Senior business administration major George Garcia III is driven to keep his family’s legacy of entrepreneurship alive. Garcia is actively involved in two businesses, will be the first graduate to complete Montclair State University’s new entrepreneurship major this December, won last year’s annual $80,000 pitch contest and more.
Garcia recently earned the NJBIZ Forty Under 40 award in July, being the youngest entrepreneur ever to win in all categories. The NJBIZ Forty Under 40 awards program recognizes professionals with the Garden State. He said it still hasn’t hit him and he considers it a surreal moment.
“It’s so odd, I went to the event with people almost 40 years old,” Garcia said. “It motivates me and now, I have something to prove. For them to select someone as young as I am, I have a lot to live up to.”
Sharon Waters, program manager at the Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship at the School of Business, praised Garcia. She was the one who nominated him for the honor.
“George is a really standout student in the program,” Waters said. “He is someone who takes initiative, who comes to the Center for Entrepreneurship often asking for additional programs he can participate in and people he can connect with.”
Waters further affirmed Garcia’s dedication.
“That is a true hallmark of an entrepreneur, someone who explores new avenues of learning and getting information,” Waters said. “And he is also a nice guy.”
Garcia said that he has been interested in this field for a long time.
“When I was little, I always had an interest in technology and start-ups,” Garcia said.
The student’s passion for business runs in the family. His grandparents and father came to the United States from Cuba, where his dad eventually started a business in electrical and telecommunications. On Garcia’s mother’s side, his grandfather and two brothers created a business called Covello Bros.
“With my family immigrating from Cuba, they had been 10 steps behind everyone else with only the clothes on their backs and not enough money to get a Coca-Cola at the airport,” Garcia said.
When he first came to Montclair State, Garcia wanted to only declare a major in business administration. However, his academic adviser Marryum Hafeez received an email about the new entrepreneurship major five minutes before a meeting with Garcia. He thought he would be a good candidate, so Garcia eagerly signed up.
Garcia became a founder and the chief executive officer to Wheatpaste Inc. after winning the university’s annual pitch contest.
“Wheatpaste is not another Facebook or Instagram,” Garcia said. “It is more community-based where we post what events are going on around you and small businesses.”
Garcia went on to explain his intentions.
“The vision we had for Wheatpaste was to be ‘the glue that holds your community together,'” Garcia said. “We wanted to benefit communities.”
He is also involved with Pause Wellness, a Los Angeles company that provides meditation pods to large campuses, offices and bigger properties.
Garcia is juggling more than what a 22-year-old normally would. He explains the constant struggle between being a businessman and full-time college student.
“As an entrepreneur, I am lucky enough where I have flexibility. I know that I need to get this stuff done, but what’s more important is that I am enjoying what I am doing, and I am willing to make the sacrifices,” Garcia said. “If I have to give a couple of hours of Wheatpaste work to come to school, I will do it.”
Garcia had no shortage of good things to say about Montclair State.
“There’s definitely no downside in being here at Montclair State,” Garcia said. “I’m coming to the entrepreneurship center almost everyday, interacting with people and benefiting from it.”
Garcia’s older sister, Alexa Garcia, graduated from Montclair State in 2017 with a degree in humanities. She was also in the entrepreneurship program. She knew her brother would follow the same path her and their family did.
“I feel like it’s in our blood to be an entrepreneur,” Alexa Garcia said. “We are always thinking and pitching new ideas to each other.”
After graduation, George Garcia wants to continue working with Wheatpaste and have an opened mind toward new cutting-edge businesses.
“If there is an opportunity, take it because you never know where it is going to lead to,” George Garcia said.
Despite all of his success and commitments, George Garcia simply explains he is just a normal guy who works hard.