Students show their entrepreneurial spirit

Posted on Thursday, December 20, 2012

OLLU’s School of Business and Leadership has partnered with Capital One Bank and Accion Texas to create the Entrepreneurship Challenge, a program in which students are paired with successful mentors from the business world to help them create and start their own businesses.

In order to participate in the program, students were required to submit an application during the spring 2012 term. Once selected, the students were placed in teams and paired with a mentor. The students participating in the project receive credit since the program is run through two courses taken under Kathryn Winney, assistant professor of accounting.

Members from EasyBookTrading present their
business plan to the judges.
During the first phase of the project, four teams worked with their mentors on developing their businesses and creating plans with the hopes of securing seed money to get their businesses off the ground. EasyBookTrading, Paws-sible Pet Sitting Services, OLLUPrints and SecurIT were the resulting businesses.

EasyBookTrading, created by team members Cesar Rodriguez, Manuel Ortiz, Miriam Vasquez, Rogelio Cuevas and Angelica Casas, was formed to help college students save money on textbooks by connecting buyers and sellers.

Members from OLLUPrints present their business
plan to the judges.
OLLUPrints, created by team members Salim Sandoval, Bianca Pelayo, Sammy Lam and Jackie Nevarez, was formed to provide t-shirt printing services to the OLLU community.

Paws-sible Pet Sitting Services, created by team members Moises Torres, Juan Ortiz, Ashley Elizalde, Carol Fuentes, Terrie Guerra and Emilio Anaya, was formed to provide pet sitting services in the homes of their clients.

Paws-sible Pet Sitting Services group members
present their business plan to the judges.
SecurIT, created by team members Artair Burnett, Colin Beckendorf, Emily Backus and John Brown, was formed to provide business-to-business infrastructure technology services to micro-businesses. 

The teams presented their business plans to a panel of judges during the last week of the semester. The judges ranked the business plans and announced the winners, which determined the amount of seed money each team would receive. OLLUPrints was announced as the winner and will receive $7,000. EasyBookTrading was named first runner up will receive $4,000. The remaining teams will receive $2,000. Now that the plans have been presented, and the winners selected, the teams will spend the spring semester working on getting their businesses started.

SecurIT group members present their business 
plan to the judges. 
Professor Winney said she is proud of her students and they have come a long way from where they were at the beginning of the semester. “In the beginning, the teams had very large, unmanageable ideas. To see them move to smaller, more focused ideas for their businesses that meet the needs of the students and the community is great, and I am proud to be a part of this project,” said Winney.

Members of the Paws-sible Pet Sitting Service and 
OLLUPrints with program mentors Professor
Kathryn Winney, Capital One Bank Vice President of 
Community Development Banking Jordana Barton
and OLLU Board Chairman Roy Terracina. 
She also expressed her gratitude to Capital One Bank and Accion Texas for sponsoring the project as well as the mentors and other professors who have been involved. “We are fortunate to have a company that is willing to invest in our students, and the support for our mentors and other professors on campus has been amazing,” said Winney. “This project has generated a lot of interest from other students on campus who are asking if we are going to do this again next year.”

Jordana Barton, vice president of community development banking at Capital One Bank, said the company wanted to start an entrepreneurship program, but it was not until they were approached by Robert Bisking, PhD, dean for the School of Business and Leadership, and Professor Winney, that they found an avenue to begin such a program. “We wanted to institutionalize the program and give it a solid curriculum,” said Barton. “Dr. Bisking and Professor Winney provided that for us.”