Grace Smith | Broadcast Reporter
Baylor’s entrepreneurship program has been helping students turn their business ideas into reality since 1977. It is one of the first universities in the nation to create a Center for Entrepreneurship. This year, the program is celebrating their 11th straight year in the nation’s top 10.
“I think it is the combination of theories, classroom work, practice and application out in the business world that makes out program really special,” said Peter G. Klein, who is the W. W. Caruth Endowed Chair, a Professor of Entrepreneurship and Chair of the Department of Entrepreneurship and Corporate Innovation at Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business.
Hundreds of students have successfully come out of the program ready to launch their business. Among many things, the program strives to help young entrepreneurs understand their personal strengths and weaknesses while connecting them to outside resources.
“One of the things we try to teach our students is that you need to be aware of your surroundings, alert to things that are going on around you so you are well-positioned to take advantage of situations that arise that might allow you to be successful,” Klein said.
Kevin Devries, founder of Splendid Oaks Chocolates, did just that. Devries says that he is so thankful that he went through the program. He used the tools he learned and the advice from his mentors to prepare to further his business by opening a store soon.
“I decided to use my degree at the entrepreneurship program to start a chocolate company called Splendid Oaks Chocolates,” Devries said. “The entrepreneurship program here was really awesome just because there is a lot of staff with entrepreneurial experience. I felt like you always got out of it what you put into it. I didn’t realize how much of the tools I learned through certain classes here I would end up using in the actual day to day business.”
Devries encourages the current students in the entrepreneurship program to always stick it out and carry your business ideas with confidence.
“It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur or interested in entrepreneurship, and Baylor is one of the greatest places to do that,” said Klein.
“I am planning on opening a store hopefully in mid March, where I’ll have all the chocolates as well as ice cream and then some other creative stuff that I have been working on that I’ve haven’t seen anyone else do in the chocolate industry yet,” said Devries.