How the University at Buffalo’s Emerging Entrepreneur Accelerator Program Helped Entrepreneur Kamilah Whitfield Get Her Invention One Step Closer to Market
I am an inventor and entrepreneur. I am currently working to open a grocery store on Buffalo’s East Side to provide more healthy and affordable food options to the neighborhood. I am also in the initial stages of developing a specialized hair care tool. My mentor from the Accelerator Program suggested that I reach out to colleges to get help building a prototype, so I did. I was able to interview and hire three mechanical engineering students to create my first prototype over the summer. It was a very exciting moment in the life of this business! Plus, I created three jobs for students, and I’m very proud of that. There is still more prototyping to be done. Inventions are rarely perfect on the first try.
My vision is to keep working on my invention, as well as other business ventures. I will always be an entrepreneur and I will encourage others to lean into what they are passionate about and explore entrepreneurship for themselves.
I participated in the M&T Bank Minority Women and Emerging Entrepreneurs Accelerator Program offered by UB’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership because it offered the chance to work one-on-one with a coach and I knew it would be an excellent opportunity for me. Having someone coach you individually is a very special experience, so I felt I had to take advantage of it.
My biggest takeaway was all the knowledge and confidence I gained about my specific business. I was incredibly impressed with the program leaders for matching me up with two perfect mentors. I couldn’t have asked for better.
The course helped me succeed in my business because my coach prepared me to pitch to investors! Receiving that additional coaching gave me the confidence needed to pitch my idea to potential investors and to be able to speak about my invention with ease.
I would just like to extend my sincere gratitude and appreciation for any individual or organization supporting this program in any way. It’s life changing. Knowledge is power! What we learned and discussed definitely empowered me! The individualized mentorship/coaching was invaluable! I encourage women and minorities interested in growing or starting a business to apply. I can’t say enough about how excellent this program was for me. I am very grateful.