Contest helps local entrepreneurs get businesses off the ground

A new type of competition in Houston is giving local entrepreneurs a chance to grow their businesses.

You know the popular TV series Shark Tank, where budding entrepreneurs try and get big moguls to invest in them? Houston has a something similar, but without the bite.

With an idea and hard work, businesses can become a reality thanks to a new local contest.

Desiree Worrell-Moseley pointed proudly to her budding young daycare, Sproutstart on Friday saying “We cater to kids ages four months to six years old.”

The company, which began in 2012, now employs seven people. Its business model includes renting space during the weekdays from a church that doesn’t use the facility then.

Worrell-Moseley adds, “We currently have almost 30 families at this location and we're looking to open another in the Heights as well as in Katy.” 

For her, the fourth time is charm. “I had three failed businesses prior to that.” she said.“I entered into the business plan competition after sitting in a failed business thinking 'well I have nothing to lose at this point.'”

Houston Community College partners with faith based non- profit NewSpring for the annual contest.

It is open to everyone. Students must first take an approved business course. From about 60 applicants, roughly half continue on - and are paired with two experienced advisors to create a business plan.

Retired CEO Jack Barry runs the contest.

“We want to do only what experienced people can do and that's help the next generation succeed.” he said.

There have been some great success stories like Sam’s Safety Equipment and Got Dirty Blinds?

“We've had companies go from start up to six million in three years.” Barry said.

Each year five winning teams get cash prizes of up to $12,000. The real prize though? The priceless advice and relationships.

Retired CPA & Arthur Anderson partner, Robert Westheimer, still mentors Worrell-Moseley. Westheimer is offering to help her find investors for her expansion, saying “You’re proven. You’re bankable. A larger group of investors would look at you as a terrific opportunity.”

At 28, Worrell-Moseley can now see a big problem with beginning entrepreneurs. She says it’s tunnel vision.

In the past nine years, Newspring has helped 250 companies break out of their tunnel vision, giving them a real-world look at what their companies could do.

For more information on how to register click here.


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment