CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – They experienced the Island University together as roommates, best friends and college athletes, and now Shelby Polasek and Vanessa Galindo are embarking on a new journey together as inventors.
Polasek and Galindo both graduated from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in May 2016. Polasek received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing with a minor in entrepreneurship and Galindo received a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology with a concentration on allied health.
In February 2016, the seniors entered their invention, the Quick Clip Reminder, into the Buc Days Ideas Challenge. The first-ever business concept competition is a hallmark feature of the College of Business Entrepreneurship Program and is supported by the Corpus Christi Buccaneer Commission. The competition was open to all students at the Island University, regardless of major. Polasek and Galindo won first place in that competition and gained an automatic entry into the 2016 Raymond Ideas Challenge held May 4 at Texas A&M University-College Station.
At the Raymond Ideas Challenge, Polasek and Galindo placed fifth out of 60 entries and were awarded Honorable Mention for their product. The Quick Clip Reminder was also one of three products at the challenge that was selected for development based on its feasibility, so the dynamic duo are now working with the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE) in College Station to design a prototype of their invention.
“We gained a lot of real world experience being put up against the top thinkers at A&M,” said Polasek. “It was intense for our little simple idea to make it as far as it did because we were the first students not attending College Station to participate in the Raymond Challenge. We came in as the underdog and it felt great to be recognized.”
The Quick Clip Reminder is a small, non-invasive personalized audio recording device that plugs into a car’s cigarette lighter and allows the user to record a personal message to be played back upon turning on and off the car.
“The Quick Clip Reminder was initially created to help parents to avoid the sometimes fatal oversight of leaving a child in a hot car, but we soon realized the invention could help someone remember almost anything – a purse, cell phone, grocery list. The possibilities are endless,” said the pair.
The CNVE product development is valued at approximately $1,500 to $2,500.
“We felt on top of the world because we won what we wanted most,” said Galindo. “We feel like our win shows how much the Island University is growing. When we won, the folks at College Station gave a big speech about how proud they were to give the prize to a sister school.”
As a Buc Days Ideas Challenge finalist, the two new graduates have become Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center clients and will gain assistance from the Business Innovation Center with product patenting and licensing. Polasek and Galindo plan to use $2,500 awarded by the College of Business Entrepreneurship Program Islander Venture Fund to cover the cost of obtaining patents and developing licensing agreements. The Islander Venture Fund has been funded by Charles and Martha DeCou, who wanted to directly support entrepreneurially-minded students with great ideas for new products.
The pair thank their Island University faculty, Entrepreneurship faculty mentors Drs. Kent Byus, Randall Harris, and Andrew Johnson, and others for their tremendous support.
“Dean Gamble and professors in the College of Business checked in with us frequently and offered their help,” said Polasek. “They even put together special conference rooms for us to do practice pitches. It felt like we had a group of parents helping us out.”
Polasek and Galindo say this is just the beginning of the entrepreneurial journey. As their inaugural product develops, they find themselves regularly thinking of fresh, new ideas.
“I love having an entrepreneurial mindset,” said Polasek. “I even have a notebook that I am constantly filling with new ideas.”
Galindo says even though her degree was in kinesiology, participating in the Ideas Challenges was a great value to her education.
“It opened up my eyes,” she said. “I realized I don’t necessarily need a degree in entrepreneurship to be an entrepreneur. I now have dreams of inventing something for use in the health care industry.”