09:43 AM

New Student Club at UST Is Pioneering the Field of Entrepreneurship

Pioneer Society officers, L to R: Dr. Patrick Woock (mentor), Alan Bourgeois (co-president), Alejandra Lopez (co-president), Regina Lopez, Nhung Le, Tina Stinson-Mills, Paige OdenbachThe members of a new student club on the University of St. Thomas-Houston campus are collaborating to blaze trails of entrepreneurship. The Pioneer Society was created in summer 2021 by its two co-presidents—Alan Bourgeois and Alejandra Lopezand their sponsoring/mentoring professor Dr. Patrick Woock, director of The McNair Center for Free Enterprise & Entrepreneurship

“Pioneer Society demonstrates that there are students at UST who want to create businesses, and our club is here to help these students flourish,” Bourgeois said.

Pioneer Society Bridges Gaps for Entrepreneurs

For students who have already completed UST’s Entrepreneurship Class, Bourgeois said the club builds on what they learned.

“We help with the next step,” Bourgeois continued. “We contact mentors and funding organizations to assist our members in getting access to what’s there for them. There are so many organizations trying to help student entrepreneurs. The Pioneer Society is here to bridge the gap.”

Support for Generating Confidence

Another benefit the club offers is support for conquering fear and self-doubt, which can sabotage entrepreneurs.

Alejandra Lopez said, “The primary solution to getting over fear is by getting out of your comfort zone, and Pioneer Society gets students started on this journey.”

The club meets monthly, and officers get together once a week. They aim to have an event every month. The largest one so far was a business pitching contest in cooperation with HCC and other organizations. It was a real-world challenge where competing students had to get out of their comfort zones. The outcome? UST students swept 1st, 2nd and 3rd places with their business plans and left with cash prizes.

Every student who participated in the competition got the invaluable opportunity to practice pitching their ideas to Houston area businesspeople and receiving constructive feedback.

A Place for Mentorship and Networking Opportunities

At events like the pitch fest and monthly club meetings, members hear from CEOs, entrepreneurs and other students about starting a business. As a result, students build their network of contacts and a marketing circle.  

To get involved in UST’s Pioneer Society, an excellent place to start is their Instagram page here.