Centers | Mays Impacts

Twenty Aggie-led startups competed in the only university-wide business plan pitch competition.

By Lara Robertson, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship at Texas A&M University

COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS March 8, 2022 – The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship hosted its fifth annual Aggie PITCH at the Doug Pitcock ’49 Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center Monday evening. Now open to both current and former students, Aggie PITCH is the only university-wide business plan pitch competition at Texas A&M and seeks to identify the best Aggie business pitches from across industries and sectors.

For the 2022 event, a total of 20 startups were selected as finalists to compete for the coveted McFerrin Cup and a share of more than $35,000 in prize money. Split into three divisions —Full Pitch for both current and former students and Elevator Pitch open to both — the competition gives startup founders the opportunity to pitch their business in a fast-paced, high-energy format to a panel of anonymous judges and an audience of students, professionals, mentors, possible investors and fellow Aggie entrepreneurs.

In the Full Pitch divisions, 10 teams were each given 10 minutes for their pitch. In contrast, the Elevator Pitch competitors were only given a 1-minute allotment for their pitch. Although the anonymous panel of judges was tasked with ranking and selecting the winners of the Full Pitch division, audience members were invited to take part and cast their vote to select for the winners of the Elevator Pitch division.

Finalists’ ventures at this year’s Aggie PITCH represent a variety of industries including agriculture, information technology, consumer products and energy technology, among others, and are now automatically admitted into an exclusive group of startup founders who are eligible to represent Texas A&M University at national and global entrepreneurial competitions.

Flux Works LLC took home first place in the Full Pitch division for current students and was awarded $7,500. Bryton Praslicka ’24, startup lead, reacted with, “Winning to us means that people are excited about our technology. People believe in our technology. And winning this demonstrates that, and that’s really incredible.” Flux Works LLC, a developer and manufacturer of magnetic gears, has now met their fundraising goal and plans to use the prize money to buy back their intellectual property from Texas A&M and move into product development.

Taking home top honors and also $7,500 in the Full Pitch division for former students was Wide Afternoon, LLC (Ovie). Ovie aims to solve the problem of food waste in homes with a digital smart tracking system and plans to use their winnings to purchase prototype samples to get their product into user homes for testing. “Winning Aggie PITCH is so amazing because it validates our idea, where we’re at. And to have our peers and industry professionals that we respect acknowledge that our company is on to something, and believe in us, it means the world. It’s fuel,” stated Ovie lead Stacie Thompson ’02.

“Aggie PITCH continues to be a highlight of our year at McFerrin. The energy in the room is palpable, from both the pitch teams and the audience members getting to experience an event like this,” stated Blake Petty ’98, executive director of the McFerrin Center. “In only our fifth year of Aggie PITCH, we’ve continued to see growth in both the quantity and quality of pitch competitors. Seeing entrepreneurs, specifically Aggie entrepreneurs, pitch their startup businesses to such a diverse, engaging crowd is something I’ll never grow tired of.”

2022 Aggie PITCH Winners

Full Pitch Division | Current Students
1st Place ($7,500): Flux Works LLC [Bryton Praslicka ’24, Daniel Zamarron ‘22]
2nd Place ($5,000): Teale [Narendra Vishnumolakala ’22, Connor Ust ’22]
3rd Place ($3,500): Flow-Pax [Haley Clark ‘23]

Full Pitch Division | Former Students
1st Place ($7,500): Wide Afternoon, LLC (Ovie) [Stacie Thompson ‘02]
2nd Place ($5,000): ClaraTech [Clara Orlean ‘20]
3rd Place ($3,500): SageSpectra [Madi Heck ’21, Mark Golla ‘22]

Elevator Pitch Division
1st Place ($1,500): South Texas Security Gates [Carson Neal ‘22]
2nd Place ($1,000): Imperium [Donald Bowen ‘25]
3rd Place ($750): Unravl Hair [Zanbria Asante ‘18]

A list of past Aggie PITCH winners can be found at aggiepitch.com.

About McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship

The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship serves as the hub for entrepreneurship at Texas A&M University. The McFerrin Center’s goal is to enhance entrepreneurial education by providing training, networking and assistance to enterprising students, faculty and former students.

The McFerrin Center enables the startup and growth of countless businesses and provides competitive opportunities, professional development and financial support to aspiring entrepreneurs in the Aggie community through the support of a robust volunteer mentor network, corporate supporters, faculty and staff.

