February 10, 2009


Students across Texas took their economic situation into their own hands by starting their own business and entering the TCU Texas Youth Entrepreneur of the Year Award scholarship competition. Each of 21 students sought to win one of the six scholarships sponsored by Compass Bank. The  Neeley Entrepreneurship Center ( www.nec.tcu.edu ) hosts TCU Young Entrepreneur Days each year to bring the state's most impressive high school entrepreneurs to TCU to consult with successful entrepreneurs, learn about the  Neeley School of Business ( www.neeley.tcu.edu ) and experience college life. The students are interviewed by a panel of judges, who select the six award recipients.

Grand Prize Winner, $5,000 Scholarship
Steven Crandall, Crandall Brothers Lawn Service
Senior, Colleyville Heritage High School,

Steven provides complete landscaping, sprinkler repair and aeration services for Grapevine, Colleyville, and Mid-Cities residents. He started in 2006 with five clients, then passed out flyers throughout neighborhoods in the Grapevine-Colleyville area and advertised through large magnetic signs on his truck to increase business. In 2007, Steven worked part time for a sprinkler repair service, adding this service to his business, and worked part time for an electrical company, learning the basics of becoming an electrician, how to bid jobs and the importance of licensing and insuring his company. 

In 2008 Steven consulted with several leaders in the industry and learned how to evaluate and bid larger landscaping jobs. He added aeration service, completing 70 aerations by the end of September, and landed his first commercial client, Greenbriar Homeowners Association.

Steven prides himself on customer satisfaction and service quality, seeing both as key to running a successful business. Upon graduation, Steven will transition the weekly operation to his younger brother who is a sophomore. 

Other Winners, $1,000 Scholarship Each
Austin Brinson, Texas Power Tech, Inc.
Senior, The Woodlands College Park High School,

Austin's company provides web design, ad design, billboards, promotional items and more to small and medium businesses.  Between the 6th and 7th grades, Austin took computer certification classes and began repairing computers. In October 2005, he started Texas Power Tech, Inc. to provide computer repair. In 2006, he expanded his services to include web design.

In March 2008, he was approached by a client to handle all advertising for a new company. Within a month, he exceeded 2007 sales by 300%. Since then, his business has worked non-stop - he has 11 student contractors working for him - and he has to limit the number of clients in order to maintain quality. Austin plans to operate his business while in college.

Chase Gaddy, Gaddy Landscaping
Junior, Bishop Lynch High School in Dallas

Chase provides landscape maintenance services at a fraction of the cost of competitors, while still preserving professional grade and quality workmanship. Additional services include fences, hardscape and softscape installation, as well as general contracting services.

Chase started his business in 2005 walking door-to-door and mowing lawns. In 2006 he purchased his father's equipment and expanded his client base to 10 properties. In 2008 Chase purchased more commercial equipment and grew to 35 properties.  In June 2008 he performed his first complete landscape renovation and started offering tree services. Chase markets his business by having two of his six employees distribute flyers and business cards every weekend to houses and neighborhood businesses. He also places ads in two church bulletins in his area.

Jennifer Goebel, All-American Dance Company
Senior, Plano West Senior High School

All-American Dance Company provides tap and ballet lesson to pre-k through 5th grade students. Jennifer founded the company when she was 16, after reading Copy This, by Paul Orfalea, founder of Kinko's. She created a business plan for dance education, business cards, brochures and marketing collateral, then approached area learning centers. She paid for a $1,000,000 liability insurance policy with babysitting money and signed KinderCare as her first client.

In December 2007, Jennifer was appointed as a page for Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, so she obtained a partner and split the business.  After the page job, she hired another partner to teach and manage at another location.  Her plans for college are to make $1,000 a month, working remotely, handling email communication and client follow-up.

Marlo Adelle Greta, GirlyWhirls
Senior, Cedar Park High School

Marlo started making hair accessories to go with her outfits at age 14.  When friends requested personalized hair clips, Marlo enlisted her mother to help with sewing them and eventually introduced GirlyWhilrs to local businesses in downtown Austin.  As demand increased, Marlo turned to Craig's List for employees. The employees, were trained at the family home provided with patterns to trace. By the third year, Marlo was selling in 12 boutiques in Austin and in California, as well as online.  In 2008 Whole Foods Market ordered her new line of romanticized feather hairclips with a vintage flare.

As Marlo continued to grow her business, she was involved in giving back to her community through volunteer efforts in PALS and teaching art at Laguna Gloria Art School. She traveled to the Dominican Republic to teach art to impoverished children. With three employees, Marlo plans to continue her business while in college and to expand the online business. 

Scott Landers 4L Cattle Co.
Senior, Chisum High School in Cooper, Texas
Scott focuses on improving commercial cattle through progressive breeding, proper nutrition and business marketing. He founded 4L Cattle Company in 2002 with a cow/calf pair of two and has grown the company to a herd of nearly 40 head. Over time he has changed breeds based on the trends within the cattle industry and removed a breed that exhibited a genetic disease. Scott sells his cattle to three main markets: commercial buyers, meat purchasers, and livestock exhibitors. He raises different groups of his herd for different purposes, each suited to the different market.

Scott plans to continue increasing his total herd count and increasing the birth rates of the cows.  He plans to offer more breeds of cattle so he can appeal to a larger market of buyers.  Scott will turn over his business to his family when he goes to college.


Elaine Cole
PR Manager
Neeley School of Business at TCU