Houston Community College (HCC) and the Spring Branch nonprofit organization Newspring held their annual Business Plan Competition Awards Ceremony on May 2 at the Trini Mendenhall Community Center. With 135 local business owners, community leaders, judges, advisors, trainers and volunteers in attendance, the event was a culmination of three months of challenging business training for the participants.
From the 90 applicants and 33 teams chosen to compete, 24 teams completed the rigorous competition. The top five were selected to win approximately $35,000 in seed money and in-kind prizes to help fulfill their entrepreneurial dreams.
The winners of the 2017 HCC-Newspring Business Plan Competition are:
Stem Cell Security, 1st place, $12,000
SpenDebt, 2nd place, $8,000
Wanderlust Houston, 3rd place, $4,000
Accelerated Quality Solutions, Honorable Mention, $1,000
Summer Creek Dance Studio, Honorable Mention, $1,000
“Stem Cell Security really got off the ground because of our experience at HCC,” said Doris Taylor, a member of the 1st place team. “Not only did we gain invaluable insight from industry leaders and amazing advisers, we won funds that enable us to begin our journey. These funds will be used to create our early pitch media, will help us get our legal footing and will empower us to move into our first office space. SCS exists because HCC-Newspring kickstarted us.”
The business training provided from February through April was a critical part of the competition. “Having assigned advisors (an executive from BBVA Bank and a local CPA business owner) whom were 100 percent dedicated to asking tough questions, challenging the financial pro forma, and critiquing the business plan made this one of the best competitions,” said Kiley Summers, whose team won 2nd place. “Our biggest takeaway from the BPC was developing a three year financial pro forma and solidifying our business model to include an investment analysis.”
The Business Plan Competition organizers included nonprofit Newspring president Robert Westheimer, HCC Northwest College President Dr. Zach Hodges, business consultant and lead trainer Jack Barry and Sandra Louvier, director of HCC’s Center for Entrepreneurship.
Area businesses like LiftFund and Wallis State Bank made the event possible as major sponsors. “Everyone has a dream to be an entrepreneur and the Business Plan Competition provided the platform for the individuals to make their dream come true,” said Nasr Khan, executive vice president of Wallis State Bank. “Wallis State Bank is a top SBA Lender in the Houston District and we are committed in supporting the emerging business community.”
Other prize sponsors include Amegy Bank, Legacy Rags, MetroNational, Constant Contact, HD2Menus.com, PermitUsNow, CRES Real Estate ITRA Global, Houston West Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Today Media and Presentation Power.
For more information, visit: hccbizconnect.org
HCC is a Covering Katy sponsor.