Aspiring entrepreneurs participating in the DDCE’s Product Prodigy course debuted their products and services at the inaugural Demo Day event, held on Thursday, May 16 at Impact Hub. Throughout the spring 2019 semester, the three groups of students have been designing their businesses around the theme of social impact with the goal of giving back to their communities. Below are a few highlights from the big event. You can find more photos on our Flickr album.
Rubén Cantú, director of Inclusive Innovation and Entrepreneurship, gave the crowd a brief introduction to the newly created Product Prodigy Institute, an initiative that aims to prepare underserved students and community members for the new world of work.
In the vein of the popular reality show “Shark Tank,” the fledgling business owners pitched their products, timelines and budgets before a panel of expert judges. Pictured above (from left) are Vi Nguyen, CEO of Homads; Marcus Carey, CEO of ThreatCare; and Marcos Larios, COO of New Chip.
Three promising entrepreneurs kicked off the contest with a pitch for Emane, a haircare business that provides essential products for African American women. Watch their morning show interview on Good Day Austin.
Next up, a group of students laid out their business plan for E-Goals, an educational startup that pairs students with accountability partners to help them accomplish their goals and career aspirations.
The third group of contestants presented their business plan for Song Bird, a startup that provides affordable marketing services for students and immigrants who are working to build small businesses.
After the deliberation, the judges announced E-Goals as the winners, praising their well-researched business plan and unique business model. The contestants will have another chance to win the judges over at the fall 2019 Demo Day Event, where they will present their finished prototypes.
About the Product Prodigy Institute: Product Prodigy is a semester-long class that takes students from underrepresented backgrounds through the process of creating and learning the hard and soft skills for launching a venture. The institute aims to bridge the opportunity gap for first-generation college students by helping them reach their full potential academically and professionally. Throughout the semester, students follow an intensive curriculum in a supportive environment of instructors and mentors. After completing the college-level coursework, they will graduate with marketable job skills and entrepreneurial experience. With a focus on social impact, the institute aims to diversify the startup sector and tech industry through intensive product management training and human-centered design.