Student ventures get new home

By Brooke Bailey
Reporter

Baylor’s Accelerated Ventures program and the city of Addison announced Tuesday that they are partnering to bring office incubator space for student-led businesses.

Accelerated Ventures was launched in 2011, to assists Baylor entrepreneur students in creating their own profitable companies. The program was founded by David Grubbs, part-time lecturer; Leslie Palich, assistant director of the entrepreneurial studies program; and Dr. Kendall Artz, the director of the Baylor entrepreneurship program and chairman of the management and entrepreneurship department.

Grubbs said the pairing between the city of Addison, a Dallas suburb, and Baylor was a perfect fit.

The details of the partnership have been in the works since July.

Baylor Entrepreneurship has invested $36,000 in capital to 24 students and eight Accelerated Venture companies.

Students in the Accelerated Venture program have the opportunity to run their businesses out of six spaces in the Addison-based office for a year. Students using the office space will be living and working in Addison, a northern suburb of Dallas.

The year in Addison gives students time and connections to help grow their businesses, Grubbs said.

Addison brings a unique business atmosphere, and Baylor students will benefit from it, Grubbs said.

“Addison was wanting to jump-start a young entrepreneurial community within their city and have young, vibrant start-up companies growing within their boundaries,” Grubbs said. “At Baylor, we were looking for a place to allow our students to continue to grow after they graduate the program.”

The first semester in Accelerated Ventures is focused on innovating ideas and starting up the companies.

Students are expected to start making a profit the second semester.

“They’ve got 45 days to go from an idea on napkin to a physical product or service they can start selling,” Grubbs said.

Each semester, 12 students are selected to participate in the program.

“We are looking for people who are really driven to start companies with the entrepreneurial spirit,” Grubbs said.

Two Addison office spaces are currently in use by student start-up businesses. All six office spaces will be available for student companies by the end of May, Grubbs said.

“We saw this as a tremendous opportunity to help leverage the entrepreneurial ecosystem that exists here within our community,” Orlando Campos, director of economic development in Addison, said.

He said the temporary office space is located in Addison’s Finance and Economic Development building.

A larger, permanent space is under negotiation.

“We see this as a long-term investment,” Campos said. “I think that if we’re successful to help grow these companies they will obviously start employing people and picking up office space within our community itself.”

Developing a collaborative partnership with Baylor was smart, Campos said. The goal is to help foster the potential longevity of these companies.

Grubbs and Campos are working closely on the details of the newly established partnership.

“It’s a work of defining the program as we move along,” said Campos.

When students graduate and start their own companies, cash flow can be limited, but the extra year in Addison gives the companies an opportunity to get on their feet Grubbs said.

“If you give them a year, then they’ll be growing viable businesses that can afford to pay their own office space and hire employees at that point,” Grubbs said.

Seniors and juniors of any major can apply online for Accelerated Ventures at http://www.acceleratedventuresprogram.com/apply/. The application process includes an in-person interview.

Grubbs said that it is ideal if the students go through the program their senior year because running the business post-graduation can be an advantage.