The McFerrin Center defines entrepreneurship as an attitude that acts upon opportunity. In this spirit, the McFerrin Center strives to deliver programs and events that are inspiring, engaging, motivating and life-changing. This philosophy has resulted in the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship offering more than 30 unique programs each year that positively impact the lives of thousands of students, veterans and other professionals seeking to blaze their own trail as an entrepreneur.

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Media Contact: Lara Robertson, communications manager, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, 979- 845-1724, lrobertson@tamu.edu

Categories: Centers, Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, News, Programs, Staff, Students, Texas A&M

McFerrin Center has received the Nasdaq Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence Award celebrating the unique achievements and outstanding efforts of top entrepreneurship centers around the world.

The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship at Texas A&M University is pleased to announce it is joining an elite group of academic entrepreneurship centers as the newest recipient of the Nasdaq Center of Entrepreneurial Excellence Award. Bestowed upon McFerrin Center leadership at the 2021 Global Consortium for Entrepreneurship Centers (GCEC) annual conference in Baltimore, MD, this award recognizes the dedication and impact the McFerrin Center has made in serving the entrepreneurial community at Texas A&M, across the State of Texas, and beyond.

NASDAQ Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence - 2021 Award Winner

Founded in 1999 and housed in the Mays Business School, the McFerrin Center serves as the campus-wide hub for entrepreneurship at Texas A&M and is at the core of a flourishing entrepreneurial ecosystem. Central to their mission is the belief that anyone can be an entrepreneur and that successful entrepreneurial skills are best developed through cross-disciplinary and experiential learning. Embodied in the variety of experiences and programs offered, the McFerrin Center has become established as a leader in co-curricular education, applied research, and community engagement in entrepreneurship. Specific accomplishments recognized by the Nasdaq award include:

  • McFerrin Center’s annual offering of 30 unique programs and engagement of 14,000+ students from across 13 different Texas A&M colleges and A&M System campuses, along with countless other Former Student, non-student, and veteran entrepreneurs.
  • Leading innovations in entrepreneurial curriculum through the launch of the Master of Science in Entrepreneurial Leadership (MS-ENLD), an online Graduate Entrepreneurship Certificate (pending approval), as well as many other individual courses and modules taught across campus by the McFerrin Center team.
  • Support of world-class research initiatives that have resulted in over 20 research publications and recognition of research faculty with multiple prestigious awards within the last 5 years.
  • Engagement of multiple corporate and community partners, such as the Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation, along with a robust Mentor Network of over 220 individuals from a variety of fields and professional backgrounds.
  • Achieving long-term financial support, including a $10M naming gift from the McFerrin family, a $2M endowment by Reynolds & Reynolds Corporation for the Texas A&M Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans program, and numerous other grants, sponsorships, and charitable donations.

Created in 2000 by Nasdaq in association with GCEC, this Excellence Award honors select centers that have made and will continue to make enormous contributions in advancing entrepreneurship as the force in economic growth throughout the world. It also represents the highest honor that a university entrepreneurship center can receive.

Spencer, Petty, and Hughes accept the GCEC award for Texas A&M's McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship

When asked what this award means to the Center, Executive Director Blake Petty responded, “No one performs great work simply for the recognition they may receive. However, there are certain honors reflecting such a high standard of excellence, that acknowledgment reinforces the value and importance of that work. The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship has a small but fierce team doing amazing and impactful things across the entire university, and beyond. We are both humbled and proud to receive this recognition of excellence in our efforts.”

The Nasdaq Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence Award adds to a number of other recognitions that the McFerrin Center has earned in recent years, including GCEC’s 2020 Award for Exceptional Contributions in Entrepreneurship Research, and consistent rankings in the top 30 institutions for both undergraduate and graduate entrepreneurship programs by Princeton Review.

About the McFerrin Center

The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship’s goal is to enhance entrepreneurial education by providing training, networking, and assistance to enterprising students, faculty, and Former Students. The McFerrin Center defines entrepreneurship as an attitude that acts upon opportunity. In this spirit, the McFerrin Center strives to deliver programs and events that are inspiring, engaging, motivating, and life-changing. This philosophy has resulted in the McFerrin Center offering over 30 unique programs each year that positively impact the lives of thousands of students, veterans, and other professionals seeking to blaze their own trail as an entrepreneur.

The McFerrin Center enables the startup and growth of countless businesses and provides competitive opportunities, professional development, and financial support to aspiring entrepreneurs in the Aggie community through the support of a robust volunteer mentor network, corporate supporters, faculty, and staff.

For more information on the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, visit mcferrin.tamu.edu.

