For the second time in as many years, a student from the Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Houston C. T. Bauer College of Business has one of the country’s coolest college start-ups.
Entrepreneurship senior Alfonso Olvera, who will graduate in May, is featured in the list of “America’s Coolest College Start-ups 2010” chosen by Inc. magazine. RailTronix, Olvera’s Web-based tracking system that helps rail shippers in the oil industry monitor their shipments in real time, is one of nine companies the magazine chose to highlight.
Last year, Inc. featured Danny Klam, a 2009 graduate of the entrepreneurship program at UH Bauer, and his chain of ice cream and donut shops throughout the Houston area. Inc. is a national publication written for people who run growing companies and has a circulation of nearly 700,000.
“Being featured in such a widely read publication is a great honor for me,” Olvera said. “It could not have been without the help of the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship and Bauer College.”
The education he’s received in entrepreneurship courses and from the professors and mentors at the Wolff Center have been invaluable in launching the business, which counts oil shippers in the U.S. and Mexico among its current customers, he added.
“Being part of the Wolff Center provided me with the necessary tools to start my own business in a way that is realistic and clearly objective,” he said. “After going through three or four different business plans, I began developing this idea while a student at WCE and ultimately turned it in to a real business.”
A native of Mexico City, Olvera came to the United States when he was 15. He was interested in technology as a child and became an entrepreneur early on, starting a computer-repair business in his teens.
The coupling of that hands-on entrepreneurial experience with the lessons learned in the classroom proved to be the right combination and led to success with RailTronix, Olvera said.
“The key is to have perseverance and to be able to continue exploring new ideas after other plans fail,” he added. “The great thing about WCE is that it doesn’t teach entrepreneurship in a traditional textbook way, but rather in a way that takes the current economic and political climate into consideration and identifies the common mistakes and misconceptions entrepreneurs have when starting a business.”
The print issue of Inc. featuring Olvera will hit newsstands in April. Throughout March, the nine students included in the list of “America’s Coolest College Start-ups 2010” are competing in an online contest to land in the top spot on the list. Click here to read more about Olvera and to vote.
By Jessica Navarro