WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A group of young Wichitans are making their business dreams a reality.
The Center for Entrepreneurship at Wichita State University (WSU) said its experienced a dramatic increase of student and faculty start-up ideas in the last two years. Currently. the Center is working with approximately 30 student and faculty ideas to assist them with development and commercialization of those ideas. Of those 30 ideas, officials said 12 businesses have launched from WSU.
Pinole Blue, an assortment of food products, bringing traditional pinole recipes from blue corn, is one of the businesses that has launched from WSU.
“Pinole is an ancient recipe since the time of the Aztecs that is when you roast and grind corn into a fine powder. The organic blue corn that we use, we are actually importing from Mexico,” said Pinole Blue CEO and Founder Eddie Sandoval. “Most people ask what does it do for me? Pinole, since it’s made out of corn, and corn being a complex carb. it will slowly break down and give you energy throughout your day.”
Sandoval, 23, and his business partner started Pinole Blue in early 2017.
“I literally started in my garage and within 3 months we sold more than 400 pounds, so that’s when I was like, OK, we need to take this more serious,” Sandoval said.
In March of 2017, Pinole Blue won the Shocker New Venture Competition, a competition designed to inspire innovation and develop entrepreneurial mindsets.
After the competition, Sandoval and his partner hit the ground running.
“It was a lot of work. You had to do it all by hand. I personally drove to Mexico, picked up the corn, drove back, did it all in my house, packaging. We would drive to the stores in Kansas City, western Kansas, Wichita, face-to-face, door-to-door sales,” Sandoval said.
Several months later and Pinole Blue has grown into a full-fledged business. Sandoval said he has products in 50 stores and a portion of the sales help support the people of the Tarahumara tribes in Mexico.
“It’s been incredible. We started literally with just brown-paper lunch bags and now we have this packaging. We have our food processing licensing. We are in a commercial space,” he said. “My ultimate goal would be we would be on the counter of a majority of the stores and people recognize our name. Pinole Blue, they’re organic and they give back to the tribe.”
Another WSU start-up business is Mobile Car Tune, a Wichita mobile auto service.
“We have mobile mechanics and detailers, so we will service cars at our customer’s location, whether they are at their office, at home or at a friend’s place,” said Mobile Car Tune CEO Jocelyn Galicia.
Galicia, 21, and her two cousins started Mobile Car Tune in 2016.
“This idea started with my two cousins who were servicing cars at their homes and other people’s homes and they wanted to grow this business, so they brought me on to help them,” Galicia said.
Soon after, the business took off. Mobile Care Tune now has four mechanics and services dozens of vehicles each month.
“I didn’t think it was really possible, but when my cousins brought me on I did what I thought would be good for the business and I slowly realized, wow, people are kind of taking us seriously, this is cool, so I started learning and educating myself,” Galisha said.
KSN asked Sandoval and Galisha what they would tell other students looking to start a business.
“I just tell them go all in,” Sandoval said. “Take risks.”
“It makes me feel like I have a duty to help others realize they can also fulfill their potential or chase their dreams and they can do it no matter what age,” Galisha said.