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Student entrepreneurs operate website business

April 4, 1997

By Jeff Talbert

Lariat Reporter

Bart Venable had been thinking seriously of putting his business, Touch of Santa Fe, on a web page for three months. He had received quotes of $1,000 and $5,000, and he was still pondering what to do when he heard about University seniors Cody Cowan of Fairfield and David De La Hoz of Bedford.

'Oddly enough, Cody met my brother-in-law at Barnes and Noble,' Venable said. 'Cody contacted me. They had just broken into business and their price was right.'

Cowan said that happened in February, when 'it was kind of just a joke.'

But once they got a client, he said, they knew it was serious.

De La Hoz said they started the business on the premise that companies want to advertise and sell on Internet.

De La Hoz and Cowan's business, Cade Web Design, was just registered with the County Clerk Wednesday.

It started as a hobby for fun, but it has turned into a business for money.

De La Hoz read a book last semester about how to create his own web page, and he started doing it as a hobby. Over Christmas he created a web page for Camp John Mark, a camp for children with chronic illnesses. This was his first time to do it for an organization.

De La Hoz taught Cowan how to do it, and together they created the business.

They are currently using a friend's server to store the web pages, but De La Hoz said they hope to buy their own in August after they have graduated and will be able to fully concentrate on the business.

Cowan said he had been wanting to start a business for the last three years, and he said the web page business has a great future.

'We can be anywhere in the world and still do it from laptop and with a cellular phone,' he said.

De La Hoz also said there is a future with the Internet.

'I've read that 90 million people have access to Internet,' he said. 'For businesses, it is advertising 24 hours a day.'

He said Hilton hotel is paying $1 million for their page.

He said a page for a small business, the ones they create, takes about 100 hours to create, whereas a personal page may take two to three hours.

'You're able to buy and sell things on the page,' De La Hoz said. 'It has a lot more pictures.'

He said a business's web page is on a secure server so credit cards can be used.

Venable said he has been selling things on his Touch of Santa Fe page, but that was not his main intention in having a page created.

'It was more of a marketing thing than hopes of selling things,' he said. 'It's expensive to print color catalogs that are dated, and with a web page we can just go back and update it.'

Venable said he is looking forward to communicating with people outside of the Waco area.

'It's already starting to build,' he said. 'It's just worked out really well.'

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