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ACC Alumnus Awarded $10,000 as Winner of Entrepreneurial Contest

Posing with CEO winner Marvin SeaBrooks (center) is Ervin Allen, Director of ACC’s Small Business Center, and Vernon Clapp of Clapp Investment Ltd.

Posing with CEO winner Marvin SeaBrooks (center) is Ervin Allen, Director of ACC’s Small Business Center, and Vernon Clapp of Clapp Investment Ltd.

Marvin SeaBrooks, a client of the Small Business Center at Alamance Community College, was the winner in the Clapp Entrepreneurial Opportunity (CEO) Initiative competition that provides an ACC student, client or alumnus with $10,000 to launch a business venture.

SeaBrooks’ winning presentation was to increase marketing for a health beverage that he currently sells in 14 local retail stores. His was among two business proposals that were judged on the ACC campus May 11 by a panel of six Alamance County area entrepreneurs and business persons.

SeaBrooks last year founded a company called SeaBrooks Family Naturals after he researched a natural product targeted at immune-suppressed vinegar-conscious consumers, as well as diabetics. He said his product, All Natural Summer Water, is a natural and Homeopathic alternative.

SeaBrooks is a client of the Small Business Center and took the continuing education course, REAL, as a part of the CEO Initiative course work.

In second place was Jose Santibanez, who is completing his Associate’s in Applied Science in Mechatronics Engineering Technology.  Santibanez’s proposal was for Mebane Maintenance Solutions, a business venture with two fellow mechatronics students, whose purpose is to develop an industrial repair and maintenance operation in Mebane, NC.

Judges were Ian Baltutis, Mayor of Burlington; Dr. Dick Fisher, a retired financial investments consultant and former ACC trustee; Shelia Huggins, an attorney; Ed Parrish, Senior Vice President of Fidelity Bank; Vernon Clapp, businessman; and Riley Ruske, a retired business executive.

Both candidates’ presentations included audio-visual graphics, marketing statistics, and costs estimates.

Businessman Vernon Clapp of Clapp Investment Ltd. agreed two years ago to provide $10,000 to support a student entrepreneurial contest each fall through Alamance Community College and its Business Administration program and Small Business Center.

This initiative promotes entrepreneurialism, encourages new business and job creation, and highlights the College’s role in economic development. It fits ACC’s workforce development mission and commitment to small business.

This initiative brings the physical and intellectual capital of the College together with the public and private sector resources of Alamance County to promote business development, said Ervin Allen, Director of ACC’s Small Business Center. In addition to encouraging the development of curricula and programs that foster innovation and entrepreneurship, it is expected to foster increased enrollment in Business Administration and Small Business Center courses.

The $10,000 prize money, distributed via the ACC Foundation Office, will fund pre-approved expenses directly related to the building and launching of the business venture.

The Clapp Entrepreneurial Opportunity (CEO) Initiative promotes entrepreneurialism, increases awareness of ACC’s leadership in economic development, and encourages new business and job creation.

CEO Initiative participants must have touched ACC in a meaningful way, including through curriculum, continuing education, full time, part-time, corporate training, small business center counseling, workshops or class participation. Candidates receive education in entrepreneurship, business planning and development. The two emerging finalists are selected based on the attractiveness, viability, and economic impact of their proposed ventures. SeaBrooks and Santibanez as finalists then prepared and presented to program judges to determine a winner.

Winner Marvin SeaBrooks now enters the 12-month incubation process. The Small Business Incubator –dedicated to launching a new business—provides one year of mentoring, support and coaching which has been shown to improve the likelihood for long-term success.

Small business provides 55 percent of all American jobs, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.