Posts Tagged ‘Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship’

wce-graphic2012Our friends at the University of Houston‘s Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship won the Department of Energy’s National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition!  Led by Ken Jones and David Cook, this team nailed it, and took home the big prize (after competing against teams from Harvard, Stanford and more!).

The national competition offered three ways to win with an Audience Investor Choice Award, based on audience votes, a People’s Choice Award, based on online voting, and the Grand Prize selected by the judges.

REEcycle won them all, leaving the other finalists from Colorado, Georgia Tech, MIT, Michigan State and Ohio State in the dust, despite the professionals on some of their teams.

Here is why we are sharing this today:

Each of these winners previously volunteered in the Prison Entrepreneurship Program’s Business Plan Workshops, where they offered their insights to PEP participants in April and October 2013. In fact, two of them made the tremendous commitment to also serve as Business Plan Advisors to our participants. 

We are delighted to celebrate their success, and wish them and all of their classmates great success in their future, real world endeavors. Check out this article, which details the impressive victories along their journey:
http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/columnists/tomlinson/article/UH-entrepreneurs-win-big-prove-they-re-among-the-5598758.php?cmpid=email-premium&t=5cad098623e2196854

Entrepreneur’s mantra:  Let’s make it happen………..today!

The University of Houston’s newspaper, “The Daily Cougar,” recently ran an article about the university’s students involvement in PEP. You can see the article online here, but it is also included below.

Students in the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship in the C.T. Bauer College of Business have been volunteering for years at the Prison Entrepreneurship Program, an entrepreneurial extension of the Texas Prison System, which has graduated more 800 inmates.

Through the Business Plan Advisor Program, MBA students volunteer to teach inmates how to write business plans and pursue their own entrepreneurial ventures.

“This is a remote volunteer program through which MBA students can receive business plans being developed by incarcerated participants in our program,” said Jeremy Gregg, the chief development officer at PEP. “The students provide feedback on the plans and help with market research.”

This outreach program at the Wolff Center is recognized for impacting and transforming the lives of inmates and volunteers.

Al Massey, UH alumnus and executive relations manager for the Prison Entrepreneurship Program, is an example for both volunteers and inmates.

While he was in prison serving a six-year sentence for intoxication manslaughter, he was recruited to participate in the program. After graduating, he stayed on as a peer educator until he was granted parole and released in May 2010. Shortly after, he began working at PEP and has demonstrated how people can be remembered for their positive actions.

Character Assessment

“We can all make mistakes when we take risks, and in my first 55 years of life I never thought I would be incarcerated,” Massey said. “PEP changed my character and made me the person that God meant for me to be by making me look at my faults.”

Any student Bauer who is interested in serving the community while gaining both teaching and entrepreneurship experience can look into the opportunity to volunteer through the Wolff Center.

“By being a business plan advisor or by volunteering in other areas with this program, students can help these men realize they are significant,” Massey said. “We cannot be the world to everyone, but we can be the world to one person. By volunteering, students can touch someone’s life and be the world to that person.”

PEP Pitch Day

PEP volunteers and participants reacting to the awesome new advisory board lineup. (We ARE pretty excited!)

Since 2004, the Prison Entrepreneurship Program has been guided by some of the strongest business minds to ever lend their time, talent and treasure to the nonprofit sector. We are particularly grateful for those who have served on our governing and advisory boards.

This group has included highly successful entrepreneurs, investors and politicians. It has also included lawyers, bankers and leaders from the corporate sector. And we are particularly grateful that it has always included men who first came to PEP as incarcerated men.

Together, these leaders are PEP’s ambassadors in the “free world.” They carry our message of hope out into the community, and their support is directly responsible for the ground-breaking results that PEP has delivered for the past eight years (see our 2011-2012 Annual Report for the full details of our impact).

PEP would like to welcome the following NEW members to our boards (see the full list here):

New National Advisory Board Members
New Houston Advisory Board Members
New Dallas Advisory Board Members
New Austin Advisory Board Member