Madeline Yancey, 2021 Outstanding Student in Entrepreneurship

“Entrepreneurship is the perfect blend of
flexibility, autonomy and excitement.

Madeline Yancey


Let’ just say you grew up in a home with a great color divide. Mom supports the green and gold and dad supports burnt orange. What could possibly sway you one way or the other? For the 2021 Baylor Entrepreneurship Outstanding Student, Madeline Yancey, it was Baylor’s focus on God, the beautiful campus and the option to major in entrepreneurship that had her flinging green and gold.

Homeschooled just outside of the Dallas metroplex, Madeline grew up surrounded by an entrepreneurial spirit and she was encouraged to find ways to incorporate her creativity into business. Ultimately, she chose to major in Entrepreneurship at Baylor because she felt entrepreneurship gave her the flexibility to be both analytical and creative. 

Initially she was a little apprehensive jumping into entrepreneurship, after all no one wants to start a business and have it fail. But Madeline credits her Baylor Entrepreneurship professors with providing her with an edge that she feels will increase her chances of success. She says, “Even though there’s always the chance that a business idea won’t succeed, there are so many resources that can positively impact the potential for success and actually limit the damage if the idea isn’t successful.”

Madeline isn’t sure of the exact path she will take after Baylor. She hopes to work a while to gain business experience, while leaving the door wide open for starting her own business. She shared that while she does have a few business ideas percolating, she’s keeping those top secret for the time being.  Rest assured, any new business will absolutely have a creative flare.

As Madeline puts it, “Entrepreneurship offers flexibility, autonomy and excitement.”


For more information on Baylor Entrepreneurship, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneurship/.

Shane Trevino and Andres Cruz Maldonaldo, College Truckers of Baylor

A great idea will never be anything more than an idea
if you don’t have the willingness to execute it.

Shane Trevino


LinkedIn has been around for a while now. Most professionals probably even have a profile of some sort. It’s a great networking tool that, when properly utilized, can aid in various roles of the job-search process. It can certainly be as useful as you make it. For those with a profile that hasn’t been updated in five years, it’s obviously not so useful. 

Two incoming Baylor freshmen knew exactly how to use LinkedIn and it paid off big. Shane Trevino and Andres Cruz Maldonaldo connected through LinkedIn. Shane was interested in launching College Truckers and wanted to bring someone else on board. He connected with Andres and explained the vision for bringing College Truckers to Baylor. It didn’t take long for Shane and Andres to realize that a great partnership had indeed developed. After a talk with College Truckers CEO and Founder Max Schoenfield, the vision became a reality with College Truckers of Baylor.

College Truckers of Baylor launched in the spring 2021. College Truckers is unique in that it is led by students who provide a service for students. By students…for students. The company provides moving, storage and shipping services for college students across the country. Students will pack up their belongings with supplies provided by College Truckers. College Truckers will then pick up the packages to store what should be stored and ship what needs to be shipped. It’s that easy. 

The funny part about all of this is Shane and Andres actually grew up less than three hours from each other. These two Texas boys were both raised in a home environment that fostered and encouraged an entrepreneurial spirit. And both credit their parents for providing the underlying foundation that helped them pursue the dream of owning a business. Shane and Andres each decided to attend Baylor because of the high academic standards in Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business, which will undoubtedly provide invaluable tools and assets as they operate a business as student entrepreneurs. With such spunk and entrepreneurial drive, we can’t help but think that College Truckers of Baylor will be jam-packed with success. #SicEm

Getting to know Shane Trevino
Hometown: Spring, Texas
Major: Pre-law | Professional Selling and International Business
Entrepreneurial Spirit: I had a front-row seat watching my parents operate in the Houston-area Mexican restaurant industry. I have always wanted to learn about running my own business whether it was selling lemonade or washing neighborhood cars. My dad taught me the value of a dollar and how to take action while my mother taught me to have an optimistic outlook and to find the good in every situation.
Why Baylor? I chose Baylor for its rigorous academic program, the strong sense of community and its Christ-centered teachings.
Favorite thing about Baylor? I have the privilege to represent Baylor as the mascot, Bruiser. To be able to represent a prestigious university and uphold the University’s core values has been a real honor.
Advice for future student entrepreneurs? Set yourself apart by being action focused. A great idea will never be anything more than an idea if you don’t have the willingness to do something about it. 

