Four businesses founded by University of North Texas students received a financial boost Friday, when $40,000 worth of cash prizes were handed out to the New Venture Creation Contest winners.
The top winner was Method Seven Enterprises LLC, a company that is publishing the Method Seven Magazine, a biannual fashion publication targeting 18 to 25-year-olds. Founded by Adriana Solis, 40 students now work for the company and they plan to use the $20,000 prize for marketing and promotional materials.
“We felt there really wasn’t a fashion magazine for that market — the 18 to 25-year-old — and we felt like it was also a great opportunity in the DFW area to hopefully become a leading publication in fashion,” she said.
The company also incorporates the retail side of the fashion business, and has worked with Collin Creek and Vista Ridge malls and other brands, she said.
Second-place winner Priscilla Montez won $10,000 for her self-titled customized leather company. The third-place winners — UNT students Corbin Fields and Christian Kabela and non-student William Hersey — won $5,000 for their company, Fly-Share, which developed a document sharing application that connects a user’s existing social networks.
A $5,000 social impact award went to former UNT student Antwon Spears for his nonprofit organization, Aha!, which aims to provide help and services to familiarize the elderly with new technology.
The awards were handed out Friday at the annual Murphy Center for Entrepreneurship leadership luncheon, with the student innovators presented with oversized checks before keynote speaker, Daymond John, founder of the clothing company FUBU, took the stage.
The students will receive the first half of their prize immediately, and will receive the second half in a year if they create 50 percent of the revenue they projected in the business plans, said Tony Mendes, Murphy Center director.
“When I first got here, there was no support for the students to even write a business plan, and now we really put a lot of effort into nurturing them along the way,” he said.
By incentivizing the success of their businesses, UNT is able to check up on the students and provide a better opportunity for success, Mendes said. He pointed to Armadillo Ale Works, a Denton craft brewery, that won $10,000 from the contest in 2010 and is now available in local stores and at restaurants.
JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and viaTwitter at @JennaFDuncan.