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Zondra Hughes

Chicagoan Zondra Hughes, founder of Six Brown Chicks, has won second place in Cricket Wireless’ first “Cricket Community Stars: Salute to Solopreneurs Contest.”

The contest, launched in October, recognizes those businesses that are ran by one person, hence the term “solopreneurs.” Only those leaders who are truly involved in their communities were considered.

Applicants from seven markets – Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. – submitted applications, which were narrowed down to three finalists.

As second place winner, Hughes will receive $2,500, and a Samsung Galaxy s5 with six months of Cricket service.

Hughes has said that she wants to use her prize money to buy new laptops for two of her bloggers so they can work from anywhere.

“Two of my bloggers are volunteers and one of them goes to the library to write her stories because she doesn’t have a laptop, I’ll be able to buy her one,” said Hughes, who started the website three years ago. “They are so invested in blogging that I want to make sure they have the tool to do so.”

Hughes will also be able to take “The Black Social Network” to Atlanta, a play that has already been at Chicago State University. It looks at the impact social media has on a person’s reputation and offers suggestions on how to create a strong and positive media presence. The targeted audience is college students, Hughes said.

The other two contest winners include grand prize winner Russell Hicks, founder of Ebony Suns Enterprises in Philadelphia, and third place winner Michael Ferrera, founder of Michael Ferrera Custom Clothing in Los Angeles. Hicks will receive $5,000, and a Samsung Galaxy s5 with 1 year of Cricket service, and Ferrera will receive $1,000, and a Samsung Galaxy s5 with three months of Cricket service.

“We are pleased to recognize Russell Hicks as the first Cricket Community Star and congratulate the other finalists who are committed to building both their brand and community,” says Jermaine Spight, senior public relations manager, Cricket Wireless. “Cricket Wireless is a community brand that supports organizations making a difference in the neighborhoods where our customers live, work and play.”

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