September 2012, Volume 16, Number 4

Academics

Marlon Castillo and Edward Trujillo
Business students Marlon Castillo, left, and Edward Trujillo have created new companies thanks to Capstone Projects completed as part of the coursework for their MDC bachelor’s degrees.

Veterans Build Their Businesses at MDC

After serving their country in the U.S. Army, two enterprising students now aim to serve their communities through new businesses they have created as Capstone Projects while working on their bachelor’s degrees at MDC.

Veterans Marlon Castillo and Edward Trujillo completed five years in the military before returning to demanding jobs in Miami. Castillo worked in opticianry; Trujillo managed his own construction firm. Both had reached a point in their jobs where they knew they needed advanced degrees to further their careers, so they decided to pursue MDC’s Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management.

Running the Numbers

“Working in vision clinics, I saw so many children who were having problems in school simply because they couldn’t see well,” said Castillo. “For just $7, tops, I knew we could get kids the glasses they need to excel in the classroom.”

This simple realization gave him the perfect idea for his Capstone Project, a crucial component of the MDC degree he was completing in which students create their own companies, complete with a detailed business prospectus, staffing strategies, marketing ideas and full financial plans, including startup costs and break-even estimates. Castillo named his brainchild the Dream Vision Foundation, a nonprofit organization that will one day provide glasses to those who can't otherwise afford them.

“Through vouchers sold to businesses, we can easily raise the funds to help hundreds of children,” he said.

Clever Solution

For his part, Trujillo was inspired to solve a problem that had hurt his business. Expensive tools stolen from trucks at his construction sites had robbed his company of profits, so he invented a device that could be retrofitted onto existing toolboxes to prevent future thefts, helping not only his own company but also others in the construction industry.

Having patented his creation, he is now looking into manufacturing options and soon hopes to launch his product and see his new Tool Box Lock business grow.

“MDC’s Capstone Project helped me put all the pieces in place,” he said. “It gave me the tools I need to guarantee that my company will grow.”

Prepared to Excel

In addition to the Capstone Projects, MDC’s rigorous bachelor’s program also prepares students to build their own thriving businesses by having them complete internships as part of their coursework at MDC, said Thania Ríos, associate dean of MDC’s School of Business. The combined results of internships and projects are producing outstanding results.

“The Capstone Projects are spawning creative ideas and have become a vehicle for breeding entrepreneurs,” Ríos said. “Castillo and Trujillo are two of the many dedicated, hard-working business majors at MDC who have put their dreams into action by creating concrete business plans and launching their own companies.”

— BK


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