Moms create math, science DVDs
Keli DiRisio was looking for a way to entertain her preschooler on days when multiple sclerosis left DiRisio too tired to play.

Two years later, she and her business partner Leslie Summerson have a company — One Smart Cookie Productions — that earned them the New York State Small Business Development Center's Women Entrepreneurs of the Year Award.

Like many entrepreneurial endeavors, the company started with DiRisio sharing a simple idea with her neighbor Summerson.

"I said, 'What if I did some videotaping and had little things pop up,'" said DiRisio, graphic artist who also runs a graphics design business from her Victor home.

Summerson, the mother of two young boys who teaches elementary school in Spencerport, immediately saw a niche.

"I wanted something I could use for both of my children, for different ages and different levels," said Summerson.

The DVDs focus on math and science, but also include basic subjects such as reading, writing and activities.

Working out of DiRisio's home, the women write and research the content, then do video and sound editing. DiRisio writes the music for the DVDs.

Helping launch the business were counselors from the SUNY Brockport Small Business Development Center. Ralph Toscano, a business adviser at the center, said One Smart Cookie stood out because the product already existed.

"Most people come in (the center) with an idea, but they were already in business and they already had a darn good product," said Toscano.

While educational games and DVDs for children are nothing new, DiRisio says that One Smart Cookie's edge is that its products have three educational levels on one DVD.

So far, they have sold more than 100 DVDs and workbooks. The women hope to increase their distribution and also expand the DVD subjects to animals and food.

Despite the early success, DiRisio and Summerson say they will hold on to their jobs for now, while hoping that One Smart Cookie one day will turn into a bigger business.

"We both would like this to be our sole focus," DiRisio said.

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