Category Archives: Entrepreneurship

Students-turned-entrepreneurs in TechCon: Free admission

Not too late to make it to make it to TechCon2011 free (click here). TechCon International works to expose new technologies developed, sold and implemented in Texas to businesses and consumers. And one such business on exhibit is our very own PREE, started by former UTSA students from the Small Business Entrepreneurship program.

Two products to mention, the PREEcharge™ wireless charger and the Baby M.A.T™ wireless baby monitor. Both products were designed by engineers in the College of Engineering and competed in the $100K New Technology Student Venture Competition, and both placed!

Don’t skip this opportunity to see some of the newest technologies being developed right here. Visit with Matt Jackson, Amanda DeKay and Edward Rigas, and then you can one day about the students-turned-entrepreneurs, “I knew them when…”

If you could work for any start-up, which one would you choose?

If you could work for any start-up in the country, which one would you choose? That was the question posed to readers of TechCrunch recently, and you may be surprised to learn the results of over 5,000 votes.

Yes, Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and Foursquare each had roughly the same number of votes. And some of the up and coming start-ups that made the list of votes: Dropbox, Instagram, and Techmeme.

But the all time, number one start-up that received the most votes on the question which start-up would you most like to work for?

Your own start-up.

UTSA Business Students partner with Canary Island Engineers

A few business students from UTSA spent 3 weeks in Spain’s Canary Islands playing on the beach, sleeping late, and basically doing nothing.
NOT!

Daniel, David, Randy, Tony, Kim, Rochelle, Tyler, Taylor, Ivan, Matt, Liliana, and Rebecca went to the Canary Islands (which is located 70 miles north of Morocco), and for one long week of writing and working with engineering students from the Islands, competed in a Business Plan Competition. 6 teams, each comprising 2 business students and 1 engineer, met for the first time 6 days before the competition. They wrote the business plans, in both English and Spanish, presented in both English and Spanish to a committee of international judges. If that wasn’t one big fright, ask any one of them.

Not only were they phenomenally successful, 4 of the Spanish engineers who participated in the competition are coming to San Antonio in early September to seek out more advice and assistance with their business ideas. (Check out the San Antonio Business Journal article.)

And the winners are…..

….absolutely everyone who presented at the CITE $100K Student New Technology Venture Start-Up Competition held on Saturday April 23 at the downtown campus of UTSA.

Nine teams competed and the top three teams carried place awards:

umd industries placed 1st
The EGLD or electrolytic gastric leak detector detects leaks in gastric bypass surgery. Student team includes Taylor Bobb, Daniel Escaloni, Justin Hoffman, Michael Horwath, Absalon Lyra, Jennifer Schmidt and Karin Thornsburg.

Atalis placed 2nd
ATALIS offers a RFID-based technology that identifies and weighs bottles stocked by business and bar owners in real-time to determine if the correct amount and type of alcohol is used for a particular drink and to determine if the charge is correct. Student team includes Zachery Chaney, Mark Foresman, Clayton King, Ryan Mertz, Laura Phinney, Mark Ramsower and Wesley Richard.

VOIDD placed 3rd
Voice Detection for the Deaf offers a mobile technology to assist in the awareness of surroundings of the deaf and hard of hearing by integrating an alerting wristband with a mobile phone application. Student team includes Domingos Francisco, Marlena Gonzales, Joaquim Dos Santos Jaime, Kelley Poindexter, Roberto Sierra and Ahmad Turki.

Congratulations to all the entrepreneurs!

Check out the list of all the competitors.

About to finish a marathon!!!

Today is the 150th Boston Marathon. For those who don’t know, it is the elite marathon and in order to compete one has to qualify. Back sometime when, I qualified, twice, but life got in the way each time and I never did get to run Boston.

The editor of Running Magazine said today that he is always inspired when he watches the runners leave the starting gate and cross the finish line. Running with the elite runners is preparing for life, run the best you can with the best.

On Saturday, April 23, another kind of marathon is happening – the CITE $100K Student Venture Start-up Competition. Nine teams, 60 students, and one heck of a training semester. To me, my inspiration is watching everyone struggle through the semester, and come out winners – EVERYONE! Sure someone is ranked first, second and third. But to compete makes everyone a winner.

Please join us on Saturday, downtown campus at UTSA 12:30pm.
GO TEAM GO!!!!

Are we business friendly?

Is Texas a business friendly state?

And how do we compare to the rest of the nation? The Small Business Entrepreneurship Council provides a report that ranks all of the states on their small business survival rate. The “Small Business Survival Index” ties together 38 major government-imposed or government-related costs impacting small businesses and entrepreneurs across industries and types of businesses. These costs are items such as personal income tax, corporate tax, property taxes, health care regulations, and even crime. Since these are the items that impact the success, or failure, of small business, it makes sense to rank each state accordingly. The “Small Business Survival Index” manages to capture much of the governmental burdens affecting entrepreneurship—state by state.

Texas ranks number 3. In other words, compared to other states Texas provides greater incentives to invest and take risks than 47 other states plus the District of Columbia.

