BRIC hosts workshop

By Nico Zulli and Katdie Norton

Student teams from the business and computer science and engineering departments will compete in an Accelerated Commercialization Workshop (ACP) this semester hosted by Baylor Reasearch Innovation Collaborative.

For this workshop, students are paired with BRIC clients to consult and develop a start-up business model and strategy that integrates elements of technology. Students will then prepare in-depth presentations to exhibit their project idea to a panel of four industry experts.

The point of student involvement in ACP at the BRIC is to provide an opportunity for the practical application of classroom knowledge in a real-world setting,

Today and Thursday, the student-client teams will meet at the BRIC to receive coaching from industry leaders who will assist them in preparing their project presentations for initial review by the panel on Friday.

“The ACP is something that we do every January at the BRIC,” said Monica Vardeman, program manager of the innovative business accelerator. “And technology-entrepreneurship students are able to participate with their class projects.”

During the presentations, the panel of four judges will advise each team about how best to frame their project idea for the next round of the competition in April. Students will work on perfecting their idea throughout the rest of the semester. The teams will polish their presentations using the feedback received from the panel judges.

This project incubation period will culminate in a final pitch to the panel at the end of the semester. In April, students will face reassessment of their project idea by the panel.

“Ideas range from sound mixer boards to a novel way to make a water heater,” said Dr. Greg Leman, director of LAUNCH at the BRIC. “These are business ideas that technological innovations will help advance.”

For the final presentation, the panel expects students to re-pitch their idea, which should demonstrate their ability to integrate constructive criticism.

“In the end, we want to see the most complete and grounded presentation,” Leman said.

Although there is no prize for ‘winning’ the competition, Leman said the real-world nature of the ACP project feedback and development process is well-worth the time and effort.

“This experience offers students the opportunity to form a network with prominent experts in the business and technology fields–a network that can serve as a resource for future career endeavors after Baylor.

While the workshop is reserved only for student participants, clients and panelists, Vardeman said students are welcome to inquire about how to become involved with ACP by communicating a specific interest.

“If a student has an idea and is interested in participating in ACP, we are certainly open to hearing about it,” she said. “We have had many grad students in our workshops, and most other students involved have been graduating seniors.”

While the fusion of business and technology is one of the main goals of the Baylor Research and Innovative Collaborative, Vardeman said the BRIC hopes to host more ACP workshops involving students in the future, in addition to the annual ACP workshop in January.

“As we become more establiehd, we hope to offer more opportunities for students,” she said. “Right now, there are plenty of areas for students to get involved in at the BRIC — from any business school major to film and digital media, photography and communications students.”