Getting to know Andres Cruz Maldonaldo
Hometown: Originally from Monterrey, Mexico, but moved to Conroe, Texas at 8 years old
Major: Business Fellows | Professional Selling, Finance, Management Information Systems and Philosophy
Entrepreneurial Spirit: My dad has always helped me look for hobbies that would help me learn and grow. He helped me to always see the value in my used toys or hobby supplies so I could flip and reinvest in other toys or hobbies. Eventually, I started to see the value in my local community and I started a small, power-washing company.
Why Baylor? With two older brothers studying at Baylor, I was familiar with Baylor’s culture and academic excellence. Ultimately, the Business Fellows program drew me in. The program offered something no other university could provide.
Favorite thing about Baylor? The idea that Baylor students can tailor their entire degree in a way that helps them achieve future goals is by far one of my favorite things about Baylor. Combine that with the warm and welcoming environment found campus-wide, I can only expect to have an all-around amazing college experience.
Advice for future student entrepreneurs? Don’t be afraid to take action and be decisive in moments of uncertainty. You have to have confidence to achieve your dreams and be a creator of value who make the world a better place. 

Website sign up: https://bit.ly/3ue1nxp
Facebook: @CollegeTruckersStorage
Instagram: @collegetruckers


For more information on Baylor Entrepreneurship, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneurship/.

Denitia Blount, Oh My Juice



You have to always try to find ways to set yourself apart.

-Denitia Blount


Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to go green. Rip the proverbial bandaid off and commit to have Green Mornings. You may be asking yourself how one can achieve Green Mornings. It’s rather simple actually. You stop by Oh My Juice (OMJ) and order the most deliciously beautiful Green Mornings smoothie. And, yes it really is that green.

If you haven’t heard of OMJ, it’s a fabulous juice bar nestled within the bustling River Square Center in the heart of downtown Waco. Truth be told, it’s Waco’s first juice bar. The Baugh Center blog originally talked with Denitia Blount of OMJ back in 2016. Long story short, OMJ started out at the Waco Farmers Market and quickly became a market favorite. Locals just couldn’t get enough of the fresh-made juices, but there was a problem. Locals also wanted juice every day. So much so, OMJ moved into the River Square Center with a brick and mortar location. 

During the first couple of years OMJ grew quickly, almost uncontrollably quickly. Denitia explains that at times it felt like they were simply holding on by their fingernails. After the initial rush, growth became more manageable. Denitia confessed in a recent Confessions of an Entrepreneur talk, “For every one thing I’ve done right, I’ve made a thousand mistakes.”

There have definitely been growing pains. Business continued to grow, but the OMJ space did not. Learning to make a consistently good product quicker and in larger quantities became a priority. Actually, it became a necessity. When other competing businesses popped up downtown, Denitia looked at it as an opportunity for OMJ to step up its game. Denitia has always had confidence in the OMJ products, but she also tries to combine that with a great customer experience. She stresses, “You have to always try to find ways to set yourself apart.”

With an exceptional product line and a cool customer vibe, OMJ adjusted to growth and the growing pains actually subsided a bit. Locals became regulars. OMJ may not be the place where everyone knows your name, but the staff certainly knows if a regular wants to cut the bananas or add extra blueberries.

Business was growing and progressing relatively smoothly, but early on in 2020 talk of Covid-19 became more widespread. Needless to say, March 2020 was a game changer for a lot of folks. OMJ was no different. Denitia chose to take those sour lemons and make lemonade, or shall we say juice. OMJ had already been looking for a way to provide curbside service for customers. The mandated lockdown moved that to the top of the to-do list. OMJ even took the leap into the world of delivery service. Curbside worked out smashingly. Delivery, however, had a few hiccups. It took a few fails to get into a good delivery rhythm. 

As OMJ got into a groove with the new socially-distanced business standards, 2021 came in with the promise of a new tomorrow, a fresh start. Waco even had enough snow in early January to build a respectable snowman or two. It was a new beginning. In early February there was the potential for even more snow. Excitement for a possible snow day was quickly squashed with what has been termed as Snowmageddon. Waco was literally frozen for five days. Roads were impassable. Businesses were closed. Classes were cancelled. Electricity blackouts became the norm. And then frozen plumbing pipes started bursting around town.

When Denitia received the call that the OMJ alarm system was going off, her initial thought was that someone had snuck into the shop trying to find a place to stay warm. Not in her wildest imagination did Denitia expect to drive up to OMJ and see water pouring out of the shop windows and doors. Broken pipes. OMJ was completely destroyed. The walls and ceiling had 99% water saturation. Water seeped into the top sliding freezers, ruining all of the frozen food. The electronics and fresh produce all had to be replaced. OMJ was forced to close its doors.

