January Small Business News & Opportunities


January Small Business

Opportunities & News

In this Edition:

  • Featured Entrepreneur Updates & Successes
  • Small Business Opportunities – Position For Success in 2018
  • Upcoming Gatherings in January
  • More HCC Alumni Entrepreneur Updates
  • More January News – TV and Radio, HCC Happenings

Featured BPC Alumni Update – Deidre Mathis

Deidre Mathis is Opening Wanderlust, Spring 2018 

Ms. Mathis also leveraged her Spring 2017 3rd place win using her HCC Newspring BPC experience. She won three more competitions in 2017, accumulating $23,000 in Prize Money.  Wanderlust is a modern millennial accommodation, that caters to millennial travelers who are visiting Houston on a fixed travel budget and looking for a socially oriented community environment.  Wanderlust Houston will provide clean, safe, fully furnished, modern, private and shared rooms within Houston’s  Museum District.  Deidre Mathis is well known as a budget world traveler, author and public speaker.  She has traveled to more than 36 countries on six continents, and lived abroad in three countries. In January 2017, she won $1,500 in a small pitch competition, then moved through the training and mentoring in the HCC Newspring BPC to flush out her business assumptions and her plan.  “It was so beneficial because of the growth of my business plan,” Mathis said.  “My mentors helped me think outside the box and stretched my imagination.”   Following her 3rd place win in the HCC Newspring BPC, she secured her location, is under construction and slated to open this Spring.  She also leveraged the mentoring and training she received and the plan she developed in the HCC Newspring BPC to compete and win the LIftoff Houston and Houston Area Urban League competitions last November and December!  Full Article

Small Business Opportunities
Plan for Success in 2018                             
January 17 Deadline  


Apply Now – Free Mentoring & Training in Spring for Business and Growth Plans – Chance to Win Prize Money

 2018 HCC Newspring Business Plan Competition

For Proposed, Startup and Existing Business Owners 

Applications Accepted January 1-17 


  • Apply January 1-17

  • All Accepted Contestants Notified by February 16

  • Free Competition Training Session Dates & 1-on-1 Mentoring – Five 2-Hour Tues Evening Sessions 2/27, 3/6, 3/20, 4/3, 4/17

  • Plans Due – May 7

  • Finalists Present to Judges – May 24

  • $30,000 in Seed Money & In-Kind Prizes Awarded – May 30.

For More on the BPC and To Apply

Upcoming Events in January


Starting & Running Your Own Business Seminar

Saturday January 13, 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
HCC Southeast, 2811 Rustic, 3rd Floor

This one-day seminar is a must for prospective entrepreneurs and a proven benefit to many already in business.  It’s a powerful program that’s packed with information, tips and techniques needed to start a new business as well as improve an existing enterprise.

This workshop stands alone as a great overview!  It is also wonderful way to get started and decide if you want to pursue the 2018 HCC Newspring Business Plan Competition! Many have done just that in the past:

  • ” I started my business by first attending this seminar!”  Bruce McMordie, Texas Swim Academy, 2015 Winner, 2015 HCC Newspring BPC.

  • “I attended this seminar and went on to the BPC.  Both changed my life forever!”,  Desiree Worrell Mosely,Owner, SproutStart Academy, 2011 Winner, HCC Newspring BPC.   To Register


Quick But Effective Online Learning – Creating a Successful Business Plan – Class Takes Just 24 Hours of Your Time From January 17 through February 25

Sign Up Now for the Class That Starts January 17 – Then Complete Your BPC Application between January 1-17. 

  • Your Chance to Sign Up for the Quickest Class – Proposed and Startup Entrepreneurs Should Take this Class Prior to the Start of BPC Training.  Sign up Now, Finish February 25. Applicants Chosen for Free Competition Mentoring and Training will be Announced up through February 16. Competition Training Starts February 27.

  • Sign up in 3 minutes.  Instructor – Kris Solie-Johnson.

