Being born into an entrepreneurially minded family is not a prerequisite for startup success, but it’s given an inside perspective to Naveen Jindal School of Management graduate students Kiran Devaprasad, Brian Harris and Kamiar Kordi.
All three come from families that have forged startup firms, and they recently were recognized for their own entrepreneurial drive. Each of them received Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation scholarships worth $15,000 apiece.
Twenty-five Texas colleges and universities participate in the Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation’s scholarship program. This year, the UT Dallas scholarships are sponsored by the Mitchell Family Foundation.
“For me, what planted the seed of entrepreneurship was being taught a sense of accomplishment.”
“For me, what planted the seed of entrepreneurship was being taught a sense of accomplishment,” Devaprasad said. “I realized that my father and uncle work hard, and their destiny was determined primarily by their own actions.” Devaprasad, who is pursuing dual degrees in the Executive MBA program and MS/Innovation and Entrepreneurship, will use his scholarship earnings to grow TraceIT — a startup he created with classmate William White.
Their system tracks drivers and loads in the car- and truck-hauling industry.
Brian Harris’ father and grandfather started a construction business when he was young. That, along with his love of nature, instilled the idea of working for himself, which led him to a fly-fishing business. From there, his interest evolved to Blanco Farms Exotic Mushrooms, which he will expand using his scholarship.
“I would say that successful entrepreneurs don’t hesitate.”
“I would say that successful entrepreneurs don’t hesitate,” Harris said. “They take opportunities to make it real. … I grew some mushrooms, took them to a restaurant and put them in a chef’s hands. I found out their needs.” Harris enrolled a fast-track program combining the BS/Business Administration and the MS/Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Then he entered the Startup Launch program which allows students to develop and test concepts. Through Startup Launch, he was awarded $5,000 in seed funding. Now the proceeds from his scholarship will help expand the business.
Kamiar Kordi’s parents had emigrated from Iran to Dallas and started an ice cream truck business.
“The main purpose of the Policentric app is to hold candidates accountable for the policy decisions they pursue.”
As Kordi grew older, he got involved in the family business. Now working on his MS/Finance degree, he is using his scholarship to start a couple of tech companies including Policentric — a mobile app which facilitates correspondence to and tracking actions of elected officials.
“The main purpose of the Policentric app is to hold candidates accountable for the policy decisions they pursue,” Kordi said. “There’s so much anger in society that’s coming to a boiling point, and I wanted to provide a means by which voters can make decisions based on [rational thought] and logic rather than angry rhetoric.”
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