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October 6, 2016                          Jacqueline L., 240-305-2133,






Maryland Women’s Business Center Hosts Inaugural Awards Luncheon Celebrating Local Business Community

Miko Branch of Miss Jessie’s Delivered Keynote; Awards Recipients Announced

Rockville, MD, October 6, 2016 – Today, the Maryland Women’s Business Center (MWBC) held their inaugural Awards Luncheon and Silent Auction at Lakewood Country Club to culminate their fifth anniversary of helping nearly 5,000 women entrepreneurs start, sustain, and grow women-owned enterprises.

Event and table sponsors included WSSC, EagleBank, Shulman Rogers, Westat, Maryland Department of Commerce, Woodard & Associates, FEDMINE.US, Miss Jessie’s, Women’s Business Report, mater mea, and Women Empowerment Project, Inc.

This year’s Women Entrepreneur of the Year was awarded to Kimberlee Driggs, President of D2, LLC. The runner-up was Susan Mondi Bowen, Founder of Thrive Yoga. Minority Woman Business of the Year was awarded to Houri Tamizifar, Founder of Cynuria Consulting, LLC. The runner-up was Nicole Orisme, Founder of NLH Contracting. The Woman Veteran Entrepreneur of the Year was awarded to Charlisa Watson, President of CRW & Associates, LLC. MWBC Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Stephanie Lewis of The Entrepreneur’s Source, and MWBC Corporate Partner of the Year was awarded to Reginald Exum of Citi Community Development.

“The MWBC applauds the phenomenal women entrepreneurs in Maryland that are having a significant impact on their community. It wouldn’t be possible without the collective participation from our business counselors, clients, volunteers, partners and sponsors who believe in the power of women entrepreneurship,” said Managing Director of the MWBC, Kiesha Haughton.

Author and Co-Founder of Miss Jessie’s, Miko Branch, delivered a powerful keynote on how she built a national brand and multi-million dollar hair care empire, and held a book signing for attendees.

MWBC now offers workshops and trainings in Spanish to meet the growing market of Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs. And, later this fiscal year, the MWBC will launch an international trade program. “Our goal is to ensure that women entrepreneurs become aware and take advantage of the 95 percent client base outside of the United States,” added Haughton.

“We congratulate the winners, and know the MWBC will continue offering a variety of business support tools to help women entrepreneurs remain competitive and achieve their goals,” said Laurie Boyer, Executive Director of REDI.

Click here to view photos from MWBC’s inaugural Awards Luncheon.

About Maryland Women’s Business Center

Maryland Women’s Business Center (MWBC) was established in 2010 as a program of the nonprofit Rockville Economic Development, Inc. (REDI) to help people throughout the region start and build successful women-owned enterprises that are positioned for long-term growth. MWBC conducts specialized training, offers individual business counseling, and provides unique resources.  Our special initiatives include a Childcare Business Development Program and StartRight! Women’s Business Plan Competition.  Stay connected on Facebook, Instagram , LinkedIn, and Twitter.

About Rockville Economic Development, Inc.

Rockville Economic Development, Inc. (REDI) is a public-private partnership formed in 1997 by the City of Rockville, Maryland to strengthen and broaden the city’s economic base through business entrepreneurship, expansion, retention, and recruitment programs. REDI offers guidance and support to help businesses at all stages of growth launch, locate and expand in Rockville.  For more information, contact 301-315-8096 or visit