While the repair and remodel work is expected to be complete before summer, Denitia is not one to just sit around. After all, the people of Waco still need OMJ goodies! OMJ went back to its roots by selling juices at the Waco Farmers Market. And for the month of April, OMJ will have a spot inside of the Baylor SUB serving up fan-favorite smoothies, acai bowls and juices. 

Summer 2021 looks to be a busy one for Denitia and the OMJ staff. Not only is the original River Square Center location expected to open back up, but a second permanent location is also expected to open as well. The second OMJ will be located in the shopping center at the corner of Highway 6 and Highway 84.

If anyone has mastered the art of turning lemons into…juice, it’s Denitia and OMJ.

Just in case you need even more convincing to make your mornings Green Mornings, here are the top-three reasons: 1) #ShopLocal, OMJ is a locally-owned business, 2) Denitia Blount is a Baylor grad and 3) Green Mornings is so stinkin’ good! Oh and just for kicks a fourth reason is you will be able to show your BU spirit by walking around campus with a super-cool Green Mornings smoothie — that is until you drink it all.

Indeed, OMJ certainly found a way to set itself apart. #SicEm


To watch Denitia’s Confessions of an Entrepreneur talk, please visit http://bit.ly/COE_OMJ.

To read the 2016 Baugh Center Blog on Oh My Juice, please visit http://bit.ly/2dKOIx4.

For more information about the John F. Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship & Free Enterprise, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneur/.

 

Jackson Wren, Nightlight Donuts


Adventure with Purpose

-Jackson Wren


So what’s perfect for a Tuesday afternoon study snack, a Friday night movie nosh and a Saturday morning breakfast? Donuts, of course! And what’s better than a plain ol’ donut? A donut made with crescent dough! And where can you find such a mouth-watering, eat until you’ve popped a pant button delicacy? Nightlight Donuts in Waco, Texas.

You would think that in order to create such a unique and one-of-a kind morsel of delight that one would most certainly be a sort of donut or pastry aficionado. You would think. When Jackson Wren came up with the idea of Nightlight Donuts, his experience with donuts was… eating them. Eating a lot of them actually.

Not that starting a business was a new idea for Jackson. He’s a natural-born entrepreneur. Jackson and his twin brother founded Dapper Bear while still students at Baylor, and Dapper Bear just happens to be the home of the official Baylor plaid. But how does one journey from plaid to donuts?

Jackson shares all the details of his Nightlight Donuts adventure in an Ask the Entrepreneur interview.

Q&A

Tell us a little bit about your background and how one journeys from plaid to donuts.

I started my first business when I was thirteen because I wanted to buy a car one day. My brother and I started a car detailing service. That was my first taste of entrepreneurship. From that point on I loved it. 

I started Dapper Bear (Baylor’s official plaid) as a student at Baylor. To me, the switch from plaid to donuts is not so much about the industry but it’s more about making someone’s day better. I saw a way to do that with both the plaid and donuts.

 

Why did you decide to open a donut shop in Waco, Texas?

About four years ago I was driving to Austin and was stuck in horrible traffic. Cars were at a stand-still. I saw a donut shop nearby. If you’re like me when you see a donut shop, you immediately want a donut. But it was 6:00 pm and the donut shop was closed. Why are donut shops always closed at night? 

My brother and I moved to New York City and lived there for about a year. We just so happened to get an apartment that was above a donut shop that sold cronuts. I was immediately obsessed. I ate a cronut every day we lived there. When we moved back to Waco we had an idea… maybe we should bring a crescent donut to Waco.

 

What was your thought process in deciding to start a business in such a competitive industry?

I gave that a lot of thought. I put a lot of planning and research into it. Being such a competitive industry is intimidating, but helps you maintain focus.

 

What do you do to make sure that Nightlight Donuts is different from any other donut shop in Waco?

Our product and our people make us different. Product, all of our dough is crescent dough. People, we have four values for our business: 1) be kind 2) be individual 3) be exceptional 4) own it. Everything we do goes back to those values. We hit the jackpot with our staff!

 

Is there anything you would have done differently?

Yes. I completely over estimated the time I had available for starting the business.

 

What was it like starting a new business in the middle of a pandemic?

The week we broke ground on Nightlight Donuts was the same week everything started to shut down. It was an incredible amount of stress. We really didn’t know what to do. We kept going because I believed in our product and I believed in the Waco community.

 

Did being a student entrepreneur help prepare you for this venture?

