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Capstone Project Success Stories

The EDEN 6359 capstone project is designed to allow students to demonstrate knowledge and skills learned in the MSEDE program in a meaningful way. The semester-long project which is completed near graduation allows the student to develop and execute a project that is focused on entrepreneurship, economic development, or a combination of both. The student works with UHV professors and outside evaluators to conduct and evaluate the project. Several students have turned their projects into valuable resources for themselves or their community. Below are some examples.

Monica Cornetti

Monica Cornetti is a 2008 MSEDE program graduate and is an internationally known author, speaker and business trainer. She owns EntrepreNow! a consulting firm that specializes in training trainers to deliver more effective business development courses. She has also written Your Face Isn’t Finished Until Your Lipstick Is On: Rules of the Women’s Success Game, a book to help encourage and guide women business leaders. One of her products is a program title Locally Grown – A Community-Based Entrepreneurship Curriculum that is designed to help communities build their entrepreneurial capacity. The eight-week curriculum was developed and piloted as Monica’s EDEN 6359 project. She worked with her local Small Business Development Center (SBDC), a local community college in the Dallas area, and her EDEN 6359 instructor to develop and pilot the program. The director of the SBDC and community college instructors served as her outside evaluators. Her EDEN 6359 project has turned into a valuable product for her.

Steven Kaufman

Steven Kaufman, a 2011 MSEDE graduate, is founder and owner of Zeus Mortgage in Houston, Texas. Steven and Zeus Mortgage have received several awards and recognitions, such as being one of Houston Business Journal’s Fastest Growing Companies in 2010, Inc. Magazine Fastest Growing Companies in America, an Ernst and Young U.S. Entrepreneur of the Year Finalists in 2010, and by the National Mortgage Professional Magazine as one of the Most Influential “40 and under 4)” Mortgage Professionals in the United States in both 2010 and 2011. Steven has put his MSEDE classwork to good use because some of his current business model was refined in the EDEN classes.

Steven also believes in giving back to the community. In 2008, Steven founded the Fanatical Change Foundation in Houston, a non-profit to help the people in the community who have suffered horrific tragedy. In 2011, Steven used his EDEN 6359 project to develop a grant request from the UPS Foundation to expand and grow the Fanatical Change Foundation. Using a template for a business plan introduced in EDEN 6352, he developed a successful grant proposal that netted $25,000 in 2011 and $30,000 in 2012. The UPS Foundation mentioned that the proposal was one of the best and most comprehensive they had ever received. Houston has certainly benefited from his EDEN 6359 project.

Timothy Aramburo

Timothy Aramburo graduated from the MSEDE program in 2013. Timothy is one of the owners of Aramburo Enterprises LLC., a real estate investment and development company with offices in New Orleans and Sugar Land, Texas. As stated on the firm’s website, “They envisioned a self-sustaining real estate investment and development company that would reinvent urban areas into innovative and aesthetically pleasing neighborhoods. Their painstaking restorations of historic landmarks are reflected in the properties’ resemblance to their original grandeur. Aramburo Enterprises strives to balance its construction projects with a mix of apartments and retail outlets to meet the needs of today’s busy households.” The firm is dedicated to improving the quality of life in the communities in which its properties are located.

Timothy entered his EDEN 6359 project for establishing Blue Sky Flight Services, an emergency air ambulance service to the Houston area, in the Newspring Business Development Competition hosted by the Newspring Center for Social Entrepreneurship and Business Nurturing in Spring Branch, Texas. Blue Sky Flight Services was one of five finalists and received an honorable mention. The proposed air ambulance service would certainly enhance the quality of life for those in its service area.