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UST Business Education Fuels Student Entrepreneurs

UST Business Education Fuels Student Entrepreneurs


While still in school, five University of St. Thomas Cameron School of Business students have taken the risk to start their own businesses, ranging from making and selling barbecue sauce to running an internet business to operating a full-scale tutoring and educational consulting service. These students have taken advantage of their experience at UST and their own ingenuity to meet the needs of the community.

John Daugherty III - ’Cue Sauce


John Daugherty III is a senior international studies major and business minor. He enjoys cooking six days a week, and he is now manufacturing and selling a signature barbecue sauce called ’Cue Sauce. Daugherty describes the sauce as “sweet, tangy and spicy,” a great marinade, and the only sauce he knows of that has no tomato products.

“We cook it and bottle it and do everything ourselves,” he said. While they have filed an application for a commercial kitchen license, ’Cue Sauce has sold about 40-50 gallons on a home brew basis through the company’s website and through referrals. 
Read John Daugherty’s complete story.

Devin Baptiste and Otto Kevin Valdez – GroupRaise


Devin Baptiste and Otto Kevin Valdez, both senior finance majors, started their business GroupRaise at UST nine months ago with a friend Paul Kwiatkowski, a senior at Rice University. The website connects restaurants with organizations wanting to fundraise.

“We allow restaurants to take slow times and post them online for local groups in our community to host fundraising events for a percentage of the sale,” Baptiste said. “We are local community networking for restaurants.” The site,, is accepting applications to join in beta mode, and the public site is coming soon.

Read the complete story about Devin Baptiste and Otto Kevin Valdez

Chris Carter –


Chris Carter developed his search engine for nightlife after wondering what to do with friends one night and wanting to know the hot places in town. His website will go live later this spring, allowing users to find food and drink specials, local events and live music by searching 150 categories.

“You can communicate with your friends about going out for the weekend, and it’s not just bars and clubs,” he said. “It’s all the restaurants in Houston.” Carter said the site functions similar to Facebook. Users can create events, and the site will notify friends via email or text message based on their preferences.

Read Chris Carter’s complete story.

Ibrahim Firat – Firat Educational Solutions


Ibrahim Firat, ’06, MBA ’08, took advantage of a group project in an MBA Marketing Seminar to develop the marketing plan for his company Firat Educational Solutions in 2007. He had already started his tutoring and academic consulting service for high school students, so when his group was tasked with creating a marketing plan, he convinced them to use his business as the subject. They set targets and Firat was able to exceed his expectations later in real life.

Firat works with students as early as eighth grade through senior year to provide academic tutoring, coaching for extra-curricular activities and volunteer opportunities, career and aptitude counseling and preparation for college acceptance. Now, with 11 consultants who work part-time or contract, FES has served about 300 students since it began.

Read Ibrahim Firat’s complete story.

UST Resources for Entrepreneurs


All of these students took advantage of the resources as part of their education in UST’s Cameron School of business to start their businesses, whether by studying more economics and finance, meeting business partners in class, taking professor’s business advice to heart or convincing fellow students to help write their marketing plans. They found an environment that provided information and support for their companies.

For students who are looking for more resources for starting and growing their own businesses, UST offers an undergraduate class, MGMT 3330: Small Business Institute, taught by Andrea Condon, in which students write business plans and present them to a group of “angel investors.”

There is also a graduate class, MBA 5362: Entrepreneurship, taught by Dr. Cristian Morosan, assistant professor of management and marketing. The entrepreneurship class teaches students about the process of starting a business, how to spot entrepreneurial ideas and how to study the feasibility. Students’ business plans are evaluated in class, and they meet successful entrepreneurs, many of whom are UST alumni.

“Hopefully, they get inspired by this, and see aspects of entrepreneurship that are not necessarily portrayed in any book,” Dr. Morosan said. “This class will not make you an entrepreneur overnight, but it will inform you about what it takes to start a business.

Shown above front row: John Daugherty, Chris Carter; back row Devin Baptiste, Kevin Valdez