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The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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Cedar Valley College Entrepreneurship Academy Provides Pathway for Success

2011 winners of Cedar Valley Colleges Entrepreneurship Academy show off their certificates alongside speakers and staff of the Entrepreneurial Academy.
2011 winners of Cedar Valley College’s Entrepreneurship Academy show off their certificates alongside speakers and staff of the Entrepreneurial Academy.

2011 winners of Cedar Valley College’s Entrepreneurship Academy show off their certificates alongside speakers and staff of the Entrepreneurial Academy. (//

For 15 years, Antonio Holmes and Damon Bankhead dreamed of becoming entrepreneurs. They wanted to help people achieve the best body that they could through a fitness program that was tailor-made to each client.

Last year, their dreams became a reality after Bankhead’s mother saw a flier for the Cedar Valley College Entrepreneurial Academy.

“Before it was just an idea. It was a lot of paperwork, a lot of dreams and a lot of talk,” Holmes said. “But now we’re here. People know of us. People believe in us. It’s not just names and scribbles on paper, it’s something that you can actually type into the computer.”

Holmes and Bankhead were the first place winners of the 2011 CVC Entrepreneurial Academy, a free, five week program designed as an introduction into the world of entrepreneurship. The two received $700 to start their Formula 1 Fitness Bootcamp from Comerica Bank; Apple iPads from AT&T; as well as business mentorships from other local entrepreneurs.

A Formula for Success

Formula 1 Fitness is the result of Holmes and Bankhead’s many years of research and knowledge of health and fitness. There company now offers boot campus and personal training designed to fit an individual’s goal. For an appointment or consultation, contact Holmes and Bankhead at!

“To us, it’s not about getting you in the gym or coming to your home for 30 minutes and then leaving; that is just for those who want the money, Holmes said. “If you are actually concerned about your clients, you have to first work with the mind. We try to get them to envision the body that they want.”

The two believe in a holistic approach to fitness and that if you have ever had the body you wanted in life, you can have it again.

“You can actually have the body you had at 18; you can be better!” said 37-year-old Holmes. “I’m 10 times better and 10 times stronger and faster than I was at 18 and 21, so we know what the body can actually do.”

Returning to the Academy

A year after their big break, Holmes and Bankhead made a point of returning to the program that gave them their start. The 2012 Cedar Valley College Entrepreneurial Academy was held March 24 2012 to April 28, 2012.

The two joined participating business leaders, educators and industry experts who spoke to students about what they have learned and what it actually takes to be an entrepreneur.

“Don’t just say you want to be an entrepreneur, come from here and start your business. That’s what we want to advocate through our involvement at the academy,” Bankhead said.

The Cedar Valley College Entrepreneurial Academy is only in its third consecutive year, but it has already garnered a reputation for connecting students with top executives and providing a pathway into the industry of their choice. Comerica Bank has been involved with the program from its creation in 2010. AT&T became a sponsor in 2011.

“Especially during these tough and uncertain economic times, the Entrepreneurial Academy gives students access to the tools and resources they need to be successful,” said Lueretha Slack, mentor and Comerica Bank Sponsor.

Four of the five weekly sessions are dedicated to inspiring the students and defining what an entrepreneur really is. Successful entrepreneurs share their stories and the business know-how it that it takes to succeed.

“I try to get a variety of people, not only people who are significant but also people we can relate to and people who are transparent. I want them to talk about the challenges of being an entrepreneur and what it means. Not just your successes, but also your failures. What did you screw up?” said Dawn Mann, who is in charge of Community and Resource Development at Cedar Valley College.

Past speakers have included Larry Brown, former MVP for the cowboys; Senator Royce West; and David Small, a graduate of Cedar Valley College. Small later attended law school and is now a musician and an entertainment attorney.

“It was inspiring to see a lot of other people in the business,” Bankhead said.

The fifth and final session is called The “Shark Tank”, named after the reality television series, and is an opportunity for students to propose their business plan to mock potential investors. They are given only three minutes.

This is where Holmes, Bankhead and another colleague, Greg Cook, presented their idea for Formula 1 Fitness. But it did not go off without a hitch. They had made a video for their presentation but it would not load.

“We were looking for iPhones, iPads; they didn’t have WiFi or anything. So we just ran the statistics down and the rest was history. You have to know the business and be confident and present yourself properly,” said Holmes.

Why They Chose Cedar Valley College

The CVC Entrepreneurial program is unique in that it is entirely free and has proven to be effective through success stories like Holmes and Bankhead’s. Dawn Mann is the creator of the program and an entrepreneur herself. She used her contacts to acquire top-notch speakers.

“I’m able to put together an academy because of my relationships. They trust that what I’m putting together is a benefit because I’ve proven that in that past,” Mann said. “Reputation is extremely important when you’re an entrepreneur.”

The goal of the academy is to open new doors and opportunities for its students and help them acheive their dreams. Holmes and Bankhead are a perfect example of this.

“It’s a wonderful feeling. This is why we believe that if you have that vision of what you want, we can help you get it,” Holmes said. “We had a vision of what we wanted and everything in the universe came to our aid.”



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