SBDC awards entrepreneurship of the year award | News, Sports, Jobs



Second from left, Hotspot Cafe owner Hector Alverio is pictured here with heads of the Small Business Development Center and Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist. Alverio received one of the SBDC Entrepreneur of the Year awards. Submitted photo

The global pandemic has had a lasting impact on the small business community and many businesses are unsure if they will stay open.

However, the Small Business Development Center at Jamestown Community College recognizes the tremendous efforts of the local small business community to continue the successful operations of their businesses in these unprecedented times. In an effort to recognize our resilient business community, SBDC created the inaugural Entrepreneur of the Year Awards for our region. The SBDC is pleased to recognize the following small business owners from Chautauqua and Cattaraugus County as Entrepreneur of the Year:

Hector Alverio, The Hotspot Café

¯ Jackie Francis, Ashville General Store

Jessica Gilbert, Ava Grace Eco Fashion

¯ Shannon Whipple, custom cuts

These individuals were selected for their success as small business owners in our region and were also nominated for state level awards. Each overcame obstacles and contributed to the region’s economic growth as women and minority business owners.

SBDC is honored to work with the small business community of Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany County. According to SBDC director Courtney Curatolo, “These people have not only inspired the SBDC advisory team, but also others interested in starting their own small businesses in our region. It has been very gratifying to see each of these people grow their businesses and see success in a time of economic uncertainty. “

As a minority entrepreneur, Hector Alverio opened his café on Valentine’s Day 2020, just before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the shutdown, he set up a take-out service and not only survived, but thrived.

Jackie Francis opened the Ashville General Store in 1991 and it quickly became a place for locals and tourists to come and mingle around food made from scratch. It has been open for 30 years not only because of good business decisions, but also because of a more ambitious goal: the idea of ​​community. This award is presented by the SBDC at Jamestown Community College and the SBDC at Binghamton University.

Jessica Gilbert is a female entrepreneur who was able to pivot during the pandemic to create a successful online presence, purchased a new building in Ellicottville for her store, began producing her own brand, and has experienced substantial growth.

Shannon Whipple is another female entrepreneur who shows resilience and determination. Despite the personal and professional difficulties caused by the pandemic, she has shown a strong will, optimism and creativity to make her business prosper.

See SBDC, page C3


From page C1

Holger Ekanger, vice president of workforce preparation at JCC, also said: “JCC is focused on working with entrepreneurs in the region and is delighted to honor these individuals through the SBDC. Each of these entrepreneurs is a role model for others to start small businesses and we hope to work with them to ensure their success. In fact, we are working on developing an entrepreneurship certification over the next 10 months and hope to provide the necessary training to various industries.

For more information, contact 338-1024 or visit

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