e-ship students

TCU E-ship Students Help Choose Fort Worth Small Business of the Year

Each year, TCU students team with local professionals to select the successful small businesses honored by the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce.  

March 29,  2016

By Elaine Cole

For the past nine years, select TCU entrepreneurship majors have participated in selecting the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business of the Year, judging the finalists with a team of local business professionals.

This year, Matthew Matuszak, Brooke Barlock, Jack Bosworth and John Paul Watson helped judge the winners.

“The experience was amazing,” said Matuszak. “Getting to look inside organizations the owners have spent years building can lead to powerful insights about the importance of persistence, creativity and hiring good people.” Matuszak judged the 1-10 employees category.

Their fellow judges were impressed with the questions and insights the students brought to the process. 

Barlock’s fellow judge, Sunkar Sundarrajan, professor of finance at Tarleton State University, said she was professional, respectful and well prepared as they judged the 1-50 employees category.

“The judging was close, and when we were when narrowing it down, she made valuable contributions and prevailed in the way she presented the material,” Sundarrajan said.

“It was exciting to select the winning company based upon a collaborative discussion and unanimous decision,” Barlock said, adding that the opportunity allowed her to see how business concepts she has been learning are being applied in the businesses’ daily operations. 

Bosworth, who judged the emerging business category, said he was proud to represent TCU in the local community. “The Neeley School prepared me well for having a significant part in selecting the best small business of Fort Worth.” 

Robert Pollock, founder and CEO of CorpX Strategy and licensee of Culture Index, judged alongside Bosworth and said he asked prudent questions and listened carefully to each of the finalists.

“There’s a lot on the line for the finalists, so this is a big deal,” Pollock said. “Jack’s participation and attentiveness came out most in conversations during the deliberation stage of judging. He had thoughtful input on strengths and weaknesses.”

Watson, who judged the 51-150 employees category, said the experience was incredibly valuable.

For the judging process, all judges meet at the Fort Worth Chamber offices to review Small Business of the Year applications, then proceed to on-site visits. A company representative gives them a tour of the facility and participates in a Q&A. The judges then return to the Chamber to deliberate and decide the winners.

“The students never shy away from giving their opinions, and they are right in the middle of the discussion when it comes to making the final decision,” said Lydia Hall, vice president of programs and events for the Fort Worth Chamber. 

“We look forward to continuing our strong relationship with the Neeley School of Business at TCU, and watching the bright futures these young business professionals will have here in Fort Worth,” Hall said.