College Entrepreneurs Create Tech Start-ups
Tammy Duval-Nam, is one of eight LaGuardia Community College students on their way to creating profitable businesses. She recently won first place in the Capital One Entrepreneurship Program, a free business-training program for students at the college. Her winning entry, Knowts, is a self-tracking app that makes it easy for users to record memories and use them to gain insights into their lives and the world.
Duval-Nam grew up in California and now lives in Manhattan with her husband and business partner. She earned a BA in Mathematics and is studying Computer Science at LaGuardia. She plans to continue to develop Knowts while pursuing a career in data science.
“I’m very grateful to the program,” Duval-Nam said. “I learned so much about how to build a business and how to effectively present to investors. It was an invaluable experience and everything I learned will stay with me for a long time.”
The program is sponsored by Capital One’s Community Development Banking division and administered by NYDesigns, a program of LaGuardia Community College (in Long Island City, New York) that catalyzes growth for small businesses and entrepreneurs in the design, technology, and maker spaces. The partnership between Capital One and NYDesigns was first established in 2008. It now focuses on the creation of technology-based businesses and is designed to help foster career pathways in tech and nurture the city’s ecosystem of tech jobs and businesses.
Students participate in an 11-week training program offering a suite of business support services including:
- Weekly business workshops introducing the fundamentals of the business development process such as the business pitch, financial market research, marketing, financing and capital structure, planning and forecasting, building an effective team, and business management
- Individual business counseling sessions
- Ongoing mentorship from Capital One Small Business Bankers
- Free access to dedicated co-working space, office resources, business services, and events at the NY Designs Incubator
- $1,000 in seed funding to build a prototype for demo day
The program concludes in a Demo Day where the students present their prototypes and pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges for a chance to win an additional $3,000 in seed capital. In addition, the winning students leave the competition with:
- A working prototype of their product
- A strong pitch deck for approaching investors and partners
- The skills and confidence to take their business to the next level
“Entrepreneurship comes down to creativity; imaging a future version of a product or service. Our students accomplished an incredible feat by envisioning their technology product and carrying through fruition,” said Capital One Entrepreneurship Program Instructor and Growth Technology Executive Jesse Sandoval.