UTPB College of Business Graduate Starts Business to Help Victims of Human Trafficking in West Texas


Soraye Lara is the creator and owner of Unlimited Jewelry

I would say that I received a lot of help through UTPB and the College of Business and the professors”

—Soraye Lara

ODESSA, TX, USA, Oct. 5, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ — Sorayeanna Lara, better known as Soraye, is studying management at the College of Business at UT Permian Basin.

Soraye said UT Permian Basin feels like home. After initially wanting to attend a bigger university, she is happy to have landed at UTPB 2019 after transferring from Midland College.

“My family lives in Midland and at first I wanted to go to Tech just because it’s a big university and everyone goes there but, you know, the more I thought about it, I was like I could get very good education at UTPB UT Permian Basin has a great business program and I will be closer to home so I can commute and save money I can spend time with my family while enjoying college experience here on campus and by attending events.”

The quality of education students receive at UT Permian Basin is no secret, and our programs have the credentials to prove it. The College of Business at UT Permian Basin is accredited by the AASCB.

An AASCB accreditation is known worldwide as the most recognized and specialized accreditation a business program can obtain. The accreditation process includes rigorous external review of a school’s mission, faculty qualifications, curriculum, and ability to deliver the highest quality programs.

“It’s amazing for a university to have these degrees, it’s really impressive,” explained Soraye. “Family friends also recommended UTPB because they graduated from here and loved it and they were also in the College of Business so I knew I was in good hands. Everyone here wants nothing but the best for you and they truly set you up for success.

Part of that success for Soray includes his involvement with Blackstone Launchpad. The Blackstone Launchpad helps UTPB students succeed in entrepreneurship and their future careers. It is open to all students, regardless of their specialty.

Soray, who dreams of becoming an entrepreneur, was one of the first students to take advantage of the opportunities offered by Launchpad and, luckily for her, she already had a business idea in mind.

“I was working in an ethical and sustainable shop in Midland and I was in charge of finding different brands that we would be proud to support and while I was researching all these different brands in fashion, a lot of them gave back to human trafficking. The more I researched the issue, many companies were employing survivors from overseas and third world countries. Since I was not as familiar with human trafficking, I wondered if this was happening in the United States. I learned that it is very prevalent here, especially in Texas. The Midland-Odessa region is the fourth largest hub for human trafficking, so I was like c t was something we need to talk about, so I decided to combine my love for fashion and business.

“It was super scary because I didn’t have a name for my business and I didn’t put anything on paper, it was just in my head and I had to make a name for myself, make a logo, plan business, a prototype in a week. I was able to do it and submitted my application,” Soraye said. “I got an email saying I was a semi-finalist. I participated in the competition, I learned a lot about how to pitch my idea and how to network with other students. »

Soraye added that the guidance and help she received from her teachers along the way is what helped her succeed.

“I would say that I received a lot of help from UTPB, the College of Business and the professors. I must say thank you to Dr. Ryan Peckham. He was my first teacher here and he really inspired me to be an entrepreneur.

“When Soraye said she wanted to start a business, I said awesome, what is your idea? The reason and why behind why you want to do this, is exactly the same reason why you will succeed. Working on this project with her and seeing the growth he was taking was awesome. To have someone who is so young and so dedicated to be able to overcome so many obstacles, it’s just awesome to see,” said Dr Ryan Peckham, Professor at the UTPB College of Business.

The Blackstone Launchpad house will soon be in the renovated library space of UT Permian Basin. Currently, the first floor of the library is being transformed into an innovation hub with a makerspace for students and even an esports stadium for gaming tournaments.

“We are excited about the ongoing renovations to both the CEED building and the library. The library is going to be a happening place,” said UT Permian Basin President Dr. Sandra Woodley. “It will be a place for the Blackstone LaunchPad and the esports arena. A great place for students to meet and learn and also use the creative space to develop their own ideas to become entrepreneurs and work closely with faculty.

And that’s how his business: unlimited jewelry was born.

Soraye explained that when victims manage to escape, they usually lack the education and work experience needed to make a fresh start. Using entrepreneurship to help solve this challenge, her goal is to create a jewelry and clothing retail business that employs survivors at every stage of the operation, from making the products to selling them.

His involvement with the College of Business and Launchpad has given him the opportunity to pitch his idea with other students in the UT system who aspire to become entrepreneurs in a Launchpad competition.

“I’ll be graduating in August so I’m super excited. It’s kind of sentimental for me because I recently lost my dad and the last thing I said to him was I was going to do my MBA, so in his honor, I’m going to be pursuing my MBA, so I’m doing my MBA with a focus in finance and I’m really excited.

Alexa Dunson
University of Texas Permian Basin
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