But where we fail is in educating the entrepreneur. As Dr. Larry Plummer, an assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship at the University of Oklahoma, recently said:

The commercialization of an innovation can be more difficult than the technological breakthrough in the first place. Focusing on entrepreneurship in our policies is a recognition of the other half of the story.

We need to do a better job encouraging and educating entrepreneurs across the spectrum. Plummer says that this starts in high school, continues through college, and even includes educational efforts in the business world. Entrepreneurship is a life-long learning process, often accompanied by productive failure along the way.

Check out the entire index at sbecouncil.org.

Startup of a Startup

Startup America is a new campaign to inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation. The Startup America Partnership is a coordinated public/private effort that brings together an alliance of the country’s most innovative entrepreneurs, corporations, universities, foundations, and other leaders, who work in concert with a wide-range of federal agencies to dramatically increase the prevalence and success of American entrepreneurs.

The United States government and the Obama administration held a webcast this morning and announced a new endeavor to jump-start innovation and entrepreneurship: “Startup America Partnership to Foster Innovative, High-Growth Firms in United States”. Some of the issues they will address in this partnership:
Finding capital
Mentoring and counseling
Veteran assistance
And perhaps most importantly:

Not just giving entrepreneurs the tools they need but removing the barriers they encounter and stifle small entrepreneurs.

We heard from policy makers on what they plan to do, but the most significant speakers were the entrepreneurs themselves. They applauded the platform to influence policy on small business and entrepreneurship development. In the coming months, this partnership will host “Empowering Entrepreneurs”, round table discussions in cities across the country on the specific barriers that touch all entrepreneurs.

This endeavor has the opportunity of positively influencing growth and development of entrepreneurship by involving not just government offices, but entrepreneurs. For more information, go to StartupAmerica.org.

1 in 2 of you could fail, unless…

My friend Ashleigh Davis has a great blog Ashford Davis, Adding Integrity to Your Online Identity shared an infographic in her January 24 post that I can’t help but share. So pertinent to the entrepreneurs at UTSA who own or are starting a business. I took part of the infographic, which is from Intuit, for you to see. It’s not pretty, as the information tells us that 50% of all new start-ups fail within 5 years. One in two.
The good news? Teaching entrepreneurs about due diligence increases the survival rate. The due diligence starts with “what and how big is the problem, who is the customer that has this problem, and what makes you think you have the solution!!” Check out the graphic below. And check out Ashleigh’s blog.

I’ve changed my mantra of work hard, get good grades and get a job: Become an entrepreneur!

I didn’t say this, but I wish I had. But you know I believe it and therefore I will let someone else say it here, and I will support it:

And where do you suggest many of these young people get a “real” job in the first place? The Mall? Wal-Mart? Reality check: Millennials are no longer beneficiaries of the hand-out, resume-driven society of old. Boomers and Gen Xers need to stop training Gen Y to believe that the mantra of ‘work hard, get good grades, go to school and get a job’ that they were told to buy into, is alive and well. It’s not — it’s dead — and now it needs to be buried for good.

Fact: there are over 81 million young people unemployed worldwide. And this number does not account for the tens — if not hundreds — of millions more that are underemployed. It’s becoming more and more apparent that in today’s world, young people will need to create a job to keep a job. Millennials need to re-train themselves to become self-sufficiency experts capable of generating their own incomes. I truly believe everyone can become entrepreneurial and partner with individuals whose strengths fill in gaps and weaknesses. The key is for us to stop thinking “Facebook” and start thinking about practical, nuts-and-bolts, income-generating, on-the-ground businesses. When we finally turn that corner, Gen Y will truly become the most entrepreneurial generation in history.

Read the whole article by Donna Fenn regarding Scott Gerber’s Never Get a Real Job: How to Dump Your Boss, Build a Business and Not Go Broke (Wiley, Dec. 7, 2010).

Sell Your Expertise

Mashable offers daily information to the entrepreneur, whether as advice, suggestions, or a teaser. I mean “teaser” as a way to entice the entrepreneurial spirit to think about creating something new. A recent article was a real tease for me: 5 Ways to Sell Your Expertise

I thought about you, the one who is thinking, “I know something that other people would like to know but I don’t know how to share it, much less make money from it!” So read the Mashable article, but the highlights are below:

1. Develop a newsletter

TinyLetter and letter.ly are two new services that allow you to quickly and easily create and sell subscription-based e-mail newsletter.

2. Provide consulting

One easy way to sell your advice is Ether. Ether is a web app that provides users with a toll-free 888 telephone number that forwards to your existing phone line.

3. Write an e-book…really!

Think about what you know and about how it could be expanded into a 40- or 50-page book.
Once you’ve created your book, you can sell it as a PDF download using a service like DPD or PayLoadz

4. Provide webinar

By holding a paid webinar, you’re literally charging people to watch you talk about and demonstrate whatever it is that you have to share.

5. Teach an online course

Using an app like Litmos, Odijoo or WiZiQ, you can create and sell web-based classes