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Six Local Entrepreneurs Graduate from Capital Region Chamber Boot Camp Presented by Sunmark

Six Capital Region entrepreneurs have built a foundation to expand their businesses following their successful completion of the Capital Region Chamber’s 60-hour award-winning Entrepreneur Boot Camp training course, specially designed for starting and growing businesses.

“This semester’s entrepreneurs should be commended for their hard work, dedication and resilience. While the repercussions of the pandemic continue to impact our small businesses, these entrepreneurs are forging ahead with the creation of their business visions. It speaks volumes about their passion and commitment,” said Vice President of Business Resources, Laura Mann.

The entrepreneurs graduated from the Chamber’s spring 2022 boot camp course at a ceremony held at the Capital Region Chamber’s office in Albany.

During the event, Brian Wolters from Sunmark Credit Union presented Kimberly Lewis of Café Positivity & Retail a cash grant of $3,000 and a one-year Capital Region Chamber membership. Café Positivity & Retail will be a place of respite and renewal offering tasty breakfast and lunch treats in a warm and positive environment.; providing a nurturing, positive experience where customers can reconnect and re-charge from daily life, work and pandemic toils and tolls.  The Café Positivity retail shop will offer unique gift items from local artisans that carry messages of positive affirmation.

Marie Lopez of MLabor-4-You, LLC was presented with a $1,500 check from Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP and won a Ricoh printer from Repeat Business Systems. MLabor-4-You is a federal and state labor compliance consulting company specializing in employee wage law assistance to employers, especially restaurants and agricultural employers, participating in the H-2A program.  As a former federal investigator with the U.S. Department of Labor, Marie will bring her 12 years of experience to the table

helping clients navigate the complexities of labor and wage compliance.

Gianna Stone, Uplift Training won two classes from MicroKnowledge and a 3-credit class of choice from SUNY Schenectady County Community College. Uplift Training is a personal training and fitness business committed to women uplifting and empowering women and providing a safe and positive environment for women in the Capital Region to start their fitness journey.

Laura Mann, Vice President of Business Resources at the Capital Region Chamber was Master of Ceremonies for the event and the keynote was delivered by Ann Marie Berdar, of Bare Blends and Entrepreneur Boot Camp graduate (spring 2018).

The award-winning 10-week course, taught through the Chamber’s Entrepreneur Boot Camp Training Course, educated entrepreneurs on the critical skills necessary for business growth and expansion. The classes blended classroom and individual training with lectures by prominent business experts. Special guest lecturers covered topics including branding, advertising, legal issues, market research, demographics, sales, financing, leadership, diversity and inclusion, social media, presentations skills, accounting and more. 

Spring 2022 Entrepreneur Boot Camp graduate businesses/entrepreneurs include:

Kimberly Lewis, Café Positivity & Retail

Marie Lopez, MLabor-4-You, LLC

Will Rivas, Common Unity

Katee Rogers, Pearl Minimart & Deli

Hasan Rogers, Family Fold

Gianna Stone, Uplift Training

Entrepreneur Boot Camp is supported by the Capital Region Chamber and the Empire State Development Corporation’s Entrepreneurial Assistance Program. Sunmark Credit Union is the presenting sponsor. For more information about the program, contact Vice President, Business Resources Laura Mann, at 518.431.1430 or by email at  

The fall 2022 Boot Camp begins September 7, 2022 and registration is now underway on the Chamber’s website.