February 18, 2014

Entrepreneurial TCU Student Wins “Shark Tank Challenge”

GabbyWith the support of the Neeley Entrepreneurship Center, Gabrielle McBay won first place and $5,000 in the Alley Scholars Shark Tank Challenge, beating out students from SMU and the University of Arkansas.

“After 3 months of competition for startup funding for college companies around the U.S...I am now the first recipient of the Alley Scholars Shark Tank Award. Today was the final round and I walked away with 1st place,” TCU student Gabrielle McBay tweeted of her accomplishment.

Out of 25 teams from Texas and Arkansas who entered the competition last November, four were chosen to present their business plans at the Alley Scholars Summit: one from TCU, one from SMU and two from the University of Arkansas.

Competitors were required to create a 30-page business report and then present their plan for a new business venture before a distinguished panel of judges that included: Shama Kabani, CEO of Marketing Zen; Bobby Lyle, CEO of Lyco Holdings; Bob Storey, CEO of Vapotherm; and Shawn Taylor, CEO of Zaxby’s.

Gabrielle won $5,000 for her business plan for Ellements Gourmet Sweet Mix. “I want to thank everyone that has supported me,” she tweeted. “All of the hard work, stress, and emotional moments...it's starting to pay off.”

This was the first annual Alley Scholars Shark Tank Challenge, part of the Alley Scholars Summit/Expo targeting diverse undergraduate students for all majors.

Other activities at the February summit in Dallas included interactive workshops, student forums, a career fair and networking opportunities.

The TCU entrepreneurship program was a vital part of the event. David Gras, assistant professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at the Neeley School of Business at TCU, served on a panel discussing “Entrepreneurship: What Makes a Successful Entrepreneur?”  

TCU entrepreneurial management major Tanner Agar served on a panel titled “Fundamental Career Skills.” Tanner, a national winner in the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization Elevator Pitch Competition, talked about the importance of being a great presenter.

Participants in the Alley Scholars Summit/Expo included university presidents, deans from business and engineering schools, CEOs of major companies and college students from throughout Texas and Arkansas.

Alley Scholars is a non-profit organization founded by Troy C. Alley, Jr. and his wife Unnice with support from the Gerald and Candace Alley Foundation. The organization assists deserving students with their education, career and life goals by providing scholarships, networking workshops and career opportunities through internship programs, job fairs and an annual summit. 


Elaine Cole
PR Manager, Neeley School of Business at TCU