  • For More on this Class   


Subs & Sandwiches – Houston MBDA Business Center

Wednesday January 17

11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Houston Contractors Association
4001 Sherwood Lane, 77092

The Houston MBDA Business Center presents Subs and Sandwiches with the Houston Contractors Association.  This month, DBE-certified subcontractors that perform civil construction work will have the opportunity to meet with prime contractor members of the Houston Contractors Association. Participating prime contractors include Harper Brothers, Pepper-Lawson and Reytec. To Register


Financial Workshop for Small Business Launch and Growth

9:00 am – 4:30 pm, Choose Your Preferred Date

Saturday January 20, HCC Spring Branch

Tuesday January 30, HCC Spring Branch

Saturday February 10, HCC Alief Hayes

Understanding Cash Needs, Loan & Business Financials – BPC Applicants still needing the workshop should sign up for the workshop prior to submitting BPC Application & attend on the workshop date.  Teams chosen for the BPC will be notified of acceptance by 2/16.  To Register


Recovery Lending NOW – Financial Assistance for Small Businesses Recovering from Hurricane Harvey

Wednesday January 24
11:30 am – 2:00 pm
UH SBDC, 2302 Fannin, #200

Join the Houston MBDA Business Center and LiftFund for a financial assistance event for small businesses recovering from Hurricane Harvey.  LiftFund and MBDA representatives will be available to present options and to accept applications for small business hurricane relief loans up to $25,000 at low to 0% interest.  To Register

More Alumni Updates-HCC Newspring BPC

Khurum Choudry, Legacy Rags – Multi-Million in Annual Sales 

Khurum Choudry and Shazia Choudry Bajwa- Legacy Rags, 2011, 3rd Place Winners- This team ultimately launched two businesses. “Legacy Rags is a textile recycling company. We buy clothes from charities in bulk and ship to other countries in Africa and South America. Shazia’s company, Vintage Veins buys specific articles of clothing from entities like my company and resells vintage clothing to retail stores. “I never would have dreamed back in 2011 when we entered the competition that I would be running a multi-million dollar business by 2013.  Since then sales have steadily increased annually as we expanded internationally, although 2017 posed some challenges.  Natural disasters and political unrest in some of the countries I supply clothing to, currency fluctuations in Africa, and loss of some employees due to Hurricane Harvey hurt, but our expansion plans into the Dominican Republic are going well.  We’ve secured a location for operations there and are in the process getting the required licenses to operate our business.  The invaluable lessons we learned from our mentors and trainers in the competition changed our lives forever.   Our story is one of learning, taking action, taking risks, pivoting according to our markets, succeeding and failing and then succeeding again far beyond our original plan!”.   Khurum Choudry    

Raya Guruswamy, EnergyFundz

EnergyFundz, Raya Guruswamy, 2nd Place, 2016 Competition – EnergyFundz is an online platform to connect oil & gas royalty buyers and sellers.  Since the Competition, Raya used most of the prize money towards building his company’s web platform and some was used for online marketing.  Through consultation with BPC mentors and advisers, he decided to change or ‘pivot’ his focus from strictly oil & gas royalties to include oilfield equipment and rigs and deal consulting & advisory services as well.  As a result, he has had greater success leveraging his network and finding unique deals for buyers and sellers. EnergyFundz™ EnergyFunds big news for 2017 was as follows, promising for an exciting 2018:  EnergyFundz Forms Joint Venture with OceanTech-(US-GH) for Ghana Energy and Infrastructure Projects – Full Article

Connie Rankin, Customized Real Estate Services

Connie Rankin, Lifelong Learner Credits HCC in Helping Her Become an Entrepreneur, Philanthropist and Author  – From the 1980s through now, Connie has come to HCC for numerous HCC real estate courses, the HCC Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program, the 2013 HCC Newspring Business Plan Competition, the SBA’s InnovateHER Competition and HCC writing courses. As of today, Connie has: launched and grown her award winning company Customized Real Estate Services; established a non-profit called Bridge Literacy Now; and authored her book, God Gave Us Wings.  Released in April, 2017, it resulted in this  “#1 Best-Selling Author Receives National Literary Awards for Her Book God Gave Us Wings” – Full Article

Helen Callier, PermitUsNow

2016 HCC Newspring Business Plan Competition Constant, HCC Goldman Sachs Graduate, PermitUsNow,LLC and Bradlink, LLC. – “I launched a new division three months following the competition using the plan I created with the mentoring and training in the 2016 competition.  We went live with PermitUsNow.com  in August 2016.  Since then, major growth has come from permitting activity in over 100 HEB projects throughout Texas and through work on retail and restaurant tenant projects at HAS and other big box stores.  We opened an office in Austin in 2017.  As of Spring 2018, PermitUsNow is ramping up to four employees in Houston, and will next add more employees in Austin.”  We are simply thrilled!    Full Article  


HCC Newspring BPC Alumni

More Good News!

