Discover Your Island

Islander Entrepreneurs Pitch Winning Business Designs at Buc Days Ideas Challenge Showcase

February 17, 2016


CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A recording device that could save lives. An app for college students to save money when buying and trading textbooks. An online network that allows fitness clients to pay fair market value for trainers and yoga instructors. Three finalist groups made up of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi students each performed a live pitch of their entrepreneurial ideas for a panel of celebrity judges as part of the Buc Days Ideas Challenge Showcase and Scholarship Luncheon on February 9, at the American Bank Center.

“We’re very proud of what our students are doing in the College of Business,” said Dr. John Gamble, Dean of the College of Business (COB). “It’s exciting to see them apply the concepts they are learning in entrepreneurship courses.”

In its inaugural year, the Buc Days Ideas Challenge is a business concept competition that was open to students at the Island University and supported with money from the Buccaneer Commission.

“Buc Days is best known for its rodeo and festival, but what people might not know is that all the proceeds from our events go to support scholarship funds,” said Johnny Philipello, President and CEO of the Buccaneer Commission.

Winners are as follows:

First place: The Quick Clip Reminder: It was developed by Shelby Polasek and Vanessa Galindo. The product, a universal seat belt attachment with built in audio recorder, allows users to record messages that will automatically play back once the seatbelt is unbuckled.

“Our product idea was inspired by a story I heard a few years ago about a child who died after being left in a car,” said Polasek. “The tragedy stuck with me and I knew there was something I could do about it.”

Polasek and Galindo won $3,000, a one-year membership to the Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center Student Incubator, and acceptance as a Top 40 semi-finalist in the Raymond Ideas Challenge at Texas A&M University-College Station.

Second place: The Mobile Fitness Network: Developed by Derek Drozd, the online platform enables the everyday working individual to book in-home training from qualified fitness professional at an affordable price. For fitness professionals, the Mobile Fitness Network, will eliminate the revenue percentage split with gyms, and for clients, will offer affordable training in a less-intimidating environment – their home. Drozd won $2,000 and a one-year membership to the Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center Student Incubator.

Third place: Islander Book Exchange (IBE): IBE, developed by Charles Saunders, Maria Cabrera, Derek Sudderth and Zachary Salinas, is described as a new and innovative way to acquire textbooks in the form of a mobile application. IBE strives to solve a popular problem among college students—expensive textbooks—by allowing students to trade, buy and sell used textbooks within the student campus community. Members of IBE won $1,000 and a one-year membership to the Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center Student Incubator. IBE also won first prize in the Best Video category and the group took home an additional $500 prize.

The Ideas Challenge provided students with a way to test business ideas, technology or innovations in a competitive setting. The three finalist groups were selected by COB entrepreneurial faculty and friends and supporters of the COB and the Buc Days Commission as having developed the most promising innovations and entrepreneurial concepts from a pool of more than 40 entries.   

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