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South Side Innovation Center directors recognized for achievements in entrepreneurship training

March 08, 2012

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Margaret Butler and El-Java William Abdul-Qadir of the South Side Innovation Center (SSIC) are receiving awards for their commitment to local entrepreneurs. Both serve integral roles as counselors and directors, working with a variety clients at the SSIC, including entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs who lack the sustainable, physical and economic resources to independently launch their own businesses.

Butler will receive the M&T Nonprofit Impact Award for her exceptional accomplishments and outstanding leadership abilities. Butler directs the Entrepreneurial Assistance Center (EAP) at SSIC, which provides training, counseling and development of business plans. She also ensures eligible clients obtain their Minority and Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) status.

Abdul-Qadir is being recognized as the Small Business Administration (SBA) 2012 Syracuse District Minority Small Business Champion of the Year. As director of the SBA PRIME program at SSIC, Abdul-Qadir trains individuals with disabilities and those suffering economic hardship. He also serves as an assistant counseling director for the center.

“This is a wonderful recognition of the commitment and skills of two individuals who are working hard to bring the needed education and training to individuals and businesses in the community and particularly to individuals who are too often marginalized in society,” says Melvin T. Stith, dean of the Whitman School of Management. “They are creating a pathway to prosperity for many.”

In her three years as director, Butler has made the EAP Center a significant force in the economic life of the region and one of the flagship programs in New York. The milestones passed by the program constitute the exceptional qualities and leadership noted by the award. The program has grown from 10 clients the first year to 57, with client sales increasing from $103,000 to $1.3 million today. Companies involved in the program have retained and created 115 jobs. In the new MWBE program started by the state, Butler brought one client through certification in a record two weeks.

Abdul-Qadir continues to improve conditions for the small business community. According to colleagues, it's his demonstrated accomplishments in advising minority small business groups and his effectiveness as an advocate that make him such a passionate expert.

“We are proud of our accomplishments here,” says Bob Herz, SSIC director. “And yet we remain mindful of the fact that it is extraordinary people like Ms. Butler and Mr. Abdul-Qadir who make what we do possible.”

The SSIC was founded in 2006 and, since its establishment, has provided services to almost 7,000 people. SSIC provides its trademark Inclusive Entrepreneurship hands-on counseling, training, and mentoring to about 1,500 entrepreneurs each year, helping many to launch new businesses. On average, some 30-50 businesses a year begin operations.

SSIC was 2011 runner-up for Incubator of the Year from the National Business Incubator Association, and WISE was 2011 Women’s Business Center of the Year–US SBA Syracuse District.

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