Editor’s Note: Maggie Barton’s SPURstartup has previously partnered with the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards.
Last Tuesday, Entrepreneurs’ Organization in Fort Worth hosted its annual Global Student Entrepreneur Awards.
GSEA as a world-wide student startup competition. Students move up the ranks as they pitch to win in regional, national, and then the final global round. At each stage, students have the opportunity to win money and resources for their startups. GSEA represents more than 1,700 student entrepreneurs from more than 60 countries around the world.
In order to qualify for this award, participants have to be an undergraduate student and the owner of a for-profit/social enterprise structured (revenue generating) business that has operated for at least six consecutive months.
WITH REGIONALS WIN, SLEDGE IS HEADED TO NATIONALS IN DALLAS
The winner of Fort Worth Regionals was Texas Christian University junior Evan Sledge, the founder of Sledge Outfitters, a professional guide service for fishing and hunting excursions.
Sledge learned about fishing in the Kenai Peninsula while attending Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage his freshman year of college. He crunched a few numbers and determined the profitability in fishing trips over a three-month period was well beyond what he could command hunting or bass fishing in Texas. Sledge obtained his Coast Guard license, ordered a custom built drift boat, and started up his own guiding service in Alaska.
Since experiencing widespread success in Alaska, Sledge has moved back to Texas and is looking to fund the expansion of the business in his home state. With this win, he can begin to realize his dream of corporate adventure retreats specializing in team building and guided activities in Texas.
Sledge will compete in the GSEA nationals, which take place this spring in Dallas.
“I’m going to enjoy it, get ready for nationals, and go at it again,” Sledge said of his plans following the regionals win.
OTHER COMPETITORS AT THE FORT WORTH REGIONALS
In second place was Stephanie Long, founder of Cake Occasion in Arkansas. The artisan bakery serves handcrafted, small batch, and made-to-order goods. Long learned to bake from her mother and was inspired to bring high-quality baked goods to her hometown.
The other two participants included Tyler Sickels, a senior at the University of Texas at Arlington and Tanna Wasilcnak, a senior at Baylor University. Sickels founded SoleGrow, which produces a new type of plastic to cover greenhouses that utilizes more light bands from sunlight to double crop yields. Wasilcnak started Collar to Collar, a fashion blog with more than 6,000 followers. She plans on developing fashion items for her fanbase.
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