Small Business News & Opportunities
In this Issue: 
  • Big News  
    • Houston Community College Awarded Entrepreneurial College of the Year
    • Cohort 3 Graduates from our Small Business Success Series by HCC 
  • Alumni Successes and Updates
    • HCC Business Plan Competition
      • Sarah Mercier Learning Ninjas - HCC TV Interview
      • Christa Clarke - Cubicles to Cocktails - Wins $10,000
    • HAGGL - Sponsor Spotlight 
    • Thanks Again to our HCC Business Plan Competition Sponsors, Trainers, Judges and Advisors! 
    • HCC Business Plan Cometition 2021 Coming Soon - Apply in January
    • Small Business Success Series by HCC 
      • Rachel Cevallos - Identity Plus - HCC TV Interview
      • Jerome Vielman - Wins Liftoff Houston Competition
  • Upcoming Virtual Events & Classes - HCC & Partners 
    • Digital Marketing Clinc
    • Taxes in Texas
    • Creating a Successful Business Plan - Online Continuing Ed Class
    • Transformational Leadership
    • Small Business Administration Events
    • Meet the Buyer 
    • Project HOMEWORLD - 2020-21 IDEAS Academy Student Challenge
  • More Fall News from the Glenda & David Regenbaum Center for Entrepreneurship at HCC Northwest 
    • High School Teams Pitch at Rice University for Junior Achievement EnTEENprenuer Conference
    • Liftoff Houston Startup Competition - Congratulations to the Winners! 
Houston Community College Awarded 
"Entrepreneurial College of the Year" 

The Houston Community College System has been selected as the winner of the 
by the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE). 
Houston Community College joins the University of Houston's Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship which is ranked No. 1 in the U.S. on the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur's list of the top Best Undergraduate Programs for Entrepreneurs in 2020 and the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University which is ranked the No. 1 Graduate Entrepreneurship program for 2020 by the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine. 
No other city can claim to be the center for entrepreneurship in the U.S. The City of Houston can clearly and proudly claim to be the Entrepreneurial hub of the United States. 
Houston is truly the Entrepreneurial Capital of the USA.
THANK YOU to all of the entrepreneurs, small business owners, partners, students, and HCC faculty and staff! Without your support and dedication to our programs, this wouldn't have been possible!
Small Business Success Series by HCC©
Cohort 3 Graduated November 19 
Congratulations to the Graduates of our October  - November Cohort  of the Small Business Success Series by HCC© 

The October-November Cohort of our Small Business Success Series by HCC kicked off on October 19. The Glenda & David Regenbaum Center for Entrepreneurship at HCC Northwest delivers five modules over five weeks including: 1) Vet the Venture - Are My Ideas Lucrative? 2) Ignite the Entrepreneur in You; 3) Sales & Marketing Powered Up; 4) Financials for Small Business Launch & Growth and 5) Minimizing Risk-Protect Your Business, Your Assets & Your Future. The series includes dynamic general sessions on Monday and Thursday afternoons with networking, presentations, Q&A and sharing as entrepreneurs apply learnings and develop their business assumptions and strategies in class, between sessions and in small peer-to-peer breakout group sessions. Optional weekly office hours allow for more Q&A with facilitators.

A class of proposed, startup and existing entrepreneurs was selected from over 100 applications to move through the series at no cost thanks to our sponsor Wells Fargo Bank.
On November 19, we celebrated 39 Graduates of the October - November Small Business Success Series (SBSS) Cohort. Dr. Zachary Hodges, President, HCC Northwest and Dr. Maya Durnovo, Chief Entrepreneurial Officer congratulated all involved, along with David Regenbaum and Sandra Louvier who lead the SBSS program Delivery Team. The program is delivered by six primary facilitators and features panels of experts and resource partners from the local Houston entrepreneurial eco-system. 
The graduation ceremony also featured two class representatives, Henry Keculah and Viviana Hall who addressed the crowd. The Zoom chat feature revved up as class mates cheered on Henry and Viviana while they spoke and as they gave shout outs to fellow classmates they had gotten to know in our general sessions, small breakout groups, office hour-sessions and networking sessions throughout the five-week program. 

We thanked our facilitators and guest speakers from the Houston entrepreneurial eco-system, including the Small Business Administration, SCORE, various sources of funding, and legal, tax, insurance and cyber security experts.  Wells Fargo Bank participates throughout the five week cohort providing resources and panelists, while sponsoring funds to provide this tuition free program to the entrepreneurs accepted into our program!   