 

About the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers

The GCEC is the premier academic organization addressing the emerging topics of importance to the nation’s university-based entrepreneurship programs. It has become the vehicle by which the top, established entrepreneurship programs, as well as emerging programs, can work together to share best practices, develop programs and initiatives, and collaborate and assist each other in advancing, strengthening, and celebrating the role of universities in teaching the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. The GCEC membership includes 250 of the top university-based entrepreneurship programs from across the globe, and each year their conference is held on the campus of a GCEC member school. For more information on the GCEC, including its awards, visit their website.

Categories: Centers, Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, Mays Business, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, News, Texas A&M

Mays Business School’s McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship is proud to publicly announce the companies that were honored at the 17th Annual Aggie 100®. The celebration, held on Friday, October 22, recognized the fastest-growing Aggie-owned or Aggie-led businesses from across Texas and around the world.

Companies earning their way into the Top 10 in 2021, with growth rate, are:

10. Coleman & Patterson of College Station, Texas – 85.332%

9. Trinity Hughes Construction of Wichita Falls, Texas – 95.496%

8. Selery Fulfillment of Carrollton, Texas – 100.591%

7. Bradley Construction Management of Dallas, Texas – 101.979%

6. WPForms of West Palm Beach, Florida – 107.037%

5. Farmer Law PC of Austin, Texas – 108.415%

4. Bowie Capital of Richardson, Texas – 132.767%

3. Clavis Capital Partners of Dallas, Texas – 142.241%

2. IDC Valores of Guatemala, Guatemala – 221.711%

1. The Albers Group LLC of McKinney, Texas – 321.829%

MB2 Dental, LLC of Carrollton, Texas was also recognized as the 2021 Summit Award Winner, having achieved an average revenue of $303,313,667. In addition, MB2 Dental ranked #24 in this year’s Aggie 100® and is joining a select number of companies to achieve both of these recognitions in the same year.

Launched in 2005, Aggie 100® has become one of the McFerrin Center’s most recognized programs and an aspirational goal for Aggie entrepreneurs around the world. To be considered for the Aggie 100®, companies (corporations, partnerships, and sole proprietorships) must operate in a manner consistent with the Aggie Code of Honor and in keeping with the values and image of Texas A&M University. They must also meet specific criteria, such as being in business for at least five years and having at least one Aggie as an owner and/or in a select leadership role.

“As we mark our 17th Annual Celebration of the Aggie 100® program, we applaud the ingenuity, determination, and success of Aggie Entrepreneurs across the globe by raising up our newest class of Aggie 100® honorees,” says Blake Petty ’98, Executive Director of the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship. “Despite the tremendous challenges that all businesses have faced in the recent past (and present), the astounding levels of growth and prosperity exhibited by each member company in the Class of 2021 demands our respect, our recognition, and our privilege of welcoming them as the newest additions to our Aggie 100® family.”

A full listing of the 2021 Aggie 100® honorees with detailed ranking information was publicly released Friday evening and can be found at Aggie100.com.

About The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship

Aggie 100® was created by the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship which serves as the hub for entrepreneurship at Texas A&M University. The Center’s goal is to enhance entrepreneurial education by providing training, networking, and assistance to enterprising students, faculty, and former students.

The McFerrin Center enables the startup and growth of countless businesses and provides competitive opportunities, professional development, and financial support to aspiring entrepreneurs in the Aggie community through the support of a robust volunteer mentor network, corporate supporters, faculty, and staff.

The McFerrin Center defines entrepreneurship as an attitude that acts upon opportunity. In this spirit, the Center strives to deliver programs and events that are inspiring, engaging, motivating, and life changing. This philosophy has resulted in the McFerrin Center offering over 30 unique programs each year that positively impact the lives of thousands of students, veterans, and other professionals seeking to blaze their own trail as an entrepreneur.

 

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Media contact: Shanna Spencer, Assistant Director, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, shannaspencer@tamu.edu

Categories: Centers, Entrepreneurship, Mays Business, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, News, Programs, Texas A&M

Established in 1983, the Center for Retailing Studies at Mays Business School has developed future retail leaders to advance the world’s prosperity.

