February 14, 2008

Six High School Entrepreneurs Win Scholarships from TCU Texas Youth Entrepreneur of the Year Awards

It came down to cars, cows, advertising, summer camp, real estate and martial arts. Six Texas high school teens and their businesses were named the winners of the 2008 TCU Texas Youth Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, out of 24 finalists from across the state. 

Each year, Texas teens send the Neeley Entrepreneurship Center information about their businesses. Each is seeking to win one of the six scholarships awarded by the TCU Texas Youth Entrepreneur of the Year Awards , sponsored by Compass Bank. The scholarships include one for $5,000 and five for $1,000, which are doubled if the teen enters TCU.

Erick Van't Westeinde , a senior at Jesuit College Preparatory in Dallas , was the grand prize winner of the $5,000 scholarship. His business, Westend Trading Company, buys, repairs, restores and sells classic European cars. An avid collector, Erick started his business at age 12 with his first sale of two high-end scale-model cars. Soon, he was buying and selling these cars all over the world. He moved on to bicycles before settling on European classic cars, mirroring his father's passion. He has bought and sold 15 Porches, four Jaguars and one Mercedes to loyal clients all over Europe, his primary market, and the U.S. Erick utilizes his language skills to communicate in Dutch and German. His eventual business goal is the commercial real estate market.

Matthew Brown , a senior at Paschal High School in Fort Worth , won a $1,000 scholarship for his advertising, marketing and PR firm, The Frankfurt Group www.thefrankfurtgroup.com . Matthew's company focuses on guerrilla and grassroots marketing, serving business with small budgets, especially actors, documentary artists and musical artists. One documentary, "Loose Change," has been labeled by TIME magazine as "the most-watched documentary of all time." Matthew started his business in 2001, helping small businesses with their internet presence.

Gabe Cocanougher, a senior at Decatur High School , won a $1,000 scholarship for his cow-calf operation, Cocanougher Connections. The business also specializes in hauling agricultural commodities. Gabe began his entrepreneurial operation in 2005 by hauling hay and doing contract labor for ranches. With profits from hauling hay, he purchased some property and three cows, which grew to 24 cows, 1 herd sire and 36 yearlings. Gabe plans to expand his business while in college. He hopes to attend TCU and study Entrepreneurship and Ranch Management.

Seth Dennis , a senior at Texas Military Institute in Boerne , won a $1,000 scholarship for MPS Innovations LLC and Domestic Task Freelance. MPS is a real estate investment company that buys, renovates and sells single family houses in central Texas. Domestic Task Freelance is a renovation and general contracting company. Seth is one of three founders of MPS. The company targets pre-foreclosures and REOs. His other business has Seth doing exterior and interior property maintenance and renovation, along with one employee. Seth plans to have at least six employees and see some of the teens spinning off and starting their own companies.

Michael Hodge , a senior at Scurry Rosser High School in Scurry (near Kaufman) , also won a $1,000 scholarship for Hodgy Martial Arts (Hodgyma) and Hodgy Web Design www.hodgyma.com .  Michael has operated Texas Karate Academy for three years. He began Hodgy Web Design in 2006, offering advertisements, web design, maintenance and a complimentary web design each year. Through Hodgy Martial Arts, launched in September 2007, Michael develops and distributes martial arts educational materials to instructors, such as DVDs, operation manuals and enhanced website. He plans to introduce an instructional series called Ultimate Training ™ to target martial arts students. He will continue to grow his business while in college.

Zach Galant , a senior at Greenhill School in Dallas , won a $1,000 scholarship for TeraByte www.terabytegames.com . TeraByte is an exciting, engaging summer camp where kids are taught to create and bring home their own video games and movies. Zach started the summer camp the summer before his freshman year, convincing the headmaster at Greenhill to allow him to rent the computer lab for 20 percent of the revenue from the camp. He has since installed a computer lab in his parent's garage, and added film making and digital art to the schedule. Total enrollment for summer 2007 was 70 students. Zach has hired thee skilled counselors to provide individualized teaching. He plans to increase offerings and space, as well as the run time (four weeks). He would like to expand his company globally.

The Neeley Entrepreneurship Center hosts TCU Young Entrepreneur Days, sponsored by Compass Bank, 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' award-winning entrepreneurship program and experience college life. The students are interviewed by a panel of judges, who select the six award recipients.

For more information visit www.nec.tcu.edu .


Elaine Cole
Public Relations Manager
Neeley School of Business at TCU