By: Raegan Turner l Staff Writer
Feb. 22, 2019 marked the beginning of a weekend full of future go-getting business men and women at Baylor’s Foster Campus for Business and Innovation. The eighth annual Baylor New Venture Competition, hosted by Baylor Business Entrepreneurship & Corporate Innovation, brought in students, coaches and investors from all over the country. Some even traveling internationally in order to compete.
The competition is an opportunity for collegiate entrepreneurs to present their business ideas in hopes of gaining support and possibly winning thousands of dollars in cash prizes. Students also received venture feedback, one-on-one mentoring and coaching, and professional advice from entrepreneurs.
Founder and managing director of Ambassadors Impact Network, Will Thomas, explained how the competition has improved and developed into the significant event it is today.
“In 2012, we started with eleven teams — they were Baylor-only and we gave away $25,000. This year, we had 132 applications, 10 from countries outside of the United States, and so the 10 finalists really are the best of the best,” Thomas said. “This has been a six-month process, from people looking at business plans to where we stand tonight as we prepare to declare the winners. We are going to give away $100,000 in cash and over a quarter of a million dollars in cash and in-kind services. It’s a really big deal for us to be here.”
In order to apply, the teams of two to four students were required to submit developed business plans that were early-stage, for-profit and potentially seeking initial investment capital. The hundreds of applications and large number of teams who were selected to compete were narrowed down to 10 by the end of the weekend. Portions of the $250,000 in total available prize money were awarded to the champions of multiple contests, such as the NVC Elevator Pitch competition and the Start Up Waco Award, that were a part of the larger event.
The weekend came to a close during the final Awards Banquet & Elevator Pitch Competition held late Saturday evening. First place of the overall competition went to the creators of a company called Vita Inclinata Technologies (VIT), who were awarded $50,000 in cash as well as several complimentary services from companies such as IBM and Four Columns Marketing. Current law student at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law and President & Chief Executive Officer of Vita Inclinata, Caleb Carr, described the team’s plan use the winnings in order to further assess their technology.
“It funds what is known as safe-to-fly status; we need to test our system in certain environments in order to validate our system across the entire U.S. military. This funding will allow us to actually fund that effort for us to then deploy the LSS across the entire industry.” Carr said.
VIT has already signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory for the research and flight testing of their Load Stability System.
The competition was organized and directed by Priscilla James, who is currently completing her second semester in the Baylor MBA program with a concentration in Entrepreneurship. Ms. James is the founder of her own business, Priscilla’s Joyful Events, through which she provides cost-effective event planning, coordinating and decorating.