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Now in its 13th year, our annual Small Business Awards highlight companies or entrepreneurs that are exceeding, excelling, and enlightening the free enterprise space. The winners will be announced at the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo, hosted by General Motors, May 14-17, in Charlotte, North Carolina, and will be featured in an upcoming issue of BE.
EMERGING COMPANY OF THE YEAR NOMINEES
This award recognizes businesses that have poised themselves for growth by carving out a special niche or by adopting creative marketing techniques.
Aten Solutions Inc.
TYPE OF BUSINESS Clinical trials and research
CEO/PRESIDENT Leah Brown
LOCATION Cary, NC
There’s no room for error. Just ask Leah Brown. Her company, Aten Solutions Inc., oversees clinical trials for global biotech and pharmaceutical companies as well as academic and governmental research centers. Launched in 2004, the company, which specializes in clinical research, clinical data management, statistical programming, and biostatistics, is steadily carving out a place in the nearly $650 billion global pharmaceutical market. Revenues in 2007 were $3.2 million. With a current staff of 61 handling various clinical trails, Brown, 44, anticipates 2008 to be an even bigger year for her enterprise, projecting $7 million by year-end. The company’s clients include Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, and Johnson & Johnson, among others.
TYPE OF BUSINESS Automotive manufacturing and engineering
CO-CHAIRMEN/CO-FOUNDERS Michael & Carlton Guthrie
Brothers Carlton and Michael Guthrie are the consummate serial entrepreneurs. The two once headed Trumark Inc., a Lansing, Michigan-based metal stamping company that once ranked among the BE 100S. That company was sold in 2001. Now, the duo is poised to re-enter the list with another company. Spectra L.L.C., a holding company formed in 2002, assembles and modifies motor home chassis, other recreational vehicles, and hybrid and electric vehicles for automakers including Ford and Mercedes-Benz. One operating company performs process engineering (streamlining assembly lines) for clients such as Procter & Gamble. The company reported revenues of roughly $20 million in 2007.
TYPE OF BUSINESS Fragrance and body products
CEO/FOUNDER Richelieu Dennis
PRESIDENT/COO Nyema Tubman
PARTNER/CHIEF BRANDING OFFICER Emmet Dennis
LOCATION Amityville, NY
With more than 50 employees, Richelieu Dennis, Nyema Tubman, and Emmet Dennis have transformed Sundial into the go-to source for culturally authentic organic skin and haircare products, which they create, manufacture, and distribute. With more than 16 years in business, the $10 million enterprise sports a client list that includes some of the biggest names in retail such as Macy’s, J.C. Penney, and Target.
In 2000, they opened their flagship store, Nubian Heritage, in Brooklyn, New York, and later opened a second location in Harlem. Sundial also owns a 50,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Amityville, New York. Remembering their African roots, the entrepreneurs purchase raw materials directly from women cooperatives and farmers in Africa.
BUSINESS INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR NOMINEES
This award recognizes companies that have set trends and broken new ground in a particular industry.
Robin Wilson Home
TYPE OF BUSINESS Renovation, project management and design firm
CEO/PRESIDENT Robin Wilson
LOCATION New York City
Design and lifestyle expert Robin Wilson is right at home within her industry, which is why she had no problem cleaning it up. Wilson