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Jones Students Compete for Startup Money

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The Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University held their fourth annual Owl Tank, an event modeled after ABC’s Shark Tank. Taneshia Barton ’10, founder and CEO of BlackBoxx and president of the Jones Graduate School Entrepreneurs Organization (JGSEO) welcomed everyone and explained the purpose of the event: “to give exposure to businesses that may not conform to the traditional venture capital profile.”

Jones’ Owl tank is an opportunity for undergraduate, graduate and alumni to present startup ideas that may not require significant venture capital funding to investors and business leaders. Entrants get expert feedback, on-going advice, connections and maybe even prize money.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker opened the event by talking about the importance of small businesses. “Houston was a very improbable crossroads of business. Today we are one of the fastest growing cities and have made it a practice and policy to assist businesses in growing. I was a small business owner for 10 years … I learned a lot through that experience. Mostly this: running a business takes planning, persistence, perspiration and passion. Thank you to those of you who are putting your dreams in your hands and investing in yourself. I’m proud of the fact that Houston has more and more of these kinds of events and opportunities.”

This year, two rice undergraduates and three Rice MBA students comprised the three teams that won. You can see the winners of the event and a brief description of their businesses on the Rice news website.

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