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Congratulations to Alicia ’11, MS ’12 and Alisa ’10, MS ’12 Officer, who took home second place in the Multicultural Small Business Innovation Lab pitch competition. The New Buffalo Institute at Canisius partnered with M&T Bank to launch the pilot program aimed at accelerating the growth of small businesses owned by Black, Indigenous, Latinx and LGBTW individuals on Buffalo’s East Side. The six-week initiative culminated in a ‘shark tank’-style venture, which awarded financial support to the top three winners in the pitch competition.

Alicia and Alisa Officer are co-founders and co-owners of Unapologetic Coffee, which makes specialty coffee more accessible to Black and Brown people in Buffalo. The company produces small-batch roasts and sells their products to other businesses and directly to consumers via online sales and subscription services. Alicia and Alisa plan to use their prize funding ($3,000) to hire a part-time staff member to help manage their social media channels and expand their marketing capabilities.

To learn more about them and their company, click here.

A significant portion of the innovation lab included guidance and education in business planning, establishing credit, accessing capital, marketing and networking.  Professors from the Richard J. Wehle School of Business worked with the Women’s Business Center to plan this content, and the college hosted classes on campus.   

Submitted by: Mary Rockwell, PhD, director, New Buffalo Institute