 

Texas A&M’s Center for Retailing Studies (CRS) launched a fundraising campaign today titled, “Supporting the Future of Retail,” to engage strategic partners from across the retailing community in support of the Center’s critical mission of Inspiring the Future of Retail. From its founding in 1983 as the first university center of excellence in retail through today, the mission of the Center remains focused on developing retail leaders and business knowledge for tomorrow.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated change in the retail industry, including the growth of eCommerce, the integration of digital and physical retail operating models, and opportunities to engage the industry in a dialog about the talent needs of retailers and consumer brands for a more integrated and omnichannel approach to the business moving forward. The campaign will feature a breadth of content developed to educate, engage, and energize the retail industry. The desired outcome of the campaign includes to bringing more organizations along with the mission of the Center by investing time, talent, and financial support critical to student success and developing future leaders of the retail industry.

Join CRS in your preferred channel to gain a well-rounded view of opportunities from now through the end of July 2021:

Highlights of partnership with CRS include:

  • Access to talent and future organization leaders from a recognized and valued business school
  • Access to research faculty and the ability to collaborate on relevant retail research that advances knowledge of a rapidly evolving business and consumer from a recognized and acclaimed Tier One research institution
  • Engagement in industry networking and thought leadership, providing access to the collective wisdom of leaders from across the retail ecosystem as well as the brand recognition
  • Influence on the future of retailing education, by playing a role in identifying the skills needed for future leaders of their organization, the industry at large, and investing in capabilities they view as critical to their future success.
  • Industry updates on recovery from the pandemic, and the impact of retail on serving the American consumer early into, during, and after the crisis

For information on becoming a corporate partner of the Center for Retailing Studies or to request a sponsorship proposal, please contact Lauren Osborne at 979.845.0325 or email losborne@mays.tamu.edu. We gratefully acknowledge and thank our current partner companies for investing in retailing education at Texas A&M University.

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About the Texas A&M Center for Retailing Studies (CRS)

Since opening in 1983, the Center for Retailing Studies has been respected throughout the world as a leading source of industry knowledge and a pipeline for developing future retail leaders.

In collaboration with the outstanding performance of the faculty at Mays Business School and excellence in student education programs, each year, more than 150 students complete coursework, internships, and leadership programs that prepare them for professional careers within the industry in store management, buying, merchandising, planning, business analytics, and supply chain.

Explore more on CRS: https://mays.tamu.edu/center-for-retailing-studies/

 

About Mays Business School

At Mays Business School, our vision is to advance the world’s prosperity. Our mission is to be a vibrant learning organization that creates impactful knowledge and develops transformational leaders. Mays Business School educates more than 6,400 undergraduate, masters, and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing, and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools for its programs and faculty research.

Say Howdy to Mays: https://mays.tamu.edu

Categories: Center for Retailing Studies, Centers, Donors Corner, Executive Speakers, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Programs, Research, Staff, Students, Texas A&M

Mays Business School’s master’s in management degree gives students in-classroom and high-impact experience

On December 2, students and faculty of the Master of Science in Business (MS-B) program gathered virtually to celebrate and share their semester-long projects from the Integrated Business Experience (IBE) class.

Young woman wearing mask around wrist, on face, and holding hair

Handy Mask, one business run by MS Business students

Associate Dean for Graduate Programs Arvind Mahajan said, “It’s an important day for our students as well as for our program. MS Business admits diverse undergraduate majors and invests in many ways to develop them as transformational leaders with entrepreneurial mindsets. This course is a perfect example of that change.”

The MS-B program is a graduate degree designed for non-business majors who want to grow their business knowledge to supplement their bachelor’s degree.

Various soaps with framed picture of Aggie skyline

Century Tree Soap Company’s soaps

 

Student Rigor

MS Business Program Director, Richard Castleberry, said of the students, “Other than students with great academics and backgrounds, a primary component we look for is students who show the Aggie Core Values of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect, and selfless service. We insist these traits display in our students, and I can say that the 62 students that are here today exhibit those Aggie core values.”

…Read more

Categories: Centers, Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, Management, Mays Business, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, MS Business, News, Programs, Students, Texas A&M

Shannon Deer, Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs at Mays Business School, hosted the 2019 Mays Business School Energy Symposium on March 15 at Texas A&M University’s CityCentre campus in west Houston. Attendees included current and former students representing Mays Houston-based degree programs in all areas of the energy sector.

Energy is one of the three Strategic Initiatives in Mays’ Strategic Plan.

Guy Baber ’06, Vice President of Investor Relations at Marathon Oil Corporation, delivered the keynote. He began with his family’s history in the field and his personal passion and commitment to the energy sector. His discussion included how market forces have changed the upstream landscape over the past several years and how investor preferences continue to evolve. He then fielded questions from those in attendance and remarked on how the industry will likely reach equilibrium once U.S. operators commit to growing production responsibly and living within cash flows.

