Community Scott Skodnek Business Development Center

Local Entrepreneurs Win Capital One Bank Business Plan Competition

(L to r) Marie Williams, Andrea Ramos, Associate Dean of Entrepreneurship and Business Development Judith Tyne, and Angela Gibbs.

Three local business owners who are focused on health, fitness and beauty services were selected by Hofstra University’s Entrepreneurial Assistance Program (EAP) as the winners of the Capital One Bank Business Plan Competition. The honorees enrolled in the Fall 2018 EAP to develop business plans to expand their companies.

The entrepreneurs recognized were:

Angela Gibbs, a permanent makeup/scar camouflage artist from Freeport. She was inspired to found Cösbeau Ink in 2013 after seeing family members suffer through the pain and hair loss inflicted by cancer. Gibbs uses tattoo ink to create natural designs to enhance clients’ natural features as eyebrows, eyeliner, lips and to mask scars. She has 18 years of combined professional experience in management, cosmetology, esthetics, permanent makeup and eyelash artistry. Gibbs, who received her undergraduate degree in business management at Hofstra, is a NYS licensed and certified cosmetologist, esthetician and tattoo artist technically trained in creating tattoo designs for the face/ body and in 3D areola/nipple re-pigmentation, ideal for breast cancer survivors or women who have undergone breast reconstruction surgery. Gibbs belongs to many community organizations, has been a past guest on the radio program “The League of Professionals” hosted by Muriel Donnelly, and was a 2018 recipient of the “Encouraging Empowerment through Entrepreneurship” Award given by Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy.

Westbury’s Andrea Ramos, a clinical nutritionist, personal chef, and founder of Healthy F.R.I.E.N.D.Z. Nutrition LLC. Ramos, who has a master’s in clinical nutrition, has a passion for healthy eating and cooking. When her children were very young, she started an organic garden, and growing and preparing healthy foods became a fun, family activity. Her concern for the growing rate of obesity in the US prompted her to start sharing her skills with friends and neighborhood children. She took on clients with conditions ranging from morbid obesity, diabetes and stage 3 kidney/renal disease, and other health and food issues. She launched Healthy F.R.I.E.N.D.Z. (Fun, Recreation, Inspiration, Encouragement, and Nutrition Daily with Zest) in 2018, providing nutrition education to children and families in a fun interactive way via workshops, food presentations, menu planning and personal chef services, all based on ethnicity and the cultural heritage of the client. Ramos’ work was recognized with a 2019 Young, Gifted and Black Award; a citation from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams; and awards of recognition from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio. She was named an Outstanding Woman of 2018 by the New York Sportscene Children’s Foundation. 

Marie Williams of Jamaica, Queens, is founder of Elite Bride Squad, which offers specialized fitness training for brides-to-be and members of the bridal party. Williams is a certified fitness instructor with more than a decade of mentoring, coaching and training experience. She holds certifications from the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the International Sports Conditioning Association (ISCA), and she is a certified Life-Cycle Celebrant. Elite Bride Squad was started in 2018 offering a specialized program of exercise/group/personal training sessions and nutritional counseling for brides/grooms and the wedding party. Williams also officiates weddings and assists with creating custom ceremonies with personal, classic and traditional readings and vows for the bride and groom, family and friends. 

The EAP is a 10-week program providing 60 hours of training over the course of 20 workshops covering the fundamentals of business management, such as forms of ownership, developing financial statements, media strategies and determining the target market. By the end of the program, participants will have developed a complete business plan as well as an opportunity to participate in the Capital One Bank sponsored business plan competition.

More than 1,390 entrepreneurs have enrolled in the EAP since it began in February 1991. Their businesses were in the planning stage or already in existence and ready for expansion.  This program is offered annually in the spring and fall on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. Visit the website for future sessions and the online application.

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