Students win $10K for business venture in Startup Challenge

December 10, 2019

Journey Poles claims top spot in Startup Challenge

SAN ANTONIO – The H-E-B School of Business and Administration awarded first place in the 2019 Startup Challenge to two University of the Incarnate Word students for their proposed business venture, Journey Poles.

The Startup Challenge, sponsored by HOLT Ventures, is an initiative by the H-E-B School of Business and Administration focused on entrepreneurship, awarding thousands of dollars in seed money each year to students and their startup businesses. The first and second place teams were awarded $10,000 and $2,000 respectively.

The competition began at the start of the fall semester with more than a dozen teams. Five finalists were selected to present their business proposals on December 6 to a panel of five judges, where Journey Poles took first place.

Journey Pole prototype of unicorn

Journey Poles - First Place


Journey Poles provides a colorful, unique and fun way of transforming regular hospital IV poles into something that pediatric patients are comfortable with and truly spark a smile.

Team Members

  • Noah Silvas – Senior, Biology
  • Yolanda Martinez – B.S. in Nutrition, dual graduate student in Pharmacy and Health Care Administration

Noah Silvas and Yolanda Martinez accept winning check

Sample of the IKU product

IKÚ - Second Place


Our startup will manufacture a traditional fermented drink that is both tasty and healthy, including added probiotic bacteria. An affordable source of hydration with additional health benefits suitable for people of all ages.

Team Members

  • Ángela Itzel Ogando Estrada – Senior, Nutrition
  • Diana Fernández Cruz – Senior, Nutrition
  • Sergio Alejandro Villanueva Muñoz – Sophomore, Animation and Visual Effects
  • Yamile Aquique Mojica – Junior, Marketing
  • Óscar Alejandro Torres Contreras – Junior, Marketing

Members of the IKU team

Dpower team demonstrates their product

DPOWER - Finalist


DPOWER is a human-powered energy system for spin studios. It turns electrical expenses into savings and increases the number of customers in the facility. Our approach upgrades a facility's existing equipment by installing DPOWER generators, which transform exercise into electricity, avoiding the cost of new equipment. By capitalizing on human-powered energy, spin studios can reduce their electric bills while creating opportunities for those who seek to improve their health and the world.

Team Members

  • Luis Aaron Jimenez – Freshman, Mechatronics Engineering
  • Sarah Ruiz Treviño – Junior, Accounting
  • Ron D. Cooper, Jr. – Junior – Electrical Engineering

Members of the DPower team

Sample of the True Hemp product

True Hemp - Finalist


True Hemp is a cheap, easy and fun field-testing kit that allows you to determine if a cannabis product contains THC. The kit would contain everything you would need to allow for a colorimetric diagnostic tool to determine if there is THC in your product. The value of knowing if your product does or does not contain THC is very impactful when it comes to one's health, job and social status. Currently there is not a well-known product for consumers and caretakers to purchase.

Team Members

  • Cynthia Franklin – M.S., Clinical Investigation
  • Sushma Ramsinghani – Ph.D., Medicinal Chemistry
  • Paulo Carvalho – Ph.D., Medicinal Chemistry
  • Isaac Sanchez Villalpando – M.B.A., 2020
  • Mark Garcia – Senior, Marketing

Members of the True Hemp team

Demonstration of the Wheel-Holder product

Wheel-Holder - Finalist


Wheel-holder is an arm hinge accessory for wheelchairs. The device can swing bags, backpacks and other items that are in the back of the wheelchair to the front. This will allow the wheelchair user to access objects in their bags, such as documents and other personal items, without struggling to reach the back of the chair.

Team Members

  • Patrick Satterfield – Junior, International Business
  • Ibrahim Alzamil – Senior, International Business
  • Andrea A. Martinez – Senior, Business Management
  • Mohammed Alharbi – Senior, International Business

Presentation of the Wheel-Holder team

Journey Poles was created by Noah Silvas, a senior biology major and marketing minor, and Yolanda Martinez, who holds a BS in Nutrition and is a current dual graduate student in pharmacy and health care administration at UIW.

The startup manufactures unique and colorful IV poles for use in children’s hospitals and health care facilities. The IV poles are deigned to look like cute animals, flowers, rainbows and more. In doing so, Journey Poles seeks to inspire a sense of hope and comfort in pediatric patients as they receive life-saving treatments. The team brought a prototype of its product to the final presentations on December 6, featuring an IV pole designed to look like a unicorn.

The inspiration behind Journey Poles came while Silvas was serving as intern in a pediatric care hospital and helping to treat a young patient named Journey. Silvas wanted to take an otherwise cold and harsh-looking medical device and transform it into something friendly and comforting.

Martinez and Silvas presented a full plan for their startup and how they plan to utilize the $10,000 first prize. They plan to enter Journey Poles in the TCU Values and Ventures Competition in 2020 as they continue to seek funding. Martinez and Silvas were part of a team that took first place in last year's Startup Challenge at UIW.

Second place in the 2019 Startup Challenge went to the team behind IKÚ, a healthy fermented beverage that is traditional in Mexico. The team was comprised of students from the UIW campus in Mexico City, including Ángela Itzel Ogando Estrada, Diana Fernández Cruz, Sergio Alejandro Villanueva Muñoz, Yamile Aquique Mojica and Óscar Alejandro Torres Contreras. They received $2,000 for finishing in second place.

The H-E-B School of Business and Administration congratulates all the participants in the 2019 Startup Challenge for their dedication and hard work. The Startup Challenge would not have been possible without the support and sponsorship of HOLT Ventures, which funded the $10,000 first prize. The Startup Challenge was organized and developed by HEBSBA faculty Dr. Según Oyedele and Dr. Jose Moreno.