…Read more

Categories: Centers, Energy, Executive Speakers, Featured Stories, Mays Business, MBA, News, Programs, Research, Students, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

Attendees at the annual Women in Technology Conference celebrated the 20th anniversary “Beelieve it or Not.” With a theme of hard-working bees, the conference brought together women to network and learn from others currently building their careers in information technology. It was hosted by the Center for the Management of Information Systems (CMIS) on March 1 in the Annenberg Center at George Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University.

Female students with an interest in information technology participated in roundtable discussions on topics such as lessons learned from senior executives, managers, professionals, and new graduates in the workforce. They discussed advice such as leadership, work-life balance, and new technology trends.

…Read more

Categories: Centers, Diversity and Inclusion, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

“Retail is about one simple thing: delighting customers”

Those are the words of Jim McIngvale, owner and founder of Gallery Furniture in Houston.

McIngvale, better known as “Mattress Mack,” spoke to more than 350 students, faculty, staff, and local business leaders for the 22nd annual M.B. Zale Visionary Merchant Lecture Series on Feb. 27 at Mays Business School.

Hosted by the Center for Retailing Studies, the M.B. Zale Visionary Award honors innovation and success in retail. Donald Zale, the son of the Zale Corporation founder, presented McIngvale with his award prior to his presentation.

For more than three decades, Gallery Furniture has been a staple of the Houston community. From their years of excellent customer service to McIngvale’s television catch-phrase “Gallery Furniture saves you money!” to the furniture retailer’s involvement in the local community – Jim McIngvale is a retail icon. …Read more

Categories: Center for Retailing Studies, Centers, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

Many people believe an entrepreneur is someone who starts a business, but at their core entrepreneurs are simply problem solvers.

While studying to receive a degree in International Studies, Bryce Watson ’16 was invited to travel to China to aid a local non-profit. During his time there, Watson heard countless stories of the harsh working conditions that factory employees faced every day. Employees worked 80-hour weeks in dangerous environments for little pay, and many had been seriously injured on the job. By the end of his trip Watson had heard enough. He returned to Texas A&M University determined to find a way to improve workers’ rights in developing nations. “I wanted to do something about this,” Watson said. “I didn’t just want to learn about it, I wanted to solve the problem.”

Watson quickly realized he was attacking a complex issue. “We started to discover that these multi-national corporations have hundreds of sub-contractor manufacturing facilities that are only audited once or twice a year,” he said. “They have very little incentive to make sure their operating procedures are safe for their employees.”

…Read more

Categories: Centers, Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, News, Students, Texas A&M

By Kiera Merritt ’19

The United States Department of Labor predicts, “Today’s learners will have eight to10 jobs by the age of 38.” A majority of these future jobs do not even exist yet. For instance, people interested in both robotics and law could become robotics ethicists to mitigate issues such as ownership of and culpability for decisions made by machines. Because of modern technological innovation, once unimaginable opportunities are becoming new careers.

On Jan. 25, Christopher Bishop – a nonlinear, multimodal careerist – provided students at Texas A&M University with insight into succeeding in these fields of the future. Throughout his life, Bishop continuously redeveloped his skills and created new jobs for himself.

He toured internationally as a musician with artists such as Robert Palmer and Chuck Berry; wrote advertising jingles, including the original “Gimme a Break” Kit Kat jingle; turned a conversation on a commuter train into a 12-year career at IBM; and now delivers presentations on the future of work around the world.

Each time Bishop switched careers, he focused on three fundamental tools for success:

  • Voice. Identify your own brand. Invest in what makes you stand out. Frame your persona on your own uniqueness.
  • Antenna. Connect your interests to events in the world. Seek sources based on your values and interests that help you stay informed. These sources include magazines, newspapers, blogs, YouTube videos, podcasts, or other forms of media.
  • Mesh. Share yourself with those who value your skills. LinkedIn is a valuable tool. Expand your network by adding at least five people each week. Reach out to others who share your interests and goals, and join groups to expand your connections. This puts you on the radar of people you would otherwise miss.

While creating new jobs can be a daunting process, the trepidation behind progress is nothing new. In fact, in 1589, Queen Elizabeth I refused to issue a patent for a mechanized knitting machine, “for fear it [would] put [her] poor subjects out of work.” However, the new workforce should look to the future without hesitation because, as Bishop stated, “As long as there are problems, there will be jobs.”

The Mays Innovation Research Center hosted this event.

Categories: Centers, Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, Jobs, Mays Business, Mays Innovation Research Center, News, Research, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M