OLLU sparks the entrepreneurial spirit

Posted on Thursday, February 28, 2013


Richard Acosta (BA Business Administration 1973) credits an OLLU professor with inspiring him to start a business enterprise that generates $40 million in revenue. Acosta bought his first McDonald’s restaurant in 1975. Today, he owns 17 franchises that employ 1,400 workers and has a $10 million payroll.

Nearly 40 years after graduating, Acosta remains a strong supporter of his alma mater. At the end of last semester, he served on a judges’ panel for the Entrepreneurship Challenge, a Capital One Bank and Accion Texas-sponsored program in which four teams of students create plans to start a business.

Acosta and two fellow judges ranked the business plans. They selected OLLU Prints, a t-shirt printing service company, as the winner. The winning students received $7,000 to help start their business this spring.

A native of the West Side, Acosta’s parents separated when he was 1. He ran with a rough crowd at Irving Middle School. A math teacher inspired him to find new friends and become serious about school. Acosta made the Honor Roll at Brackenridge High School. He graduated, worked as an auto mechanic, attended community college and enrolled at OLLU.

A professor, Dr. Leon Tolle, inspired Acosta. “He would always talk up entrepreneurship,” Acosta says. “He would always motivate us to think of being (the) owner of a business.”

Richard and his wife raised five children, all of whom worked at McDonald’s in their youth. Each of them graduated from college and was offered an opportunity to work in the family business. Luis, Carlos, Maria and Celia accepted the offer and learned well under their father.