial literacy and business planning seminars, and the Jessa-Maria Foundation, a non-profit organization helping underprivileged children. They recently started a minority business incubator at their Greensboro, North Carolina headquarters. Ashtae Products, Inc. was nominated by JeVon Wilson, the vice president of operations for the Piedmont Triad chapter of the National Black MBA Association.
Vector Communications Corporation is an award-winning public engagement and communications consulting firm specializing in meeting planning and facilitation, strategic planning and collaborative development, media relations, event planning and video production. Vector celebrated its 10-year anniversary in June and plans to use their award proceeds as seed money for a new community initiative. Vector Communications Corporation was nominated by Paula Hughes, a company employee and the correspondence secretary of the St. Louis chapter of the National Black MBA Association.
“The award recipients reflect the strength and success of African American-owned businesses in America,” said Brenda Ross-Dulan, regional president of the Wells Fargo Los Angeles Crossroads Division and national spokesperson for Wells Fargo’s African American Business Services program. “Vector Communications Corporation and Ashtae Products, Inc. illustrate the importance of dedication, commitment and perseverance in achieving business success."
“We are delighted to honor two recipients this year,” said NBMBAA President & CEO Barbara L. Thomas. “Our award winners are solid examples of how entrepreneurs can turn interests and proficiencies into enterprise. It is even more laudable that both of these small businesses have found time and resources to introduce and nurture endeavors that serve and strengthen their communities, making them true role models."
Wells Fargo’s African American Business Services program provides outreach and education to African American business owners through resources including workshops, seminars, tradeshows, and regional and national alliances. Wells Fargo works closely with several national organizations including the National Black Chamber of Commerce, 100 Black Men of America and the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA). In 2008, Wells Fargo joined with the National Black MBA to launch the Entrepreneurial Institute, a forum that supports both aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs in accessing the resources they need to grow and succeed financially.
About National Black MBA Association
Established in 1970, the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) is dedicated to creating partnerships that result in increased intellectual and economic wealth in the black community through its five channels of engagement: education, career, leadership, entrepreneurship and lifestyle. With 40+ chapters, a membership base of more than 8,000, and over 400 corporate partners, the NBMBAA provides access to its constituents through services such as the Annual NBMBAA Conference, Local Empowerment Initiatives and other programs. The NBMBAA Conference is the nation’s largest professional African American exposition of its kind. To learn more about the NBMBAA, visit http://www.nbmbaa.org.
About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company is a diversified financial services company with $609 billion in assets, providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance through almost 6,000 stores and the internet (wellsfargo.com) across North America and elsewhere internationally. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. is the only bank in the U.S., and one of only two banks worldwide, to have the highest possible credit rating from both Moody’s Investors Service, “Aaa,” and Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, “AAA.”
Wells Fargo is America’s #1 small business lender in total dollar volume according to the most recent Community Reinvestment Act data (2006) and the #1 SBA 7a bank lender in total dollar volume. Wells Fargo has loaned more than $36 billion to women, African American, Latino and Asian business owners since 1995. For more information, speak with a Wells Fargo banker, visit wellsfargo.com/biz or call the National Business Banking Center at 1-800-CALL-WELLS.