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image Dr. Michele Hoskins is the founder and president of Michele Foods, a manufacturer of specialty breakfast syrups based in a suburb of Chicago, Illinois. Her products are sold in top major retail chains throughout the United States.

Dr. Hoskins built her business around a secret syrup recipe that was developed by her great-great grandmother and passed down through her family. She was a newly divorced mother with no startup capital and three young daughters to support when she made the decision to turn the recipe into a commercial product in the early 1980s. She sold all her possessions, moved her family into her mother's attic, and spent lean years pursuing her dream.

Dr. Hoskins began her business in her mother's basement by filling syrup bottles from a 55-gallon drum of syrup she formulated. She sold the hand-filled product to local groceries in her neighborhood. When Dr. Hoskins secured the two largest food retail chains in the Chicago area that same year, she moved her business out of her mother's basement. Her product is now sold in 400 retail chains across the United States. Dr. Hoskins became the first minority supplier for Denny's and WalMart, and has partnered with companies such as General Mills and Sara Lee.

The recipe that started it all is now known as Michele's Honey Crème™ Syrup, a rich creamy confection that includes a generous helping of honey and butter. She also manufactures Michele's Butter Pecan and Maple Crème™ Syrups.

Dr. Hoskins has achieved much success throughout her 30 years in business. She has been featured on the CNN Morning Show's "Personal Journey" segment which aired on both the CNN and Discovery channels. She has also been featured three times on The Oprah Winfrey Show, been interviewed by local television stations in Chicago, and has appeared on The Big Idea and BET's Microsoft Business Summit.

Dr. Hoskins has received numerous awards including the 2002 Entrepreneur of the Year Award, presented by the Women's Foodservice Forum; the Emerging Company of the Year Award; the Entrepreneurial Woman Award; and the Madam Walker Entrepreneurial Award.

She received an honorary doctorate degree from Johnson & Wales University.

Dr. Hoskins enjoys public speaking and has been invited to be the keynote speaker at numerous events. She is also the author of Sweet Expectations and mentors individuals interested in entering the food industry.

Economic Empowerment Summit