Creative Minds Solutions Thursday won the 2016 Fort Worth Business Plan Competition, a program of the Fort Worth Business Assistance Center and presented by Capital One. Dr. Richard Navarro is the President and Chief Innovation Officer of the company, which designs and manufactures hydro-electric turbines to generate electricity from water, such as lakes and oceans.
Runners-up in the sixth annual competition at Texas Christian University were second-place finisher Doc’s Street Grill, owned by Steve Alade. Doc’s offers Caribbean street food as a mobile food concessionaire with plans for four brick-and-mortar restaurants.
Third place went to Benefit Acupuncture, founded by Dr. Hilary Lai. The Colleyville company delivers solutions for illnesses ranging from pain, allergies, chronic illness, stroke rehabilitation and infertility.
Navarro said the Business Plan Competition “forced me to do what I needed to do and put it all down on paper. Everything was just in my head.” He said the biggest pre-conceived notion he had proved correct. “I knew I had to be better with financials. With the excellent training offered during the competition, I was able to do a better job on that,” he said.
The three businesses took home cash and prize packages valued at nearly $70,000, with $6,000 to first-place Creative Minds Solutions. The finalists emerged from the 10 semifinalists who competed during a Pitch Night presentation Oct. 6 at Moncrief Cancer Institute.
The competition, open to Tarrant County businesses and startups, began in June. Twenty nine businesses from 53 entries were selected for five educational sessions and a minimum of two business counseling sessions. Ten were selected as semifinalists based on their submitted plans.
Robert Sturns, Director of the City of Fort Worth’s Economic Development Department, which oversees the BAC, said: “This has been a long and satisfying journey for the three finalists. Training, coaching and mentoring during four months. We are grateful to our judges, our partners and sponsors who make this competition possible.”
The Business Plan Competition is made possible by founding sponsors Capital One and The Alternative Board. Prize sponsors include Sales Mastery Consultants, Inc./Sandler Training, Solomon Bruce Consulting, ADvice, The Alternative Board and Stevie Dawn Inspires. Training sponsors are National Bank of Texas, Color Me Beautiful Image Consultants, Tarleton State University, @Work, Cowtown Graphics & Signs, Iron Egg and Kona Grill. Pitch Night was sponsored by BB&T, Bourland Wall & Wenzel and The University of Texas, College of Business. Support for the competition also is provided by the media sponsor, Fort Worth Business Press, City of Fort Worth, IDEA Works Fort Worth, Texas Christian University, Moncrief Cancer Institute and BAC partners SCORE, Tarrant Small Business Development Center and the TCU Neeley School of Business MBA Program.
The Fort Worth Business Assistance Center (BAC) is a division of the City of Fort Worth and is also a 501c3 nonprofit entity. The BAC provides free start-up counseling, business planning assistance, low-cost workshops on taxes, loans and more to entrepreneurs and small business owners. The BAC is located at 1150 South Freeway in Fort Worth.