Discover Your Island

New Islander Venture Fund Supports Student Entrepreneurs

May 04, 2016

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas –Two start-up companies led by Island University students received $10,000 to continue their business plans from the newly established Islander Venture Fund.

Derek Drozd received $7,500 to continue development of an online platform called The Mobile Fitness Network that enables the everyday working individual to book in-home training from qualified fitness professional at an affordable price.

Shelby Polasek and Vanessa Galindo received $2,500 for their product, The Quick Clip Reminder, 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.

“I’m incredibly grateful,” Drozd said. “I wouldn’t be where I’m today without all the love, support and encouragement from these incredible people.”

The Islander Venture Fund was established by Charles and Martha DeCou, who wanted to specifically support students with innovative thinking and great ideas for new products. The DeCous, including several family members, selected the fund recipients earlier this month after hearing them pitch their plans.

The DeCous have pledged to continue the Venture Fund in the next two academic years.

“The Venture Fund investment is the next step in the process to support student entrepreneurial activities,” said Dr. John Gamble, Dean of the College of Business.  “This gives students the opportunity to learn how to make a real pitch to investors and obtain seed money for their ventures.”

It is my no means the last step, either, Gamble said. Statistics suggest the likelihood of success for startups is slim, and the students will receive support and guidance from the College’s faculty with entrepreneurial expertise.

Drozd, Polasek and Galindo participated earlier this year in the Buc Days Ideas Challenge Showcase where they received prize money and a membership to the Coastal Bend Business Innovation Student Incubator. Read more about that event here