LHS student-entrepreneur surprised with $15,000 grant for Small Business



Emilio Galarza Bustos, a graduate of Lockhart High School’s Class of 2024, received a remarkable surprise during a family dinner at Casa Jalisco’s recently when Lockhart L.E.A.P. representatives presented him with a $15,000 grant to kickstart his landscaping business, “Blinders Construction.”

As his family applauded, Bustos graciously accepted the grant, marking a pivotal moment in his entrepreneurial journey.

“I’m beyond grateful to all the Lockhart L.E.A.P. partners for this opportunity,” Bustos said. “I’m looking forward to using this grant so I can turn my passion for landscaping into a local business that serves our community.”

This generous grant was made possible through the collaborative efforts of the Lockhart Lion Entrepreneur Access Partnership (Lockhart L.E.A.P.), a dynamic coalition comprising the Lockhart Chamber of Commerce, First Lockhart National Bank, the Greater Caldwell County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, La Tierra, and Lockhart ISD Superintendent Mark Estrada. Recognizing the need to support entrepreneurial-minded students within Lockhart ISD, Estrada spearheaded the initiative, rallying the four community organizations to contribute to the grant fund.

“We’re thankful to the Lockhart Chamber of Commerce, First Lockhart National Bank, the Greater Caldwell County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and La Tierra for championing young business owners and fostering their entrepreneurial aspirations,” Estrada said. “We firmly believe that every Lockhart ISD student, irrespective of their plans after high school, deserves opportunities that propel them towards success.”

To earn the grant, Bustos participated in the Lockhart L.E.A.P. competition, crafting a comprehensive business plan encompassing sales and marketing strategies, market analysis, branding, budgeting, and more. He then presented his business plan to a panel of judges composed of local business owners and community leaders. As part of the program, he will be paired with a local landscaping business owner who will serve as his mentor, offering valuable guidance as he implements his business plan. This substantial grant equips Bustos with the resources needed to expand his business, procure essential landscaping equipment, and more. “We are fortunate to have driven and talented students like Emilio across Lockhart ISD,” Estrada said. “The Lockhart L.E.A.P. grant exemplifies our community’s dedication to unlocking the potential of all students, fostering an entrepreneurial mindset, and encouraging them to pursue their dreams.” This marks the second year of Lockhart L.E.A.P.’s grant initiative. This year’s grant of $15,000 marks an increase from last year’s amount of $11,000, highlighting the growing commitment of the community to support student entrepreneurs in Lockhart ISD. If you have questions about Lockhart L.E.A.P. or would like to contribute to next year’s grant fund, contact Lockhart ISD Superintendent Estrada.


Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.