Category Archives: Cerebral Palsy

An Incredible Semester (part 1 – redone and extended)

     When I entered the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship, I had been discussing the concept of Unlimiters with my dad for over two years.  During the second semester of the program I was approached by a group of four students who wanted to help me develop my concept further and enter the idea in business plan competitions representing the school. I gladly accepted the help and joined the team. The first thing we did as a group was recruit MBA students by presenting the idea to a MBA entrepreneurship class. Our presentation went over well enough that we had 6 to 7 interviews to narrow it down to two students to help us with the process. The remaining weeks of the semester we spent talking about the idea and refining it.
     The writing of the business plan began shortly before our third semester in the program. We put one of the MBA students in charge of developing the “beta” website which we planned to use mainly for a marketing analysis tool. We spent a lot of time together discussing the logistics of the business plan and the time we spent apart was dedicated to writing our designated sections of the plan. As soon as we felt a bit comfortable with the plan we started to talk about the competitions we were going to enter. We decided to enter five different competitions even though two wanted us to submit our business plan right away before we were completely ready.  We were declined by the first one since the plan was our first rough draft.
     As time went on we continued editing our plan and practicing our presentation; we presented to our class many times before our first competition in Nebraska. The general format of the competitions we entered was a 10 to 15 minute presentation and then 10 to 15 minutes of Q&A with a panel of judges. A week prior to the competition in Nebraska, we had to submit our plan and by this point we felt pretty good about it.   During our spring break we had two competitions to go to, one in Nebraska and another one in California.
     In Nebraska we placed first in the undergrad category. The day before we presented, we had a booth up displaying information about Unlimiters. We had many people, judges and other teams, pass by our booth surprised at the fact that we were undergrads. The second competition was the one where we had to submit our first rough draft, and it was also one where we had had to take our MBA student to since it was a grad level competition. We were the only under grads at this competition, and the only thing that qualified us was our MBA student. We did not place in California, but we managed to get a standing ovation, a venture capitalist interested, and we advanced to the wild card round (meaning that in the first leg of the completion we got second place out of five).  We strongly believe that if we weren’t judged on our first rough draft of the plan, we would of easily advanced to the finals. Once we got back from California we had a month break until our next round of competitions. In that time we made slight changes to the business plan and the presentation. The third competition in Dallas was during the last day of Wolffest (out senior term project running a food stand for three days). We managed to fly out to Dallas the night of our second day at Wolffest. We got there and learned we had to be up at 7 am the following morning.  Unrehearsed, we felt like we needed to practice before going to bed. We made it to bed at 11 pm and made it to TCU at 8 am where we learned we were the first to present in our leg; meaning that we had virtually no time to rehearse beforehand. We managed to place second meaning we weren’t finalists but giving us another chance to advance to the finals in the wild card round. The next day, after waking up a little after the first round we came in first in the wild card round. Then, on the third day after a good night’s sleep, we came in first beating the school that beat us the previous day. The following week we headed to Orange County for our final competition where we competed with undergrads, grads and doctorates; we tied for second place. Four competitions, two first place finishes, a second place, and one, well we tried.
     We presented one last time at our graduation for families, students, teachers, and faculty to see our winning presentation. All in all, it was an amazing experience.
Video of our presentation (and Q&A) at TCU: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqJowLfOERY

An incredible semester (part 1)

Last summer the program director of the WCE (Wolff Center of Entrepreneurship) posted on Facebook telling my class that the program was looking to form two business plan teams and asking for volunteers. My first thought was to volunteer and be more active in the program. I figured by becoming more active it would force me to be out of my comfort zone and help me to gain more confidence. After debating with myself for a day or two I decided against it since I did not know much about it. As soon as summer ended and school started our teacher told us more about the business plan competition and informed us that they already put together the 2 teams for the competitions. The teams would write their own business plans and compete nationally presenting them to judges. Once the teams started to meet regularly I was approached by one of my friends in the class telling me that her team was interested in using Unlimiters as their business idea for the competitions.  She asked me if I could present my idea to the whole team. A few weeks later they decided to go with my business concept, Unlimiters; in turn I had to join the team. By joining the team I got four people helping me write the plan, a chance for all of us to get national recognition, and a chance to get funding for the business. Plus, on a personal level I now was forced out of my comfort zone giving me the opportunity to gain more confidence. Soon after joining the team we recruited 2 MBA students to help out with the plan and the concept. The majority of the semester was spent brainstorming and refining the Unlimiters concept. We didn’t actually start writing the till early this year, but since we talked about it so much writing the actual plan was pretty simple. Right as we started school back up we started rushing to complete everything and submit what we needed in order to compete in the competitions. As of now we are set to compete in 4 competitions nationally.  Currently we are focusing on our presentation and rehearsing it daily. This whole experience with the business plan team so far has been unbelievable for me.
    Part 2 coming soon…

