Trinity hosts competition for young entrepreneurs


The second annual Stumberg Prize Competition for aspiring entrepreneurs at Trinity has now begun. Students wishing to enter will submit a business plan, pitch it, and ultimately compete for the chance to win a grant of up to $30,000 to help turn the idea into a reality.

Nicole Garbarino, a junior at Trinity and one of the people who helped create the Stumberg Prize, states that the competition is aimed at helping Trinity students pursue their goals and ideas as future entrepreneurs.

“It’s really to try and help people at Trinity be able to start the [business] ventures that they want to. A lot of people don’t have the capital to pursue the ideas that they have “¦ We’re allowing people to start pursuing what they’re dreaming of “¦ It’s also to try to help entrepreneurship in San Antonio in general, hoping that a lot of these kids who create these great businesses will stay here, so it’s both  for Trinity and for San Antonio,” Garbarino said.

This is the second year that the Stumberg Competition will be held, and applications are now open.

“Last spring was the first competition that we held, and it’s both in the spring and in the fall, so we just finished our first full round, and we just opened up applications for our second year.”

Luis Martinez, director of the center for innovation and entrepreneurship, believes that the Stumberg Competition is a way for students to become engaged in the learning process.

“Entrepreneurship is something that’s done. It’s not something that’s necessarily studied in a classroom. So this is a way of really having our students engaged in the actual learning process of starting and launching their own businesses,” Martinez said.

One such student who succeeded in starting his own business is Cole Evans, who won the 2015 Stumberg Prize with his partners Thayer Selleck and Vik Patel and created Plova, a business that manufactures chewing gum that simultaneously cleans teeth.

“We created Plova Chewing Gum, and it’s an oral care product in the form of gum. It cleans your teeth while you’re on the go. Kinda like mouthwash, but in the form of chewing gum. I created it in high school with a mentor of mine who worked in the oral care business. On the first day of Dr. Martinez’s entrepreneurship class, I pitched it to the class, and we formulated a team and entered it in the competition,” Evans said.

After winning the competition in 2015, the Plova team has continued to grow their company, and they are grateful for the opportunities the Stumberg Prize Competition has given them.

“We were lucky enough to be admitted to a national pitch competition hosted by Under Armour out in Baltimore on February 19. We get to present to the CEO of Under Armour and some guys from Shark Tank. We couldn’t have gotten to where we are right now without Stumberg, so we are really thankful for the opportunity to be a part of it and being lucky enough to win,” Evans said. “Kids who are trying to create something should definitely be a part of it because it can only help.”

Martinez encourages students to apply, and explains that he hopes the competition fosters growth in Trinity’s young entrepreneurs.

“For those that are applying, one thing we want our students to get out of this is that Trinity is committed to helping them realize their entrepreneurial drives and desires for real while they’re students,” Martinez said. “We hope our students have the opportunity to think about what their passions are, or problems they’d like to solve, and develop new ventures and develop new initiatives that will address and solve those problems. Our hope is that one of the outcomes is that students develop more and better ideas, and put those ideas to a real test.”

The deadline is February 29 and can be found at