Eyes on the prize


Have you ever come up with an idea you felt was worth $25,000? Or have you ever thought of a product or service you believe is deserving of the attention of several distinguished entrepreneurs, investors or Trinity faculty? Five teams of students at Trinity have been working on products, services and concepts over the course of the past year and are now preparing to present their enterprises to a panel of independent judges at the inaugural Stumberg Competition in hopes of acquiring up to $25,000 they could use to further develop their ideas.

On Monday, Nov. 16, five teams comprised of Trinity students will unveil and discuss their concepts: No So Pockets, Laundry Crew, Plova Chewing Gum, Denify and VHTChildLife4Kids. After evaluating a range of products and services, varying from adhesive apparel to gum that improves your oral health, the panel of judges will then select one team to win up to $25,000. This reward symbolizes the final stage of the two-part Stumberg Competition, which began with an open call for students and recent alumni in the 2015 spring semester; the aforementioned five teams were selected from this stage and have since been working on their product with mentors, planning their pitches and connecting with potential partners.

This competition presents several unique opportunities that allow several Trinity students to directly learn about and participate in the practice of entrepreneurship.

“The Stumberg Competition is a number of things. First, it’s the best of experiential learning; we have students learning how to establish and set up businesses, how to set up new products and services, find customers, sell products, operate and run a business. Second, it’s the best in entrepreneurial education. Entrepreneurship is something people do, as well as study, and this is a way of providing a space where students can do it all. Three, it’s a recognition of Trinity’s unique role in having a number of startups and businesses launch by both students and alumni. And four, it honors the unique contributions of Mr. Lewis Stumberg, not only to Trinity, but also the wider San Antonio area,” said Luis Martinez, director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

The Stumberg Competition also presents an opportunity for others unfamiliar with or interested in entrepreneurship to actively learn more.

“Students are encouraged to come watch, this is Trinity’s Shark Tank. This is the final round; all of these teams are real companies with a product or service. This is not an idea anymore. Over the last six months, we’ve taken them from the idea stage to their real company now. It’s been a huge learning game,” Martinez said.

Students will not only be participating and watching the competition unfold, but also running it.

“I helped to create this competition along with Dr. Martinez, and I run the competition every year,” said Nicole Garbarino, a junior marketing, management and entrepreneurship student.  

Preparation for this final stage has been in development for the past several months, and with great effort put into it, organizers are anticipating great success in this final stage, as well as the years to come.

“I have worked extremely hard to make this competition the best that it can be, and I can already say that this spring is going to be 10 times better than last year. Applications open in January after we get back from winter break and are open to all Trinity students. As long as the team leader attends Trinity, their team is eligible. We hope to have even more teams apply than last year and to increase the level of competition as well,” Garbarino said.

The teams have been required to put great effort and time into their concepts in order to prepare.

“To prepare for the competition and the judges, we had to create a one page executive summary, cash flow and income statement, customer/market analysis form, product/service description page, IP Status confirmation and Competitive Differentiation strategy,” said sophomore Vikram Patel.

As a member of the Plova Chewing Gum team, Patel has continued to work with other members of his team to make the most intriguing, successful product for the Stumberg Competiton.

“For our company, we have established our finalized product and found manufacturing and packaging companies that we will continue to work with in the future. We have also participated in multiple trade show events, presenting our gum to top hotel management Companies,” Patel said.

For Patel, the process has been rewarding and unforgettable so far.

“The most memorable moments so far have been pulling all-nighters with my team members to finish financial models and packaging for important events.”

A variety of students are entered in this competition, including two teams from the department of health care administration. As profit and non-profit organizations are allowed to compete, the variety of concepts and participants will allow for an exciting event. The competition will begin Monday, Nov. 16 in the CSI Innovation Cube at 5 p.m. with judging and a reception to follow.