Fort Hood Soldiers and spouses learned entrepreneurial techniques throughout the week, culminating in a “Shark Tank” style business presentation, with the opportunity for three lucky participants to receive scholarships to Central Texas College.

In its ninth year in a row, Army Community Service teamed up with CTC for Be Your Own Boss – Military Edition. The five-day workshop at Oveta Culp Hobby Soldier and Family Readiness Center provides people with the knowledge of how to start their own business and culminates in a shark tank business presentation to five judges.

“What are the things you need to go and do to make your dream a reality,” Tracey Arnold of Whatever it Takes Consulting, asked the workshop attendees.

Chastity Clemons, a business professor with CTC, said the workshop explains the basics of how to start a business, but also helps people determine if owning a business is right for them. She said sometimes people come to the workshop believing they want to own their own business, but they soon discover that maybe they should follow a different path. She said a lot of people come in thinking they want one business, but change their minds by the middle of the week.

“As they grow, we find that they may start with one idea, but by mid-week they’ll decide on a new concept or idea,” Clemons said.

Day one of the workshop was all about the attendees sharing their ideas with the group. As the Soldiers and spouses dug deep to share the “Why?” behind their business idea, more than a few tears were shed. Many of them had never shared their idea with another person.

“Making it real is saying it out loud for the first time,” Arnold told the group.

Some of the workshop attendees shared personal stories of struggles they faced growing up, a major event that reshaped their life, personal failures and finding the confidence to stand back up and try again or even struggling through life’s transitions.

“Your life experience and what you’ve been through helps you get to where you want to go,” Arnold said. “What I want from you is simple – whatever you are, be the best.”

Tuesday they learned about the various types of businesses; Wednesday’s workshop focused on finances and how to find investors; today’s workshop is in preparation for their Shark Tank presentation. Friday will be the Shark Tank presentation, where they will be given five minutes to present their business concept to the panel of judges.

Clemons said they can share a slideshow presentation, video, present a prototype or even the actual product or service. After the presentation, the judges have the opportunity to critique, ask questions and drill them. At the end of the week, three entrepreneurs will walk away with scholarships and will be provided individual coaching by the business coach at CTC.

Since its inception, Clemons said the biannual workshop has helped more than 65 individuals start their own business. She hopes the workshop gives people the knowledge and confidence to know they can start a business.

Jenny Wallace said she learned a lot through the workshop and believes it helps to hear other people’s advice and opinions. She hopes to use the knowledge she gained from the workshop to help veterans own their own land and home.

“My passion and my goal is to help the veterans who have fought for their country to own a piece of land in the country they have served,” Wallace said.

The next workshop will be held in April 2020. Registration must be made in advance, with a limit of 37 people. The exact date of the workshop will be listed at the ACS website, https://hood.armymwr.com/programs/army-community-service, in the coming months.

For a list of Friday’s winning entrepreneurs, visit the Fort Hood Sentinel’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/forthoodsentinel Friday afternoon.