Fort Worth Business Plan Competition Finalists Lean on MBA Students for Coaching

Since 2011, the Fort Worth Business Assistance Center, a resource for local entrepreneurs to start, grow and develop their businesses through workshops, programs and events, has hosted the annual Fort Worth Business Plan Competition.

The event offers special recognition to outstanding small business owners and entrepreneurs in the Fort Worth community. Participants compete for cash prizes and professional business services valued at more than $50,000.

Students from the TCU MBA program play an integral role in the competition. Each of the three finalists is paired with an MBA student-coach for a one-on-one consultation. Nick Fender, Zach Westbrook and Sidharth Rath, all second-year MBA students, served as coaches for the 2015 competition, which wrapped up on October 22.

“As an entrepreneur myself, it was relevant to my overall MBA experience because it gave me exposure to other business plans and pitches,” Fender says. “The more exposure to others’ work, the more understanding you gain of how the system works.”

Fender worked with Carolyn Phillips of Alchemy Pops, the first artisan frozen pop business founded and operated in Fort Worth. Westbrook was paired with Kenn Scott of ZooMeez, a unique children’s music and movement program designed to fight childhood obesity. Rath coached Kenya Bryant of Kingdem Consulting and Tax Preparation Services.

In addition to coaching from MBA students, finalists in the competition were provided one-on-one business counseling, attended professional development workshops and received instruction from industry experts.

Fender says the experience offered insight into a wide spectrum of ideas and highlighted the opportunities that exist for burgeoning entrepreneurs and MBA students alike. “Everyone has different perspectives on things,” he says. “The more perspectives you gather, the better you can become at putting together your piece of work.”

Scott of ZooMeez won first place, and Phillips of Alchemy Pops and Bryant of Kingdem Consulting and Tax Preparation Services took home the second- and third-place prizes, respectively. Awards include business counseling, marketing and website design consultations and memberships to professional organizations.

The Fort Worth Business Plan Competition is an example of how TCU students are valued members of the local community. Coaching entrepreneurs provides a unique experience for growth for MBA students and further exposure to experiential learning opportunities.

“It was interesting to get an idea of what types of businesses are developing in Fort Worth,” Fender says. “This competition really emphasized the number of resources out there, all willing to work with new businesses.”

Interested in getting a TCU MBA? Request more info about the Neeley School of Business graduate program or apply now

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