On October 15, 2009, over 225 entrepreneurs, donors and guests braved the rain and helped celebrate two of New York City’s most ingenious and tenacious entrepreneurs at the 6th Annual Charles B. Benenson Entrepreneur Awards. The annual celebration was held at the Alhambra Ballroom in Harlem and featured many notable guests including State Senator Bill Perkins; Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce President, Lloyd Williams; Harlem Community Development Corporation President, Curtis Archer; and honorees, Deborah Williams of Her Game 2 and George Williams of Ujamaa Communications.
The first award of the evening was presented to George Williams – this year’s recipient of the Charles B. Benenson Entrepreneur Award. The coveted award is named for real estate entrepreneur Charles B. Benenson (1913-2004). George has been a member of Project Enterprise (PE) since 2002. After losing his contract with a large corporation, George decided to turn his computer expertise into a stable business. He started consulting with small businesses in Harlem while working other jobs. Through his work with PE, he was able to develop a marketing strategy and began networking to build his client base. George was able to open his doors in 2007 after accessing his first microloan in 2006 to renovate a storefront. Since opening the store, sales have increased exponentially. He has been able to offer expanded services, hire two staff members, and has planned additional space in the store for internet access for the community.
By winning the Charles B. Benenson Entrepreneur Award, George was awarded $20,000 in free radio advertising on urban radio stations, WBLS, WLIB courtesy of WBLS and $5,000 in print advertising in the Harlem News, courtesy of The Harlem News Group, and a $1,000 cash prize from Benenson Capital Partners.
“What I love about Project Enterprise is that I get an instant team for my business,” says Williams. “It’s like going to the gym; you want to work out with like minded people who can support you. And being in Project Enterprise provides that support for entrepreneurs.”
Also honored was entrepreneur Deborah Williams, of Her Game 2. Deborah was honored with the Project Enterprise Inspiration Award, which is given to an entrepreneur that serves as a model of success for Project Enterprise members. Her Game 2 is an active lifestyle apparel brand that also includes productions and model management. Deborah has been a staple in the Harlem community, working with the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce annually to produce the Harlem Week fashion shows. Lloyd Williams, President of the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce presented the award.
Each year, Project Enterprise hosts this gala to honor the diligence and perseverance of one of its members, as well as the life-long success of a well-known entrepreneur in the New York community. Business owners seek PE’s resources at various stages of their business to obtain help in the form of financing, leadership training or business building support.
Photo – Mel Washington – Executive Director of Project Enterprise, George Williams – Owner of Ujamaa Communications and Charles B. Benenson Entrepreneur Award Winner, Deborah Williams – Owner of Her Game 2 and Project Enterprise Inspiration Award Winner, – President of the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, Debra Schatzki – Founder of Project Enterprise, State Senator Bill Perkins.