The class of entrepreneurs makes the magic happen as they engage, absorb and actively participate throughout the program and after it to apply what they are learning to their businesses.  This leads to a cohort like this one of graduating entrepreneurs aligned with others continually reinvigorating their dedication to adaptability and the pursuit of success! 
Congratulations to our October - November Cohort Graduates!  
The Completion of the Small Business Success Series
also fulfills the program/class pre-requisite for applying
for the 2021 HCC Business Plan Competition in January! 
Alumni Success Stories
HCC Business Plan Competition

Sarah Mercier, Owner, CEO 
Learning Ninjas
2nd Place Winner 
2020 HCC Business Plan Competition

Learning Ninja's is an expert consultancy company working for businesses who want to take their training online. 
Click Here to Play Sarah's Brief Video Interview
The Topic - Interview 
Host Todd Duplantis
interviews Sarah Mercier. Hear how she operated before the pandemic, how the HCC Business Plan Competition helped her pivot during the pandemic and what she did to reposition her company. 

"I am honored to win prize money, but any one who completes the competition gets the the greatest prize. The highest value of the competition is moving through it (training and advising). We used to have a generic picture in our heads, now we have a structured plan for where we are headed."

Christa Clarke, Founder, Owner
Cubicles to Cocktails
Honorable Mention Winner 
2020 HCC Business Plan Competition

Announcing Christa Just Won 2nd Place 
in the Black Girl Ventures 
Houston Pitch Competition!
Congratulations to Christa Clarke for winning Second Place in the Black Girl Ventures Houston Pitch Competition raising more than $10,000 in business funding and receiving more than $5,000 of in-kind services from the competition!

Cubicles to Cocktails is a career development platform and community for working women of color, offering a space for women to network, find mentors, and gain valuable career advice that authentically speaks to their experiences so that they can navigate their career switch with confidence and support. 
Sponsor Highlight - HCC Business Plan Competition

Houston Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders 
Thank You HAGGL!  

HCC thanks the Houston Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders (HAGGL) again for your sponsorship of the 2020 HCC Business Plan Competition.  

About HAGGL: The Houston Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders (HAGGL) is an association of the leading lenders affiliated with the SBA and other government guaranteed lending programs. Members include banks, non-bank lenders, and certified development corporations. Preferred lending status and active participation in the SBA programs provide a common bond to allow the group to share information on providing financing solutions and the best quality service for small business owners.

HAGGL Mission: To serve the needs and represent the interests of the small business lending community who utilize the Small Business Administration and other government guaranteed loan programs in the Greater Houston and Southeast Texas region.
Congratulations HAGGL for another successful Annual HAGGL Golf Tournament last month!  

HCC thanks HAGGL and the HAGGL members who support the HCC Business Plan Competition  through sponsorship of prize  money and/or advising time dedicated to entrepreneurs moving through the competition.  Your support of our entrepreneurs during and after the competition truly make a difference, especially during times when it is so essential that our community works together to overcome obstacles. 
 Thank you Again to our Competition Sponsors! 


2021 HCC Business Plan Competition Coming Soon 

Application Period Opens in Janaury

Prepare Now to Apply
The annual HCC Business Plan Competition is for Proposed, Startup and Existing Entrepreneurs. All accepted contestant teams get free training and advising throughout the Spring to refine and polish their plans to start and/or grow their business.  The top five teams win prize money!  All graduating teams feel like winners because they all come out with the greatest value, a stronger written plan, slide deck and video to pursue their business goals and to seek funding.  

Are you ready to apply?  

Proposed and Startup* Entrepreneurs - Steps to Apply  

1) Complete a Prequalifying Class or Program and 
2) Attend the Financial Workshop
3) Apply in January

Have you completed one of these Prequalifying Classes or Programs?
  • HCC Creating a Successful Business Plan Online Continuing Education Class - Still Available! - Quick Sign Up  It takes just three minutes to sign up and takes about 24 hours of your time! Scroll down for More and to Sign Up.
  • Small Business Success Series by HCC
  • Small Business Management - College Credit Class at HCC
  • Entrepreneurship and Economic Development - College Credit Class at HCC
  • Liftoff Houston Startup Competition
  • Houston Area Urban League Small Business University
  • University of Houston SURE Program
If you still need the class scroll down to sign up for it. If you have already completed one of the above, just sign up for and attend a financial workshop in January and submit a strong Application before the competition's January 29 Application Deadline.

* You are considered to be a Startup Entrepreneur for the purposes of our competition if you had not yet achieved six continuous months of net profit prior to the pandemic.

