Stan Banks Photography Named 2013 ELC Business Plan Winner

April 23, 2013

ELC Contestants join President Vital, Sharon Cannon, Reginald Whiteside and guest speaker Warren Brown at the 2013 ELC Business Plan Competition on April 24.

ELC Contestants join President Vital, Sharon Cannon, Reginald Whiteside and guest speaker Warren Brown at the 2013 ELC Business Plan Competition on April 24.


 Over the past semester four Cheyney University student entrepreneurs have been honing their projects, researching business practices, writing business plans, trying out sales strategies and networking. The results of their efforts came to light at the April 24 CU Business Plan Competition at the Marian Anderson Music Center.  

Following a welcome by ELC Coordinator Reginald Whiteside, each business plan was profiled in a brief video clip and stage appearance by each entrepreneur. Christopher Rogers, winner of the 2012 Cheyney Business Plan Competition and author of a business plan for Chester Community Publishing, a youth literacy project  program, welcomed  the contestants and announced the winners. 

Stan Banks, founder of Stan Banks Photography, was selected for first place in this year's competition. When Stan is not behind the lens, he spends his time coaching young athletes on the football field, designing innovative website and graphic designs, and giving back to his community through various outreach efforts. He is often seen on campus sporting one of his custom-designed tee shirts and a camera. The computer science major with a graphic arts minor, will graduate this June.

Anthony Abney, founder of Jet Leadership, took second place, Davon Hawkins, founder of the First 48 Sneaker Boutique, third place, and Julian Dunn, founder of Financial Liberators, fourth place. Competition judges were Cynthia Moultrie, Director of DBE Supportive Services Center, Mae Stephens, Assistant Director of the Economic and Workforce Development Center, and Dr. Ivan Turnipseed, program coordinator for the Hotel Restaurant Tourism Management program at the University.

Throughout their tenure at CU, the paticipating sudents have had access to a full array of offerings through Cheyney University’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Center (ELC). Located on campus, the ELC cyber café offers an array of resources including a Mac computer lab and brains to pick within the ELC staff, entrepreneurial alumni, and community business people. 

The Center is also home to the Cheyney CEO program, a branch of The Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization. The national organization has 25 college and university chapters throughout the country. The Cheyney University chapter was initiated in 2013 and is led by Stan Banks, president, Shannon Burch, vice president, Chaneal Conway, treasurer and Brandon Taylor, secretary.  It’s adviser is Sharon Cannon, Executive Director of the Economic and Workforce Development Center on campus.

ELC intern and Cheyney CEO member Malique Williams introduced keynote speaker Warren Brown, a former attorney and Food Network TV host turned baker. Already confident cooking savory foods for family and friends as a caterer, Brown confessed that a new year's resolution to "end his fear of flour" led him to baking cakes. Pretty soon he was in love with baking and took cakes to work and parties. As friends started buying his cakes he realized that he needed to commit to give up Friday nights to bake cakes for weekend customers.

"Being in business is a race for time - a race against myself to make time to spend with my family, work on my crawl stroke, build up myself and understand who I am." Brown shared the joys of baking, described the necessity of sacrifice while starting a new business, emphasized the importance of listening to your customers, and urged the audience to know everything you can about all facets of your product and the elements which go into it.

"Be confident about what your idea is. Have a Big Plan - a big vision of what you're after.  Listen to feedback, it's a gift, so be humble. In business you  have to be strong.  Maybe sometimes you're wrong and maybe you can adjust.  Adaptation is part of being alive.”

Before he left the stage, Brown also shared some tantalizing descriptions of cakes crammed full of berries and covered with creamy butter cream icings, and talked about his dreams of marketing a mouth-watering “cake in a jar” on a national basis.    

Brown’s mantra, shown intermittently on the stage backdrop, was food for thought for the finalists and good inspiration for everyone in the audience. 

My mantra to discover my passion.

Direct yourself to greatness.

Answer your calls.

Answer to yourself.