African and Caribbean entrepreneurs to be honored in Philadelphia

Adenah Bayoh
Adenah Bayoh

ADENAH BAYOH has a mind for business.

As the first black woman in New Jersey to open an IHOP franchise, she now owns three restaurants in the flapjack chain. She co-founded a real estate firm that's building a $150 million residential and retail development in the Garden State. And she was identified as one of the Top 50 women in business by NJBIZ, a weekly journal.

But the 37-year-old North Jersey entrepreneur's pursuits aren't limited to the business world. She is also encouraging young women to pursue their dreams by establishing a scholarship.

Bayoh is one of three people being honored tonight by FunTimes Magazine, a Philadelphia-based bimonthly publication celebrating Africa and the Diaspora. She will receive the entrepreneurial spirit award at the magazine's fifth annual gala.

"I think one of the lessons that I ultimately live by is don't pay attention to the naysayers," said Bayoh, who migrated to the U.S. from Liberia in 1991. She credits her grandmother - a business owner - with inspiring her to become an entrepreneur. And despite the accolades, she feels she's just starting her journey.

"I'm really just scratching the surface. When we look at our urban areas, there's so much work to do in terms of development and bringing jobs," she said.

Also being honored are Olusegun Jaji, a former Philadelphian and founder/captain of Sea Coach Boat Co. in Sierra Leone, and Leroy Hawthorne, vice president of the Retail Division for Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery and Grill. Hawthorne, of Jamaican descent, will receive the Jeff Brown Award for Community Engagement, named after and being presented by the renowned owner of 11 area ShopRites.

"A lot of immigrants are into business and some entrepreneurial endeavors [and] pursuits. We thought there should be a platform where they would be recognized," said Eric Nzeribe, publisher of FunTimes, which has a circulation of about 29,000 in the Philadelphia tri-state region.

The event was previously entitled "Still Standing" and focused on married couples, according to Nzeribe. It evolved last year to acknowledge entrepreneurs.

The gala, being hosted at the Renaissance Hotel near the Philadelphia Airport, will include some cultural art and dance. Tickets are available on a limited basis at http://funtimesmagazines2.

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