Anonymous $2 million donation funds spring business competition

By Jennifer Kang

The Hankamer School of Business will fund its first Baylor Entrepreneurship Innovation Challenge this spring with money from an anonymous donation of $2 million.

An information meeting and training session will be held from 5:00-6:30 p.m. Thursday in 103 Cashion Academic Center, open to all students. Four training sessions total will teach students how to write executive summaries and business plans and to present material for the competition. The sessions will be taught by Baylor faculty and outside board members.

Kevin Castello, director of the Baylor Angel Network, is organizing the challenge. He said the competition is for students who would like to move forward with their business ideas with funding from the challenge.

“This competition is a multi-step process, looking at everything from an executive summary to a business plan to actual presentations,” Castello said. “We will have $25,000 in cash prizes and a $15,000 first prize.”

Dr. Leslie Palich, professor of management and the W.A. Mays professor of entrepreneurship, one of the stipulations of the donation included a board of advisers to guide the competition.

“So, the director of the program, Dr. Kendall Artz, said that he needed to find a few people from inside the business school and some people from outside,” Palich said. “We put together a board of folks that were approved. The idea was to have different views of people who would be coming at this thing from different directions.’

The Baylor faculty board advisers are Artz, chairman of the management and entrepreneurship department; Palich and Castello.

The outside board members are Hall Martin, director of the Texas Entrepreneur Networks; Preston Marshall, president of MarOpCo, Inc.; and David Grubbs, CEO of

The training sessions will help teams with their communications skills in order to prepare for the competition, Castello said.

“The point of the training sessions is to help students develop business plans and see if what they’re working on is a fundable idea for investors,” Castello said.

Palich said Martin, one of the outside members, designed and coordinated much of what will be presented at the training sessions.

“We want students who aren’t from the business school and don’t have training in how to put a business plan together to not come into this thing and give up because they don’t have a background in this,” Palich said. “We set up some training sessions so that we could get those students up to speed and feel comfortable with their ability to compete because we want this to be based on the strength of the business concepts and ideas, rather than being based on training or lack thereof.”

Martin said he has worked with similar entrepreneurship competitions in the past.

“I’ve been involved with these kinds of competitions for five to six years, judging and coaching,” Martin said. “I will be at Baylor for one of the training sessions and look at business plans and go over the presentations and give feedback as well.”

Martin said this competition will give students an idea of what investors are going to expect in terms of presentation in order to raise funding for student ideas.

“We are looking at certain things in the proposal of the written business plan. We will see if it has a solution to a problem, a competitive analysis, the market they’re going for and the financials for it,” Martin said. “In the oral presentation, we will see how they prepare the information in a very concise manner.”

All training sessions will be held this semester in order to prepare students for the competition in mid-June. For more information, visit the Baylor Entrepreneurship Innovation Challenge website.