Waco Chamber/Baylor Entrepreneurship Collaboration Supports Baylor Student StartupsFeb. 3, 2013
The Waco Chamber of Commerce and the Baylor Entrepreneurship Program - ranked #2 in the country in 2012 by Entrepreneur Magazine - are teaming up to support student entrepreneurs enrolled in Baylor's Accelerated Ventures Program, with the ultimate goal of encouraging Baylor student entrepreneurs to locate their new ventures in Waco after graduation. "Our partnership with the Waco Chamber of Commerce is exciting" states Kendall Artz, Director of the Baylor Entrepreneurship Program. "Chris McGowan has been a great partner in supporting our students' efforts to launch and grow high potential startups."
The Accelerated Ventures Program, the brainchild of Baylor entrepreneurship alumnus and serial entrepreneur David Grubbs, is an innovative, two- semester program that challenges entrepreneurship students to create high-growth, high-impact businesses while adhering to a demanding launch schedule.
Prior to starting the Accelerated Ventures Program in Fall 2011, Baylor's efforts to nurture student startups focused primarily on providing excellent training through course work and offering mentoring assistance. While many students started businesses using these resources, those startups tended to be relatively small-yield. Too few high growth potential businesses were being created.
The Accelerated Ventures Program was created to provide a totally unique and innovative learning environment in which students have access to the full range of resources necessary for the creation of high potential ventures. In this new model, students are provided with seed capital by angel investors through the Baylor Angel Network, they are given free legal and accounting support to assist in business formation and control, and they have complete access to a world class network of serial entrepreneurs who are experts in their field. Finally, the students are challenged by a new two-semester curriculum that forces them to start business in a very short time frame and then encourages changes to their business models as the market requires.
Clearly, the success of the Accelerated Ventures model depends heavily on external resources, which the Chamber has played a significant role in providing. Currently, Accelerated Ventures students are meeting in the Chamber conference room for six hours each week. During that time, they have many opportunities to be mentored by employees of the Chamber and other business leaders from the Waco community. One of the key long-term goals of the partnership includes creating incubator space in the downtown area. This incubator will be operated by the Chamber and will provide space for the students to continue to grow their businesses within that facility after graduation, thereby generating economic development in Waco.
"Being a part of the Accelerated Ventures program is something I am really proud of," said Crayton Bare, senior Entrepreneurship major and left-handed pitcher for the Baylor baseball team. "The relationships built and networking within the Baylor Business community, as well as with outside resources, has jump-started my entrepreneurial career. When I am not pitching on the baseball field, starting companies is what I enjoy doing. The Accelerated Ventures program is fast-paced and the best hands-on learning experience available."
Learn more about Accelerated Ventures by visiting www.acceleratedventuresprogram.com.