University Students and Small Business Owners Work Together to Achieve the American Dream

Published: September 13, 2013

University Students and Small Business Owners Work Together to Achieve the American Dream

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas- Owning a small business is part of the American dream.  These days, even more students are helping make that dream a reality at the Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center (CBBIC), while getting hands-on experience in the real world of business. 

In addition to four graduate assistants and four research assistants, the CBBIC now has four interns.  Juan Sebastian Garzon, who started at the CBBIC over a year ago as a volunteer, now works as a graduate assistant in the Center. He helps business incubator clients in the areas of marketing, finance and accounting. Garzon says the internships give students something that their counterparts at other universities don’t get.

“Students from other schools learn the same concepts and theories that we learn, but they don’t get the real world experience provided to us through the Innovation Center,” said Garzon. “Here students are making relationships with CEOs and business owners who may someday be their future employers.”

 One of the 29 businesses that currently benefits from the assistance of students, like Garzon, is Coltarus Halo, an emerging IT company that’s currently in the CBBIC’s incubation program.

Julius Cavazos, CEO of Coltarus Halo, says the students are always there to lend a hand, whether it is helping them explore ways to get financed or just as someone to bounce ideas off of.  

 “One way they have helped us is in trying to find new ways to pitch ideas to our clients,” said Cavazos. “We sometimes word things too technically. The students will help us reword our proposals to make them easier to understand.”

 Garzon, who graduates in December with a master’s degree in Business Administration, says each internship lasts for two to three months and each intern has a specific project to work on during that time.

 “One intern is working on an investor package that all of the clients can use, while another is making videos for four clients,” said Garzon. “We set our standards really high, so we get the best students at the University.”

 Garzon says those high standards ensure that the small business clients of the CBBIC are getting the highest-quality assistance available.

 Incubation Center Manager David Fonseca agrees with Garzon. He credits the students with serving a valuable purpose for these startup companies by providing research with copyright laws, client testing, marketing data, and finding affordable manufacturing.

 “The Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center is here to help diversify the business community around us while helping create jobs,” said Fonseca. “We are striving to make a better overall quality of life for, not only our students, but all stakeholders involved in the process.”