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P&HCC student earns spot in regional business competition

HENRY COUNTY, VA – Six months ago, Giselle Lopez entered the RISE business competition with an idea and an open mind.

After weeks of training, working, and competing through the various levels of the competition, Lopez has earned a spot in the final round and chance to pitch her business idea to a panel of business experts.

Just like in the popular show “Shark Tank,” she will have only a few moments to pique the interest of the panel.

Like the show, real money is on the line.

The winning entrepreneurs will split $10,000.

For Lopez, the process has been a reward in itself.

“I am here for the ride even if I don’t win. I went in wanting to learn,” said Lopez. “Regardless of the outcome, I will leave with knowledge, information, and mentors for the future that I can’t get anywhere else. Being a first-generation college student, this is the guidance I need.”

Lopez is a nontraditional student pursuing her degree in small business management from Patrick & Henry Community College while also working full time and raising two kids.

“Doing the RISE Competition while also raising kids and working---it’s amazing,” says P&HCC’s Business Technology Professor Nancy Phillips, Ph.D. “I feel like she deserves a prize just because of that. We are so proud of her!”

Although winning the competition would give her a significant boost, Lopez says she intends to start her new business with or without the prize money.

“I do see my business in five years. Maybe even more than one location or a mobile service. I see it happening regardless of winning. Whether I win or not, I want to make it happen. If I don’t win, I’ll just work harder,” says Lopez.

So what is her big idea?

Lopez says she plans to open a dual-purpose salon and photography studio which will serve as a one-stop shop for anyone preparing for a special occasion.

Patrons will be able to get their make-up, nails, and photography all done through her business.

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