Ignite Nominations

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Nominations and Guidelines

Nomination Details

The WBC Ignite Awards Luncheon was created to bring the business community together with women-identifying entrepreneurs to foster a thriving economy. The annual awards given at the event celebrates women entrepreneurship by sharing inspiring journeys of local women-owned businesses in Western New York.

Honorees are selected through an open nomination process. You are invited to nominate an entrepreneur or woman-owned/operated business for an award. Nominations must be submitted by midnight on February 29, 2024 to be considered.

Who is eligible to be nominated?

  • Any woman or woman-identifying business owner/entrepreneur who lives in the Western New York region and has her/their business based in the WNY region.
  • Nominees must be able to attend the event on 5/10/24 in order to be an honoree.
  • Nomination must be for a woman that owns a legal for-profit business.

Who may submit nominations?

  • Individuals are welcome to self-nominate.
  • Anyone who supports women-identifying entrepreneurs and business owners.

Do nominees have to have a connection to the Women’s Business Center or Canisius College?

  • No. While we at the WBC support women business owners through all stages of entrepreneurship and hope to work with every woman-identifying business owner at some point in her/their journey, it is not required to get nominated or necessary to win. Our goal with the Ignite Awards is to support and inspire women entrepreneurs, while connecting and cultivating a diverse, innovative community that will continue to come together for long after the luncheon.

What is the process?

  • Nominations can only be submitted through the Nomination Google Form at bottom of this page. We encourage you to work with the person you’re nominating to ensure a strong proposal.
  • The deadline is midnight on February 29, 2024.
  • Nominations will be reviewed by a selection committee made up of WBC staff, Board Members and past award recipients.

What are you looking for in a Ignite Honoree? Tell us about any one or more of the following:

  • Innovation. Did the nominee pilot an innovative business idea, or is she/they running a unique business that brings something special to our community?
  • Perseverance and grit. Is the nominee’s business thriving even though they’ve been thrown many challenges and had to overcome many hurdles? Did the nominee make a significant pivot during the pandemic? Or change course throughout their years of operation to gain business growth?    
  • Growth and success. Did the nominee experience significant expansion in locations or revenue, national or global scaling?
  • Leadership. Does the nominee inspire others to follow with support and demonstrated inclusion in the workplace? Did the nominee blaze the path for others by rising through the ranks and in business in a typically male-dominated field? Other examples of leadership are welcome as well.

Here are our past honorees:

2023
Sherita Anderson-Bailey, Renovated Soul Marriage and Family Therapy | Brandi J Barrett, Barrett & Benitez Development | Alexa Jovanovic, Aille Design | Cindy Miller, Cindy Miller, Inc. | Shannon Traphagen, Write Life Media Marketing & The Game on Glio Podcast

2022
Rosanna Berardi, Berardi Immigration Law | Nakiea S. Cook, NC Accounting & Consulting Solutions | Carley J. Hill, CAHill TECH, Inc. | Robbie Raugh RN/CHC, The Raugh Truth LLC (DBA The Raw Truth), Raw Truth Integrative Health | Gaitrie Subryan, Devi Bollywood Performing Arts

2020
Jennifer A. Beckage, Esq, Beckage PLLC | Brenda L. Calhoun, Calhoun Insurance Agency + Onyx Global | Mindy Hesslink, Lenzart Photographic Lab + WallsBeautiful | Louise Sano, Global Villages + Global Chic

2019
Dr. Stephanie H. Fretz, Cedar Pediatrics PLLC | Laythanette Shine, USA Occupational Services LLC | Idalynn McDonald, Idalynn Cosmetics LLC + Honey Bunz Organic Day Spa

2018
Shanthy Jayakumar, Harisa Ayurvedic Wellness Center | Jan Malof, Prentice Office Environments | Joan Schubring, Arrow Sheet Metal Works, Inc.

2017
Kirsten DiCarlo, FabUBus Mobile Spa | Lisa Martineck, Capello II Salon and Day Spa | Marie Rabin, CARA Medical  | Dolly Randle, Compliance and Administrative Services of New York | Glenna Bett, Cytocybernetics

Nomination Form

***Nominations must be submitted by midnight on February 29, 2024 to be considered.***

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