A&M Students' 'Shark Tank' Style Pitches Pay Off With Funding from Aggieland Credit Union

Bryan-College Station, Texas Nov. 2, 2022 – Fifty master’s level students from the Texas A&M Mays Business School pitched their entrepreneurial business projects to financial professionals from Aggieland Credit Union as part of a unique class called the Integrated Business Experience (IBE).

The IBE is a hands-on learning experience that puts post-graduate students to the test of developing and managing a real business. During the program, students work to identify a unique product or service, then form companies to bring their concepts to market. They are required to conduct market research to determine market viability for their idea, create business and marketing plans, establish manufacturing arrangements if needed, and pitch their ideas to a panel of judges to secure funding.

Ten companies pitched financial and marketing leaders at Aggieland Credit Union to secure funding for their businesses.

Each of the 10 companies were successful, convincing the Aggieland judges to approve  business loans ranging from $1,100 to $3,000 based on the business pitches.

The judges noted that Wehner Woodworks was a standout company for its creative outsourcing arrangement with the Kerens ISD’s Future Farmers of America (FFA) Chapter, and its creativeness in repurposing discarded wooden farm spools. The company is partnering with the FFA group to refurbish the rustic spools into practical, useful, and stylish tables for the home or office.

The IBE companies are to manufacture and sell their goods during the course of the program throughout the fall semester. Students are limited when it comes to selling on campus outside of an organized fair, requiring them to look for ways to partner with student groups and organizations to create marketing and sales opportunities.

At the end of the semester each company will donate its profits to a designated charity. For Wehner Woodworks, proceeds will go to the Kerens FFA in the form of scholarships for the students who participated in building the tables.  

“The IBE program gives students a real-life experience of being an entrepreneur,” said Jason Goodman, COO of Aggieland Credit Union and Texas A&M Class of 2000. “Aggieland’s role, beyond funding to get them started, is also to help mentor and offer financial and marketing counsel to help them succeed.”

Funding decisions were based on the individual business pitches and how well each team presented their case. Aggieland’s funding was $18,350 this year, bringing its total funding for the program to $100,000 over seven years.

“IBE is one of the most unique classes on campus, forcing students to apply principles and concepts they have learned in other courses into the formation, operation and close-out of real businesses with real outcomes,” said Blake Petty, Executive Director McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship at Texas A&M University and instructor for the IBE course. “The experience allows them to put what they have learned into practice and exposes them to the nuances of business, where their actions and decisions will determine how successful they are.

Petty added, “The revenue these students earn will be donated to the charitable partner of their choosing, which is meaningful icing on the cake.”

In December each business will make a final presentation to Aggieland Credit Union to showcase their performance, and then celebrate the donation of their profits with their chosen charity.

About Aggieland Credit Union

Aggieland Credit Union is a subsidiary of Austin-based Greater Texas Credit Union. The full-service financial cooperative serves students, faculty, administration, friends, family, and loyal alumni of Texas A&M University. Through its parent, Greater Texas, Aggieland members can bank from either credit union with locations in Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Bryan-College Station, Edinburg, and the DFW market.