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Vaughn Jereaux wins BE. The Style
Nov '08
Entrepreneur and artist Russell Simmons announced the winners of the nationwide creative entrepreneurship competition, the Race to BE. The winning filmmaker, music artist and fashion designer were among fifteen finalists who took Los Angeles, Austin and New York City by storm as they competed in the signature U.S. event for the worldwide initiative Global Entrepreneurship Week. The Race to BE. is nationally sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Acton Foundation for Entrepreneurial Excellence.

Simmons announced the winners in each category:

The film competition, BE. The Story, hosted by Simmons, kicked off the Race at Sony Pictures Studios in Los Angeles on Nov. 17 where Benjamin Sinclair presented his winning concept for a filmmaker networking website.

Two days later in Austin on Nov. 19, Tripp Gobble wowed the BE. The Sound panel of judges with his start-up university record label dedicated to promoting young musicians and building a musical community on college campuses.

The Race culminated in New York City on Nov. 21 at the New York Stock Exchange with the final challenge in fashion, BE. The Style. A young designer named Vaughn Jereaux swept the competition with his bespoke evening dresses and savvy marketing tactics. In addition to the presentation of beautiful clothing, Jereaux showed a knack for salesmanship and marketing as he presented the entire audience with a gift certificate toward one of his original designs.

Selected from hundreds of contestants from more than 22 states and the United Kingdom, the three winners, Sinclair, Gobble and Jereaux stood side by side in the center of American commerce at the New York Stock Exchange and beamed as Simmons introduced the young entrepreneurs to the national press.

Each winner received a prize of $5,000, membership in the Entrepreneurs' Organization Accelerator program and national media exposure. The winner of the fashion competition also won $1,000 in merchandise from Lyric Culture Clothing and the opportunity to show his designs in the 2009 Nolcha Fashion Week Designer Exhibition.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to remind young people to always pursue their dreams,” said Simmons. “We all know that anything is possible with a little bit of faith, determination and resilience.”

Simmons brings a lifetime of creative entrepreneurial success to his role as host of the Race to BE. including the creation of Def Jam Records, Phat Farm and the newly launched Argyle Culture. USA Today recently named Simmons one of the “Top 25 Most Influential People of the Past 25 Years.”

Judges and mentors for the events included Ted Harbert, CEO of Comcast Entertainment; Michael de Zayas, CEO and founder of Neighborhoodies; Shannon Blake Gans, executive producer & CEO of New Deal Studios; and CEO of Nolcha, Kerry Bannigan.

More than 75 countries joined together to participate in Global Entrepreneurship Week, Nov. 17 - 23, 2008, with hopes of inspiring the next generation of creative thinkers. Global Entrepreneurship Week is co-founded by the U.S.-based Ewing Marion Kauffman foundation and Make Your Mark in the United Kingdom. The Week is being globally sponsored by NYSE Euronext, IBM and Ernst & Young. The Race to BE. is nationally sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation and the Acton Foundation for Entrepreneurial Excellence.

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