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CHICAGO -- MillerCoors is continuing its tradition of helping small businesses get a leg up by awarding $150,000 in grants through its MillerCoors Urban Entrepreneurs Series. The company established the business grant competition in 1999 and awarded more than $1.5 million to more than 100 emerging minority businesses.
The top prize went to Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora, partners and founders of Back To The Roots, a sustainable company specializing in taking used hops and coffee grounds and turning them into gourmet mushrooms. They received $50,000 to expand their business.
"When we walked into that room full of so much experience from every aspect of business imaginable, that helped us to see our business in a different light," explained Velez. "We saw a room full of judges who were industry leaders donating their time and expertise to listen to our business concept and the thought of MillerCoors awarding $50,000 to our business to help support our vision, that's more than financial help; it lifts our morale."
Four other companies received MUES $25,000 grants. They were Quiana Corde with Barazzo Bags in Atlanta; Nancy Nkansah, Jeffrey Nkansah and Jesse Cerda with Ncapsul in Fresno, CA; Jerome Young with MBA Power Attract Jobs Now in Sacramento; and Tereithia Walker with The Benson Mills Group in Atlanta.
"MillerCoors is proud to help empower and encourage emerging business owners as they pursue their dreams of entrepreneurship," said Larry Waters, vice president of multicultural relations for MillerCoors. "We commend the winners for their hard work and commitment and are excited to see them succeed."
The 2011-2012 MUES program is set to launch July 1, and will continue its green efforts embarked upon in 2009 with an online entry and judging platform via the program's Web site.