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Baylor University and Greater Waco Chamber Launch Entrepreneurial Incubator

Feb. 20, 2013

Baylor University and the Greater Waco Chamber have partnered to launch ThInc Space, a business incubator for creative start-ups that also will be the headquarters for Baylor's Accelerated Ventures Program.

The program teaches students to create real companies, raise real funds, create marketing plans, launch products and services, and generate sales.

The launch follows on the heels of Baylor's recent agreement with the Town of Addison, Texas for students in the Accelerated Ventures program to use free office space following completion of the program and take advantage of expertise and support of economic development stakeholders in the Addison community.

While enrolled in the two-semester program, students will receive free office space from the Greater Waco Chamber. Upon completion of the course, which requires that students begin an online business, they can continue to use the free space for one year while they expand their businesses. Students also will have access to networking, mentoring and the support and professional expertise of the local business community.

"This agreement is a shining example of partnership between Baylor University and the Greater Waco Chamber," said Terry Maness, D.B.A., dean of the Baylor's Hankamer School of Business. "It will help our young student entrepreneurs during and after their coursework and help to ensure success of their businesses."

The Chamber and its partners are actively looking for creative start-up businesses to grow and prosper from idea to reality and are committed to supporting small business development in Greater Waco.

"We recognize that small enterprises are the single largest job creation engine in the economy. Couple that with the many institutional assets working to produce talent in Waco and a community that provides relatively low operating costs and barriers for small business start-ups, and it all adds up to a tremendous opportunity," said Chris McGowan, director of Urban Development for the Chamber. "The Chamber believes that Waco should be the creative start-up capital of Texas. Substantial capacity and resources are available that should be leveraged to attract talent and accelerate economic development activity in the region."

Students enrolled in the two-semester Accelerated Ventures Program experience the business start-up process firsthand by taking a company from its conceptualization to selling its products or services. The program includes eight student teams per year with three students per team.

"Baylor students are required to launch their companies within 45 days of the beginning of class," said Kendall Artz, Ph.D., director of Baylor's entrepreneurship program and chair of the department of management and entrepreneurship. "By the end of the first semester, their companies are expected to be generating revenue and by the end of the second semester, they should be profitable."

Each team receives $5,000 of seed funds from the Baylor Angel Network through BAN AV Investment Fund One, LLC. Fund One has agreed to fund the program for three years.

The program began in 2011 by Artz, Les Palich, Ph.D., the W.A. Mays Professor of Entrepreneurship, and Baylor business graduate David Grubbs, CEO of Vendevor, to teach entrepreneurship in a way that uses social media and other emerging technologies that would be timely and relevant.

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