Two Northwest Vista College students recently took part in an Alamo Colleges “Shark Tank” competition and came out unbitten and with some investor funds to help turn their ideas into profitable businesses.
NVC student Jorge Latorre; San Antonio College (SAC) student Angela Costlow, and Joel Robbins of St. Philip’s College (SPC) won second place and $3,000 for their business called Veteran’s Property Renovation that is a veteran-managed company targeting key renovations to maximize property values.
Alexandria Borrero, an NVC student, and Brian Etheridge, a student at Palo Alto College, won third place and $1,500 for their business called Ali-Rooz, which will offer custom screen-printed athletic wear produced and sold out of a “fashion truck” that can offer its products on site at events.
The first place honor and $5,000 went to Lakeisha Matthews, a student at SPC, Melissa Rodriguez, a SAC student, and Tracy Watts and Thermajean Jones, SPC faculty members, for their Kid Car-go business, which is a concept for a rideshare company to transport children using moms from the same school districts as drivers to work or after-school programs.
The competition was sponsored by Alamo Colleges’ The Learning Company, which is a six-week program that encourages student entrepreneurs to turn their “big ideas” into reality. Students and faculty participate in free innovation boot camps where they are trained and mentored by experienced instructors and business partners.
“I am so proud of the students and faculty members who have devoted a great deal of time and hard work to making their big ideas into real-world products and businesses,” said Alamo Colleges Chancellor Dr. Bruce Leslie. “We started The Learning Company to provide additional opportunities to our students to become successful entrepreneurs in a format designed specifically for community college students. With the support of our community partners and outstanding leadership, we have students who are already seeing their ideas realized,” he added.
Other teams also were recognized for their achievements. The Early Birdies team won the Change-Maker award. The Grindhouse award for perseverance went to the Showstopper team and the IC2 Best Business Model honor went to the Texas Revolution team. A number of other individuals from the Alamo Colleges District also were recognized for their encouragement and support of The Learning Company program and the teams.
Past winners of The Learning Company have gone on to launch companies, received funding from investors and begin manufacturing of their products.