Entrepreneurs honored at ceremony


The 2016 Winners HCC Newspring Business Plan Competition

Houston Community College and Newspring celebrated winners of the ninth annual HCC Newspring Business Plan Competition on April 26, awarding $26,000 in prize money and over $10,000 in in-kind prizes to some of Houston’s rising entrepreneurs.

TCC Learning won first place and was awarded $12,000 along with a $2,300 media package from Small Business Today Magazine and Talk Show.

Second place winners included Energy Fundz with an $8,000 prize. There was a tie for third place for the first time in the competition’s history with $2,500 being awarded to Ole Noe and another $2,500 to Twice Media Productions. A $1,000 honorable mention was also awarded to True You Makeovers.

The awards ceremony and reception was held at the Trini Mendenhall Community Center with contestants, advisors, competition partners, sponsors and community supporters in attendance.

Dr. Zachary Hodges, the President of HCC Northwest, opened the ceremony. Newspring Founder and Chairman Robert Westheimer, competition trainer Richard Tyler and Competition leader Jack Barry followed.

Barry recognized past winners and all 26 completer teams for the 2016 competition before calling up finalists to the stage to speak about their business concepts. Finally the winners were announced and prize money was awarded.

First place winner Todd Bermont spoke to the crowd: “Dr. Hodges you have assembled a tremendous team of people that put in a wonderful effort throughout the competition. I can honestly say the education I received at HCC in this competition far surpasses anything that I have experienced in my career. I also want to once again thank my advisors who were both incredible. Words can’t describe the profound impact this competition has had on both my business and my life. Houston is fortunate to have the Houston Community College System!”

The HCC Newspring Business Plan Competition is a working contest that award prized slots in the competition to an unprecedented 30 teams chosen from over 60 applications in January 2016. In order to apply, at least one member of each contestant team must have completed either specified business planning classes at HCC or have graduated from the HCC Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business program. The 30 teams won the opportunity to vet their business assumptions through five training sessions and one-on-one mentoring from February through April. The program is designed to polish and refine their plans to start and grow their businesses.

Jack Barry leads and delivers the competition training along with Richard Tyler. Newspring Chairman, Robert Westheimer, rallies 60 business mentors to assign to two per team to provide one-on-one mentoring to the contestant teams.

Cash prize sponsors included LiftFund, Wallis State Bank, Midway, Amegy Bank of Texas, MetroNational, Constant Contact and Provideo Systems. In-kind prize sponsors included the Houston West Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Today Magazine, Presentation Power and Wallis State Bank. True Color Graphics and Three Brothers’ Bakery were in-kind reception sponsors.