More Alumni Success Stories



HCC Newspring BPC Alumni – Let Us Share Your Good News!  

Keep Emailing Updates – Great Hearing From You!

If you completed the competition, your refined and improved plan makes you a winner! Keep moving, keep growing and keep us posted!

We invite all past contestants to email us with news and testimonials about how the HCC Newspring Business Plan Competition helped you and about your successes since. We know for a fact, many more of you are winning awards, expanding and growing.  Let us tell the world about you!  Email us at: c4e@hccs.edu


January News – Great Events, TV & Radio

Video News – 2018 HCC Newspring BPC

January Appearances – TV and Radio Spots 

Check our Recent Videos and Audio Interviews

Hot Topic TV – January 2  

  • Featuring Sandra Louvier, Director, Center for Entrepreneurship, and BPC Alumni:
  • Deidre Mathis – Wanderlust
  • Helen Callier – PermitUsNow
  • 3 Minute Video

Houston Dialogue Talk Show – January 3

  • Featuring  BPC Trainer & Judge, Richard Tyler, Richard Tyler International
  • BPC Alumni, Khurum Choudry, Legacy Rags
  • 10 Minute Video Segment

SBT Radio Interview 01 18 2018Small Business Today Radio

January 10

  • Featuring 2018 BPC
  • Sandra Louvier, c4e Director
  • 2017 Winners:
    • Doris Taylor, Stem Cell Security
    • Kiley Summers, SpenDebt
  • 1 hour Audio


Over 50 Gathered to Train About Online Marketing for Their Small Businesses 

Mrktg Seminar 01 09 2018On Tuesday morning January 9, over 50 gathered at the Center for Entrepreneurship at HCC Alief Hayes to attend our Taking Your Business Online Seminar.  Presentations and interactive Q&A were designed to boost EPresence & Brand for the entrepreneurs in attendance. Topics included Websites, Social Media, Eblasts, Compelling Content, Pics and Videos.
2018 01 09 Mrktg Seminar Presenters and Prize Drawing winnersOur entrepreneur presenters included Leeanne Rambin, Empire Creative, Hussain Ali,HD2Menus.com, Erik Calderon, FLMC Films and Tiffany Williams, Twice Media Productions.  These entrepreneurs have grown their companies from HCC programs such as the HCC Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program or the HCC Newpsring Business Plan Competition and they now come back to pay it forward by training other entrepreneurs.  We also heard more about pathways to entrepreneurial  empowerment through HCC, the SBA and SCORE.  Some attendees won certificates to free spring seminars and $1 Million chocolate bars : – ) from our prize drawing at the seminar close. Take aways for all attendees included copies of the presentations to go deeper and take action to better market their businesses!


Mix & Mingle Reception – For 2018 Potential Applicants & Past Contestants – HCC Newspring Business Plan Competition

BPC Reception
On Wednesday, January 10, we gathered at Wallis State Bank so that proposed startup and existing entrepreneurs considering applying for the 2018 HCC Newspring BPC could mix and mingle with all associated with the HCC Newspring BPC.  Attendance at this reception is not required to apply but it is a very popular annual event.
Hodges ReceptionAttendees met BPC alumni, other applicants, community partners and supporters; and BPC partners including Newspring, Wallis State Bank, Amegy Bank, LiftFund, and more.  2017 Application reviewers were there too!  Applications are due on January 17.  For those interested in applying for the 2018 HCC Newspring Business Plan Competition click here and call us at 713-718-6650 or email us at c4e@hccs.edu if you have any questions!
About the HCC Center for Entrepreneurship

The mission of Houston Community College’s Center for Entrepreneurship is to provide education and training for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Our mission fosters economic growth through business and community development. More 

Posted January 8, 2018