STC business students earn first place in local entrepreneur challenge
Two South Texas College students competed at the Commodities Integrated Logistics (CiL) Entrepreneur Challenge recently at the McAllen Convention Center. Gilbert Barrera and Samantha Sauri, students in STC’s Operations Management bachelor’s program, competed and won first place among other colleges and universities across the state.
It was a big win for two South Texas College students at the Commodities Integrated Logistics (CiL) Entrepreneur Challenge recently hosted at the McAllen Convention Center.
The competition was open to local college and university students like Gilbert Barrera and Samantha Sauri, students in STC’s Operations Management bachelor’s program.
The duo worked tirelessly, morning, noon and night for a week, to complete their entrepreneurial idea that was presented to a panel of six judges who are business professionals in the region and an audience of peers, faculty, staff, family and friends.
“I was so nervous; this was a first for me,” said Sauri. “I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to compete, but my instructor Ruben Flores encouraged me to do it, and I’m so glad he did. It was the best learning experience I could have asked for.”
Barrera said surprisingly, as a local medical assistant instructor, the public speaking got him nervous too, but the confidence he had in their project and the endless mock presentations done in front of their STC instructors, made the experience less scary.
“It was intimidating watching people file into the presentation room. We had no idea there’d be so many people,” he said. “But we did it; together. In the end, everything was worth it.”
“We were handed several cards from possible investors; people actually interested in making our product a reality. It’s surreal for us; even hearing our name as the first-place winners was unreal. We worked hard though…it was fulfilling and rewarding.”
Barrera and Sauri competed against and beat out other higher education institutions such as the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and Texas A&M University, winning first place and $2,000 with their pitch, a company named “Judgement Armory,” which would sell active shooter alarm systems for schools and businesses, similar to a fire alarm system, but with blue flashing lights instead of red.
“As a mom, I know how scary it is to drop your children off at school while praying that they come home safe,” said Sauri. “So, with the increase of active shooter incidents in schools, we decided that this would be a perfect product to introduce, and it turned out to be a winner. I couldn’t believe it. It was a memorable moment...we are so happy.”
Barrera added that their project was impressive, garnering interest among investors who approached them after the competition.
“We were handed several cards from possible investors; people actually interested in making our product a reality,” said Barrera. “It’s surreal for us; even hearing our name as the first-place winners was unreal. We worked hard though…it was fulfilling and rewarding.”
Flores, instructor and program chair for STC’s Bachelor of Applied Technology in Technology Management, said his students’ vision, dedication and commitment to this project, was impressive.
“I’m immensely proud of my students,” said Flores. “They gave a seamless presentation on a product that can prevent the loss of life. Without a doubt, these students are going to go far, and we’re going to help them get there.”
Flores plans on mentoring and helping Barrera and Sauri move forward with a solid business plan to help put their idea and business into action.
Barrera and Sauri, who decided to return to college after numerous years out of a classroom, said this was the “cherry on top” to a journey that has introduced them to new skills and discoveries about themselves.
Their degrees, which are expected to be completed by this summer, will help them promote within their organizations and now, maybe, start a business.
For more information on STC’s Operations Management bachelor’s degree program, visit southtexascollege.edu.