Existing Entrepreneurs - Steps to Apply

1) Financial Workshop - Sign Up for a Virtual Workshop in January and attend it.
2) Apply 

All Applicants Should Submit a Strong Application before the January 29 Competition Application Deadline.  

Workshop Dates and Registration Links will announced soon,
 in addition to the spring competition timeline! 
Alumni Success Stories
Small Business Success Series by HCC

Rachel Cevallos, President, Identity Plus, LLC 
Graduate, Cohort 2 - August-September 2020
Identity Plus, LLC is a design and decorations company in the wearables and promotional products industry located in Houston's historic East-End.  Our wearables delivery platform includes screen printing, direct to garment, dye sublimation and embroidery. We can also do almost any type of promotional item needed due to our access to suppliers from around the world.  
The Topic - Interview 
Host Todd Duplantis
interviews Rachel Cevallos. Hear how she operated before the pandemic, how HCC helped her pivot and what she did to reposition her company. 

"I was attracted to the Small Business Success Series because of the name!  Before the pandemic, I had just expanded and moved into a 4,000 square foot warehouse with a plan to pursue large corporate clients. I needed to pivot and the Series helped me do that. The facilitators and training were great and so was the opportunity to interact with other entrepreneurs in the cohort and in my breakout group.  I was able to pivot in 2020 to do well in attracting smaller clients with small orders. For example, Mask orders took off because I could design logos for small clients and put them on small orders."  For more, click on the link and watch Rachel's Interview.    

Rachel is now also mentoring the Junior Achievement students in HCC's Alief Early College High School class as they refine their plan to roll out their business concepts in Spring 2021. Thanks Rachel! 

Jerome Vielman - Kairos Chemical & Distribution
Graduate, Cohort 2 - August-September 2020
pecial Congratulations to Jerome Vielman, who moved through Liftoff Houston Startup Competition training while also completing and graduating from the August/September Cohort of the Small Business Success Series by HCC. 
Jerome also completed the Liftoff Houston training, submitted his plan for Kairos Chemicals & Distribution, Inc. and presented in the finals. He won the $10,000 first place prize in the Services Category on November 7. 

"Thanks HCC for the five weeks of Small Business Success Series training that gave me an added strength in developing my plan while preparing to submit and present in Liftoff Houston.  In addition to Liftoff's $10,000 prize money, I have also secured a $100,000 line of credit."  

"Thanks to LIftoff and HCC, I have made great progress in 2020 in spite of the pandemic challenges. I will be forever grateful!"   
Featured Events
Monthly Digital Marketing Clinic
December - Putting your Business  
on the Digital Map 

Taxes in Texas Webinar by SCORE
    Wednesday, December 9, 2020, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm 


Featuring Dr. Mohammad Tehrani 
CPA, Entrepreneur and HCC Professor

Topics: This seminar will cover local, state and federal taxes in Texas. 
  • How does registering your business in the state of Texas determines the types of taxes you pay?
  • What is a Franchise Tax and how do you calculate them?
  • What is your business responsibility for Sales Tax?
  • Eleven more topics!  Click on the link below for a full list of topics to be covered. 
Featured Presenter: Dr. Mohammad Tehrani,
holds advanced degrees, in the medical field and in business.  "Mo" is also a CPA and has started, bought, owned and sold multiple businesses in security services, real estate and a pharmacy.  He currently runs his own CPA firm and he is a full-time accounting instructor at HCC.  Mo's career has been focused on entrepreneurship and giving back through teaching, mentoring and training in London, the UK and in Houston.
 He has volunteered by serving on the BCM Credit Union's Board of Directors, through our HCC Center for Entrepreneurship and through SCORE where he served as its President.  He has also been a recurring sponsor for the HCC Business Plan Competition.  Mo talks about taxes, not just as a CPA, but as an experienced multi-faceted entrepreneur! 
Creating a Successful Business Plan Class
Online Continuing Education Class
Takes 15-24 hours of your time 
Choose Instructor-Led OR Self-Paced Class 

Turn your business ideas into a solid plan for financing and long-term success. Committing your idea to paper in the form of a business plan not only increases your chances of obtaining financing, but also in keeping your business strategically focused. 

You will work through all the major components of writing a business plan and emerge with your first draft in hand. And most importantly, you will have completed the first-and most difficult-step on the path to small business success.

If you are a proposed or startup entrepreneur, this class prepares you
 to apply for the Spring 2021 HCC Business Plan Competition!   