There are so many things we did with Dapper Bear that we did differently with Nightlight Donuts.

 

How did studying entrepreneurship at Baylor prepare you to start your own business?

The real world experience that the Baylor entrepreneurship department provides is what prepared me the most.

 

What is the most important thing you’ve learned during this entrepreneurial journey?

You should resolve to not waste life.

 

What advice would you give to a Baylor student wanting to start a business while still in school?

Research like you’ve never researched before. If you feel like it can still work, then go do it.

 

Finish this sentence – entrepreneurship means to me…

Entrepreneurship means to me… adventure with purpose.


For the complete interview, please visit the Baylor Baugh Center YouTube page at https://bit.ly/3qIwboZ.

For more information about the John F. Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship & Free Enterprise, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneur/.

 

Meet the New #BaylorENT Prof | Dr. Gabriella Cacciotti

 

“Always find love and appreciation for all that you receive in life.

-Dr. Gabriella Cacciotti


Who is the new #BaylorENT prof?
I come from a very small town near Rome and my husband is from Milan. Together with our three-year-old daughter, home is in two different places in Italy. I received my undergraduate degree from Bocconi University in Italy, my masters degree from Fudan University in China, my PhD from Warwick Business School in the UK and my post doc from Aalto University in Finland. I cannot get enough of discovering the world and understanding different cultures. I have learned a lot by living in different countries and meeting new people. The world is a wonderful place.

Why teach?
My job is beautiful. I have so many opportunities to learn and discover new things.

Why Baylor?
The environment at Baylor is wonderful. I look forward to sharing my knowledge with my students in a way that has a positive impact on them and helps them grow.

Thoughts on Waco?
The sense of community is incredible. I’ve never lived here, but it feels like I’ve come home.

#BaylorENT in three words or less…go.
Collegial, Professional, Inspirational

  
For more information on Baylor Entrepreneurship, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneurship/.

 

Business Students Start Baylor Entrepreneurship Club

The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.

Oprah Winfrey


The Baylor Entrepreneurship Department has more than forty years under its belt and is a nationally recognized academic leader. So, it’s pretty safe to say the faculty and staff know a thing or two about business ownership and are committed to the study, teaching and practice of new business creation both inside the classroom and within the community. But it goes even beyond that. The Baylor Entrepreneurship Department encourages and challenges students and local small business owners alike to be innovative thinkers, to color outside of the lines.

This fall, a group of six Baylor students dared to scribble. What may have looked like an out-of-the lines hot mess, actually ended up as the Baylor Entrepreneurship Club.

An article from 10XFactory listed three reason to join an entrepreneurship club:

  1. Learn about real-world entrepreneurship issues
  2. Create a business network
  3. Learn how to work through failure in a low-stakes environment

Admittedly, these are three absolutely fantastic reasons to join an entrepreneurship club. But the Baylor Entrepreneurship Club looks at it just a little differently. This group of business students look at the club more as a place…the place where students take control of their own dreams.

The Baylor Entrepreneurship Department provides encouragement, support and even a crayon or two (or three, or four…) so students like those in the Entrepreneurship Club can scribble until their heart’s content and chase after their dreams. 

The Baylor Entrepreneurship Club 2020 founding members are Daria Rakitskaya, Nick Madincea, Grace Casper, Dillon Fontaine, Danielle Rozeboom and Bradley Heidebrecht.

Name: Daria Rakitskaya
Hometown: Moscow, Russia
Major: Entrepreneurship & Marketing
Fun fact about me is I am a former student-athlete and I played tennis for 16 years.

Name: Nick Madincea, Founder and CEO Drone Parks® Worldwide
Hometown: The Woodlands, Texas
Major: Finance (Pre-Business)
Fun fact about me is I’m a student pilot, learning to fly a 4-seater, Cessna 172 out of Waco airport (KACT).

Name: Grace Casper, launching a business this spring
Hometown: Parker, CO
Major: Entrepreneurship & Marketing
Fun fact about me is I host a podcast called Those Who Know.

Name: Dillon Fontaine
Hometown: Fort Worth, TX
Major: Professional Selling
Fun fact about me is I am an avid golfer and passionate about European History

Name: Danielle Rozeboom
Hometown: Abilene, TX
Major: Entrepreneurship & Management
Fun fact about me is I am a member of the Baylor University Golden Wave Band (BUGWB). 

Name: Bradley Heidebrecht, Owner of Long Run Solutions
Hometown: Southlake, TX
Major: Finance
Fun fact about me is I have been a stock trader since I was 17.

