HEB Chamber Investor Panel selects students’ creative and practical business idea
Daniel and Maria Ghaly with Darryl Day, one of the program instructors. Inset photo: One of their designs.
BEDFORD, TX: Dress to Express, the business created by siblings Maria and Daniel Ghaly, was named the winner of the HEB Chamber of Commerce Investor Panel, held March 22 at the Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District’s Gene A. Buinger Career & Technical Education Academy.
The Investor Panel invites students in junior high and high school to present business ideas and solicit funding from a panel of prospective investors, in a format similar to the popular TV show Shark Tank. The Investor Panel is part of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!), run by the Chamber in collaboration with the HEB ISD.
Dress to Express creates personalized, weighted fashion accessories that attach to clothing with a magnet. The accessory can serve a variety of uses, helping hold down a dress on a windy day, protecting a bicycle rider’s pant leg or just serving as an attractive jewelry piece.
Maria is in the 9th grade at Hurst Jr. High School and Daniel is in the 7th. They are the children of Shereen Gendy and Maged Ghaly. In May, the siblings will travel to Rochester, NY, for the Saunders Scholars semifinal competition, where they will compete to advance to the finals, held in Washington, D.C.
Kimberly Ball, chairman of the HEB Chamber, major account manager with DOCUmation of North Texas and one of four panelists, said all of the students had great proposals, but that Dress to Express was exceptionally strong.
“Maria and Daniel really touched all the bases,” Ball said. “Their idea is marketable, costefficient, sustainable and fun. And the accessories look great, too. We all were very impressed with the creativity of their idea and how well they executed it.”
Eight other business ideas were presented to the panel, and each business received some funding.
In addition to Kimberly Ball, other panelists were: Steve Chapman, HEB school district superintendent for schools; Deborah Paganelli, president of Texas Health Hospital HEB and Steve Ward with Allstate-Steve Ward Insurance Agency in Bedford. Moderator for the program was Michael Delgado, D.D.S., the YEA! steering committee chair.
YEA! is a nationwide program launched in 2004 at the University of Rochester (NY). Over the course of nine months, participants learn how to write a business plan, obtain funding, launch the venture and market it. Instruction is supplemented with guest speakers, visits to local companies and mentoring. They also learn about web development, e-commerce and trade shows. The Chamber’s YEA! program is one of just six in Texas.
Mary Frazior, President and CEO of the Chamber, said the YEA! program is just one of the many ways the Chamber works to fulfill its mission of advancing business and strengthening communities.
“We believe the YEA! program is an investment in our future,” Frazior said. “By helping these young people learn entrepreneurial and leadership skills, we are helping ensure that our community continues to thrive in the years to come.”
Funding for the Investor Panel is provided by several local sponsors, including the HEB Economic Development Foundation, Texas Health HEB, Allstate-Steve Ward Insurance Agency, 6 Stones Mission Network, Delgado Orthodontics, First Financial Bank and Republic Services.
The Chamber will start accepting applications for the 2016-2017 YEA! program in May. To learn more, contact Linda Dibley at the Chamber, 817-283-1521 or visit yeaheb.org. List of all participants and business ideas:
Benjamin Benjadol, Central Jr. High School: American Geographic Conference
Maria and Daniel Ghaly, Hurst Jr. High School, Dress to Express David Herrera, Trinity
High School: Dream and Print 3D
Dev Jivanji, Central Jr. High: Worldly Feet
Tyler Kostopoulos and Daniel Stanev, Hurst Jr. High: StanKo Designs
Dylan McGinnis, Trinity High School: HEB Lawn & Windows
Ahmad Mohammad, Trinity High School: StickerFitz
Benjamin West, Trinity High School: All Washed Up!
Marshall Wimberly, L.D. Bell High School: Techmo Media Productions