SAUK RAPIDS (WJON News) - Hundreds gathered at The Clearing in Sauk Rapids Tuesday night to celebrate new businesses in our area.

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The Initiative Foundation hosted the 2023 Emerging Entrepreneur Showcase and Awards to highlight the success of their Enterprise Academy.

The five award recipients, and more than 20 vendors, all graduated from the business education and networking program.

Among the award winners:

  • Community Impact Award: Ali Aden, Bridge Healing Center
  • Food Business of the Year: Ashley Williams, Ashley’s Yummy Rollz
  • New Business of the Year: Lam Chuol, of Lam’s Tax Service
  • Product of the Year: Anisa Hagi-Mohamed, Anisa Hagi, LLC, Kalsooni Affirmation Cards
  • Product of the Year: Antionette Lee, No Limit Painting, “You Can Be Anything” Painting Book

Antionette Lee says the Enterprise Academy and continued help from the Initiative Foundation played an important part in building her painting book.

The Initiative Foundation has been extremely instrumental. It's been three years since I graduated from the Enterprise Academy, and they continue to be hands-on and super supportive. They also helped fund the illustration, publishing, and printing of my books by allowing me to take a nontraditional loan.

 

Socquies Mccurtis (l) with "Queen of Soul Food" at the Emerging Entrepreneur Showcase and Awards. Photo: Jeff McMahon
Socquies Mccurtis (l) with "Queen of Soul Food" at the Emerging Entrepreneur Showcase and Awards. Photo: Jeff McMahon
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In addition, more than 20 food and business vendors were on hand to showcase their business ideas and food offerings.

Farhan Jibril is with the Hormud Deli and Food on Division Street in St. Cloud. A graduate of the academy, he says the event is about more than just publicity.

I also think representation is important. At an event like this, you have a lot of different people, a diverse group of people, and so I think it's good for the community.

For more information on the Enterprise Academy, find the details here. 

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