Press Release: B.U.O.Y. Winners

Monroeville Main Street (MMS) in partnership with the Alabama Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and Main Street Alabama (MSA) announced the winners of the inaugural B.U.O.Y. Business Pitch Competition. Young entrepreneurs completed a 7-month program, developed viable business plans, and then pitched their businesses for funding. $3,500 in prizes were awarded thanks to United Bank’s Charitable Foundation.  Some of the participants got certifications, one opened their business in April, one bought property, and all learned valuable information from local professionals. The top prize was awarded to Laura Harris for Lashes by Laura and the second prize went to MacKeyshia Booker for Keyshia’s Salon. Additionally, the judges liked all of the entrepreneur’s pitches and business plans so much that everyone who completed the program and participated in the competition received funding for products and services to help launch their business.  “We are grateful for the financial support we received from the City of Monroeville, M.W. Smith, Jr. Trust, AL TOM RC&D, and United Bank’s Charitable Trust,” said MMS Executive Director Anne Marie Bryan. “Having partners who value entrepreneurship and understand the importance of small businesses is vital to the success of this program and our community.”


Alabama SBDC Business Advisor, Yolanda Johnson, MSA President and State Coordinator, Mary Wirth & Assistant State Coordinator, Trish Black, along with United Bank CDFI Coordinator, Laura Puchner, collaborated with Bryan to create a business program for young entrepreneurs in rural communities. B.U.O.Y: Business Understanding & Ownership for Youth is a free program which promotes responsible and informed business ownership for entrepreneurs between 16 and 30 years of age. “The piloted BUOY program is the epitome of the Alabama SBDC services, commitment to rural Alabama,” stated Johnson. MMS is looking forward to next years’ class which will begin in September. The participants will meet as a group on the 2nd Monday evening of each month from September to April plus they will receive individual business counseling sessions throughout the process. Wirth said “We are excited to see the support system for these young entrepreneurs grow!” Information on the 22/23 BUOY program will be available on the Monroeville Main Street website in later this month.