 

Physical Disability

People with disabilities constitute the nation’s largest minority group, and the only group any of us can become a member of at any time. There are approximately 66.5 million American adults (age 18 or older) who live with a disability, that’s more than 31% of the population living in the United States, and about 46 million that have movement difficulty.

I am 1 of the 66.5 million people living with a disability. I have Cerebral Palsy which was caused by lack of oxygen during birth and affected the left side of my brain which in turn impaired my mobility and my speech. Although I have limited mobility throughout my body it affected the right side the most. I call my right arm my snake because it does whatever it wants whenever it wants. Over the years I have found the best way to ‘tame’ it is to sit on it. Although I have a lot more control over my left arm, it’s still limited, I type with two fingers and I can’t write. I can walk independently most of the time, but when people are around that I don’t know well I tend to get nervous and unstable. Same goes with my arm the more nervous I am the more out of control it gets.

I live by myself in a one bedroom apartment on campus with assistive care services. They help with bathing, grooming, restroom, and cleaning, but to me they are primarily a nuisance since I am pretty independent and only need help with laundry and some cleaning. The only time I use a wheelchair is when I go to class for distance and stability purposes.

I try to unlimit my limitations everyday through practice, products, and determination. I have bought many products that aren’t aimed towards people with disabilities, but they have helped me as if they were.

I’m Back

I put my Unlimiters idea on hiatus for a little while hence my last and first blog being 18 months ago. I came up with another idea and decided to put Unlimiters on the backburner for a while. My 2nd idea was a frozen custard milkshake shop. In my mind it was a lot less risky because I always saw frozen custard shops with lines out the door and I also knew there were none in the downtown Houston area. I thought specializing in making milkshakes too would add my own twist and not be just run of the mill bland custard shop and increase my chances of being successful.
Last year I applied to the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Houston (rated the #1 entrepreneurship program in the nation) where they accept only 32 people a year. I heard you needed a business idea to be able to apply so they can help you develop the idea and have you ready to start the business upon graduating. After I applied I got called in to do an interview and I told them about my frozen custard idea. Two months later I got accepted to the program.
One of the many perks of the program is that each person accepted gets a specially selected mentor to help us along our entrepreneurial journey. My mentor is amazing. One day she and I were talking on one of our lunch outings about my business idea and she wasn’t too keen on frozen custard. I told her about Unlimiters, an idea I came up with a year ago and she loved it. She thought I should talk to my entrepreneurship teacher about which idea I should pursue through the program. So the next day I went to meet with him and he thought that I should definitely drop my custard shop idea and continue with my Unlimiters idea.
I told my mentor what my teacher said and soon after she got me in contact with people that could help me develop my idea and help me minimize the variables. About a month ago I sat down with my mentor and the people she introduced me too, and showed them a power point presentation on UNlimiters. After seeing the presentation They thought UNlimiters would be a complete success.
What is UNlimiters? An online destination offering tools, resources, and products to make every day life easier for the physically challenged. UNlimiters, Your New Flight to an Unlimited Life.
Through this blog I hope to share my own stories along with educating people about disabilities and helping to create a global community where we all can share our successes.

My 1st blog

Hello! My name is Justin Farley, I turn 21 next week, this is my first blog ever, and I have Cerebral Palsy. My handicap (or disability) affects my whole body, it impairs my mobility and my speech. I couldn’t sit up until I was 4 years old and stepped my first step at the age of 5. Throughout my life I have set tough goals for myself. The first goal I remember setting for myself was to walk 100 steps. I managed to accomplish that goal at the age of 10. A lot of that is thanks to my parents for making me use a walker instead of leaving me in the prescribed wheelchair and my own persistence to accomplish goals.

I am starting this blog because I just bought the web domain “unlimiters.com”. My ultimate goal for unlimiters.com is to make it into a web store that sells items to make people’s everyday life a little bit simpler. Having a disability I get tired of people telling me I am limited to what I am able to do, so that is where the website name unlimiters came from. Hopefully I can make it into a recognized brand name. “Unlimiters, unlimit yourself.”

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