Senior competes at Indy hoping to win $10,000

On Friday, a 21-year-old TCU student, who is also the owner of a thriving real estate business, will have slightly more than eight minutes to promote his idea for a new business while riding in a limousine.Entrepreneurial management senior Adam Blake left Thursday for Indiana to compete in the Nascent 500 Business Challenge to win $10,000.

The Nascent 500 is a competition for undergraduate entrepreneurs to pitch their original business ideas to a panel of judges at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Students from around the nation have submitted their business plans to the Entrepreneurship Center at Ball State University, and 12 were selected to compete in the challenge.

The participants will be divided into teams of three.

Each team has 500 seconds, one lap, to present their plans to three judges in the back of a limousine as it slowly travels around the track.

One person from each team will be chosen for the next round, the “Homestretch”, where they will give a more formal presentation to three new judges.

The winner will receive $10,000, a victory lap around the famous speedway and will partake in the Indy 500 tradition of drinking milk from a quart jar.

Brad Hancock, assistant director of the Neeley Entrepreneurship Center, will accompany Blake on his venture to Indianapolis.

“Going to Indy and driving around the speedway in a limo is cool,” Hancock said, “but his history leading up to it makes it even more interesting.”

Blake will present his business plans for a new company, Brighter Energy, a solar hot water heater company.

Brighter Energy is a spin-off of a company he started with a Cornell University student during his junior year called Silicon Solar Housing Solutions.

“We made a solar light that illuminates real estate signs at night.” he said. “We were selling our product and we were researching solar hot water heaters and other products for basically thermal applications.”

“The new company is going to sell solar hot water heaters and the different parts for it,” he said.

In addition to Brighter Energy, he runs Blake Venture Corp., a real estate property management company with $1 million in revenues. He started his company during his freshman year at TCU.

“I got my real estate license and started buying rental properties,” he said. “I bought four or five houses freshman year.”

Blake said he received his brokers license his junior year when he became more interested in commercial development. “I (oversee) three people, office space, two commercial centers and I flip a lot of houses too,” he said.

Blake won the Global Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2005 for his real estate company. He is currently the only student from TCU to receive this international award.

“He is the kind of guy you give a deadline and tell him what to do and he just does it,” Hancock said. “He doesn’t need prodding. He just does it.