How it works: Complete 12 online lessons (each about 1.5 - 2 hours) with quizzes to advance to next lesson. At the end of the 12 lessons, take the multiple choice test to complete the class. (Hint - Save your quizzes; they prepare you very well for the final). The whole class takes about 15-24 hours of your time. 

Easy Enrollment - Takes just three minutes to register for the class!  

Choose Self-Paced OR Instructor Led Class 
Self-Paced - Sign up any day any time!  Our Continuing Education department gives you three months from the date you sign up to finish the class. However, for those taking the class as a prerequisite to apply for the 2021 HCC Business Plan Competition ("Competition"), we recommend that you finish the class by the Competition's Application Deadline of January 29 or by no later than February 15.    

Instructor-Led - Class Starts December 9.  The Instructor Led Class allows you to interact with the instructor online as the lessons are released, ask questions, get answers and benefit from other class participants' Q&A.  One lesson is opened every Wednesday and Friday over six weeks.  All twelve lessons will have been opened by January 15. The multiple choice final will be available on January 15.  Take the final to finish the class any time from January 15 through the January 29 Final Exam Due date, which also happens to be the HCC Business Plan Competition's Application deadline.    

Click below for more info on each lesson and to sign up for the class!  
More Upcoming Virtual Events

Meet the Micro-Lender
December 7  |  11:00am CST
December 16  |  1:00pm CST

Virtual Small Business Expo

Small Business Expo 2020

December 8  |  10:00am-7:30pm CST



HCC Student Corner

Project Homeworld is an ongoing program with opportunities for HCC students
to get involved throughout the year.
Students have opportunities to start and get involved in projects to help their local communities and make a global impact. 

Fall deadline is December 18th to submit your ideas!
Click Here to Learn More and to Get Involved:

  More News From 

Junior Achievement High School Teams Pitch at Ion, Rice & HCC 

High School teams from throughout Houston are planning their businesses in Fall 2020 to launch and run them in Spring 2021. This is thanks to the Junior Achievement Company Program and to partners, instructors and mentors generously contributing time and resources to these students. Mentors and instructors deliver six training sessions in the fall as the students develop their plans and slide presentations to pitch their concepts. 

There are numerous opportunities to pitch their concepts along the way. The students pitched at Ion on October 21 and again at Rice University on November 14.  Some pitched yet again in the HCC IDEAS Pitch Competition.  All participating high schools raise their own funds to run their businesses and some walk away from the pitch competitions with anywhere from $100 to $1,000 of funding.  Congratulations to all of the high school teams who pitched and to those teams that won prize money!  Best wishes to all teams as they move to launching their businesses in the Spring!
Liftoff Houston Startup Competition Announces Winners
Jerome Vielman, Graduate of the Small Business Success Series by HCC Wins $10k
The City of Houston's Liftoff Houston Startup Competition Announced Winners On November 7.  First Place Winners:  Innovation Category - Kimberly Jones, Cosmetic Concierge Nurses; Product Category - Wendell Matthews Goat & Bear Grooming Company; and Services Category - Jerome Vielman, Kairos Chemical & Distribution. 
Each won $10,000 to fund the launch of their businesses!

HCC collaborates with the City of Houston annually by delivering three pitch training sessions in the Liftoff Houston Competition. Sandra Louvier, Director of our Center for Entrepreneurship, also served as judge this year in the finals for the Product Category. Congratulations to the winners and all who completed the Liftoff Training and Competition! 
About the Glenda & David Regenbaum Center for Entrepreneurship - HCC Northwest

OUR MISSION:  To help entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. We do this by offering workshops, seminars, summits, classes and competitive training and advising, while also providing practical knowledge, resources and connections.
Contact us at c4e@hccs.edu or 713-718-6650

We are committed to furthering the cause of social justice in our community and beyond...

Houston Community College is committed to furthering the cause of social justice in our community and beyond. HCC does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, gender identity and expression, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, or veteran status. I fully support that commitment and, as such, will work to maintain a positive learning environment based upon open communication, mutual respect, and non-discrimination. In this course, we share in the creation and maintenance of a positive and safe learning environment. Part of this process includes acknowledging and embracing the differences among us in order to establish and reinforce that each one of us matters.  I appreciate your suggestions about how to best maintain this environment of respect. If you experience any type of discrimination, please contact me and/or the Office of Institutional Equity at 713-718-8271. 
From all of us to all of you In all our offerings! 
Sandra Louvier, Director
David Regenbaum, Entrepreneur in Residence
Flora Renteria, Reception Assistant
Sabiha, Dholkawala, Administrative Assistant