The baby boomers and Generation X are not the only ones making their mark on the business world. There are 165 million early-stage young entrepreneurs ages 18 to 25 around the world who have jumped into the business of creating products and services, according to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM.)

“Business is one of the trickiest things…It’s more than just science. It’s an art,” said Don Proudfoot, Tyler Junior College director of small business development located at the west campus. “The best entrepreneurs are the ones who have something to prove.”

An entrepreneur has the ability to spot a problem and generate a solution by creating a product or service; placing him or her in the top of the business world.

College students now have more opportunities to get their feet in business doors with not only  employers offering grants for work-related classes and in-depth  business college courses but also TV shows that offer starting inventors and early business owners the chance to expand their product.

After three years of dedication to his business, Doug Marshall, a former TJC student from 1980-81 and graduate from Texas Tech University, consulted with Proudfoot on ways to expand his new business.gameface4.1

Proudfoot and the TJC business team assisted Marshall with tweaking projections and making small public relations and social media changes. Like the projections given to Marshall by the department, other services like business models, budget, projections, salary plan, strategize, estimated utility cost, networking structure and facility model come into play. The department is also a host for starting business by leasing them space at the west campus offices, which is called The Incubator.

“We will work with anybody’s ideas. It’s their dream, we don’t try to take that away from them,” Proudfoot said. “People need to have a business plan…It increases your likely hood of success, also people who get advice are more successful.”

Marshall was able to assemble a better business model and took the next step of trying out for the show “Shark Tank,” when he experienced the growth of his business and reached international heights. The current ABC show offers people across the nation an opportunity to prove their inventions and services to be valuable and worth investing in. Placing five investors in a room for the entrepreneurs to pitch their product, and Marshall was one of them in 2012, which aired earlier this year.

“The energy in the room, you can feel it, when their interested in you,” Marshall said. “It was a great experience.”

Although Marshall hesitated to jump on the idea of trying for the show at first, he took the chance.

“Risk is tied to reward,” Proudfoot said. “Entrepreneurs take the ultimate risk. There’s a lot of instability but they have a chance to get rich, most people don’t.”

The chance he took has created additional revenue expanding his product to sell in Halloween and costume stores, theme parks including the San Diego Zoo to national retail stores like Target, Wal-Mart and Walgreens.gameface3.1

“Our product is so versatile that everyone can have their own type of Game Face available,” Marshall said. “We are getting calls and request from all over the world for distribution; From South America, Russia to China.”

He credits his invention to a good night’s sleep.

“I had a dream I was at a football game and the guys next to me where yelling and carrying on. They had painted their faces and had smeared it on their clothes,” said Marshall.

As the dream continued, Marshall was able to wake up and remember the details and possible designs for the product, which is now called “Game Face.” The trim to fit, wash off tattoo selling at a retail price of $5 to $6 offers face designs for sports, hunting, custom, and party activities.

His studies at TJC and Texas Tech and the business jobs, where he managed product sales and business development, gave him the experience to continue making his dream reality.

“You live your business, no one else will do it,” Marshall said. “It’s really fulfilling to watch it grow.”

As more and more inventors rise to the needs reflects on the total 358,000 bachelor’s business degrees during 2009 to 2010 according to National Center for Education Statistics.

For students who would like to have a successful business like Game Face but never have an actual night dream the key is in exploring the potential services. From dog sitting to lawn mowing services, a college student can take their current occupation and turn it into a business.

“Stop and really put the pencil to the paper, and think it through,” said Mary Scarborough, TJC business professor. “If they have a good idea, they should go forward with it.”

 

Story by Belen Casillas

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