Nicole Neal Named 2020 Young Entrepreneur Of The Year

Nicole Neal the JCAC-DST 2020 Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Smithfield – The Johnston County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. ( JCAC-DST, Inc.) has named Nicole Neal, founder of Simply Sweet, as it’s 2020 Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

Ms. Neal was selected from six participants who pitched their business plan to the JCAC’s Shark Tank.   The JCAC’s Shark Tank is a panel of independent judges, which consists of local business owners, bankers, financial analysts and educators. The winner was announced at a special virtue award program on May 17th, 2020. The awards program was a collaboration between the JCAC-DST, Inc. and the Brian Hamilton Foundation. Mr. Hamilton was also the guest speaker.

Mr. Hamilton addressed the Young Entrepreneur Program’s (YEP) participants and over 100 guests which included, chapter members, parents, community leaders and local business owners.  “Having your own company is for everyone, including the youth of our country,” said Hamilton,  the Founder of Brian Hamilton Foundation, “It is extremely important that teenagers learn about the benefits of entrepreneurship.  We are proud of what Johnston County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. is doing locally to inspire and help these individuals early on, in their lives to increase their chances of success.”

Evelyn Sanders Chair of Economic Development said, “The awards program recognizes high school student entrepreneurs who demonstrate extraordinary success and excellence in areas such as innovation, financial projections and personal commitment to their business and communities”.

About the Winner

Nicole Neal, Bakery Chef and CEO of Simply Sweet is a 10th grader at West Johnston High School near Benson.  Ms. Neal fell in love with baking while helping her grandmother measure ingredients for her well known homemade cheese cakes.  Simply Sweet is a health conscious bakery with those in mind that have chronic illnesses such as diabetes and high cholesterol. Ms. Neal’s bakery plans to keep southern and ethnic baking alive by collecting recipes from older generations and publishing a variety of cookbooks also. Ms. Neal was awarded a $5,000 Educational Scholarship.

The Young Entrepreneur Program six participants received $250 for their business start-up capital. This year’s program participant receiving the award are:  Cameron Harrell, founder, CAM’s Customz , Ernest Harrell, CEO, Ej’s Lawn Service ,Adonna Knight, CEO, Knights Bitez, Nicole Neal, Bakery Chef and CEO, Simple Sweet, Zephaniah Prince, CEO, WavoLand Co. and Anaiya Whitaker, CEO, Satin Style.

In addition the JCAC-DST, Inc.’s  Educational Scholarship award recipients were announced.  Pandora Pearson, Chair, Scholarship Committee, announced this year’s Academic Scholarship winners. Those winners are:  Christopher Everett, Clayton High School – $1000; Colin Beard, West Johnston High School – $750; Zaphra Davis, Princeton Middle/High School – $500; Lennasia Sharpless, Clayton High School – $500 and Kyra Joyner, Smithfield-Selma High School – $500.

About the Young Entrepreneur Program (YEP)

As part of its Economic Development Program, JCAC-DST, Inc. conducts the biennial Young Entrepreneur Program (YEP).  High school students between the ages of 14-19 are eligible to participate in the program. There is no cost for participating in the program and all program materials are provided. The Junior Achievement’s Be Entrepreneurial is the primary model to guide the implementation of the chapter’s YEP.  Participants  learn fundamental business and economic concepts, and explore career interests and opportunities.   Each participant has a legally incorporated business at the completion of the program.  Chapter members and community business leaders provide support and mentors up to two years following completion of the program.  A Young Entrepreneur of the Year is named and recognized at the culmination of the chapter’s program activities. The winner is awarded a $5,000 scholarship to the college of his/her choice. The judges for the 2020 JCAC’s Shark Tank were: Crystal Kimpson Roberts , Chief of Equity, Information and Student Services for the Johnston County Public Schools; Diamonte Sanders, State Employees Credit Union as a Financial Service Representative; and Gabriella Woodson owner of Chefella’s, LLC with locations in Clayton and Smithfield.

About the Johnston County Alumnae Chapter

Johnston County Alumnae Chapter was chartered on April 27, 2003. The chapter is dedicated to serving the communities across Johnston County with purposeful programs while operating under the Five-Point Programmatic Thrust of the Grand Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

About Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. is a private, non-profit organization whose purpose is to provide assistance and support through established programs in local communities throughout the world. A sisterhood of more than 200,000 predominately Black college educated women, the Sorority was founded on January 13, 1913 and currently has over 1000 chapters located in the United States, Canada, Japan (Tokyo and Okinawa), Germany, the Virgin Islands, Bermuda, the Bahamas and the Republic of Korea. The major programs of the sorority are based upon the organization’s Five Point Programmatic Thrust. More than ten thousand members typically attend Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated’s biennial national conventions, and each of the seven regional conferences (held during years when there is no national convention) typically hosts thousands of members. At its recent 51st National convention held in the District of Columbia, more than 38,000 members registered and attended.