  

Why start the Baylor Entrepreneurship Club?

Daria: After I decided to retire from tennis, I was at a personal crossroad. I met Nick and he told me about his idea of starting an entrepreneurship club at Baylor. That was exactly what I needed to jumpstart my life in a new direction so I could pursue my dream of becoming an entrepreneur.

Nick: I am actually a fourth generation entrepreneur, so business is in my blood. When I first came to Baylor, a faculty member mentioned the need for an interdisciplinary, entrepreneurship club. After speaking with several students, I saw the opportunity and went for it. I am very excited at the prospect of the Baylor Entrepreneurship Club becoming the flagship club of the Hankamer School of Business. 

Grace: I love entrepreneurship and the whole process of making dreams become a reality. When Nick asked me to participate in the entrepreneurship club, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. I think this club will be a huge asset to Baylor. 

Dillon: Having the mindset of an entrepreneur challenges you to learn, grow, be flexible and persevere. That special way of thinking and processing is so important and can be beneficial even if a student decides not to open a business. 

Danielle: I honestly believe that entrepreneurs can change the world. As exciting as that sounds, it’s also a little scary. The Baylor Entrepreneurship Club will give students an extra push to get started, but it will also walk side-by-side along the way. 

Bradley: Nick introduced me to the idea of an entrepreneurship club. From there, we developed a plan together to find students across campus who have an entrepreneurial dream.

 

What do you hope to accomplish with the Baylor Entrepreneurship Club?

Daria: I want to help students realize that everyone has a unique story to tell. The kind of business we start and how we operate our business can help tell that story. I want to be part of that discovery.

Nick: My goal is to empower our members to have firsthand, real life entrepreneurial experiences that will increase their professional development and also further Baylor’s position as the nation’s premier Tier 1, Christian research university. 

Grace: I feel like the Lord calls us to dream big with Him and that we can glorify His name through business! I want to be able to connect other students to the right resources, so they can experience the big dreams.

Dillon: I hope to create a club that encourages interdisciplinary collaboration between entrepreneurs of all skills and talents from across campus. 

Danielle: I hope to help others gain insight, knowledge and confidence to pursue their own passions regardless of the end goal. 

Bradley:  I’m excited to hear from other students at Baylor as they share their ideas and dreams of starting a business while in college. 

 

Why should someone join the Baylor Entrepreneurship Club?

Daria: Students should join the Baylor Entrepreneurship Club for the opportunity to meet other students who see the world as they do. These new relationships can lead to teammates, partners and lifelong friends. 

Nick: Students can learn more about the entrepreneurial experience, process, and journey in the most “real world” way possible with the Baylor Entrepreneurship Club.

Grace: The Baylor Entrepreneurship Club will provide students with a community that will offer not only moral support but also practical advice, encouragement and coaching on how to launch your business.

Dillon: Students with a passion for entrepreneurship and a desire to network and learn new skills should absolutely join the Baylor Entrepreneurship Club.

Danielle: The Baylor Entrepreneurship Club is a unique group of students who are dedicated to encourage, lead and guide each other to success.

Bradley: Students should join the Baylor Entrepreneurship Club if they have a passion for entrepreneurship and want to learn the ins and outs of business and how to run a company.


For more information an the Baylor Entrepreneurship Club, please visit @baylor_bec on Instagram.

For more information on Baylor Entrepreneurship, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneurship/.

The Perfect Trifecta | Waco, Baylor Entrepreneurship and Local Small Businesses

Waco is decidedly a cool town,
and for Baylor students to not appreciate that is weird.

-Harper Mayfield | Baylor Lariat


In a recent Baylor Lariat article, student writer Harper Mayfield stated “Waco is decidedly a cool town, and for Baylor students to not appreciate that is weird.”

If that isn’t a sic’ em kind of mic drop, what is?

After a quick online search for things to do in this heart of Texas hot-spot, a 2020 VacationIdea.com article popped up with the “25 Best Things to Do in Waco, Texas.” Obviously, several of the activities are associated with Baylor University. Even more intriguing is the mention of a couple of local small businesses. Both Dichotomy Coffee & Spirits and Heritage Creamery received a shout out in the article. But that’s not the first time that a small business in Waco has received a nod. Lula Jane’s, a small unassuming bakery nestled quietly on Elm Avenue, was recognized as a 2020 Travelers Choice Winner by TripAdvisor.

As a matter of fact, using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, AdvisorSmith.com recently ranked Waco seventh on a national scale for mid-size cities with the most small business owners. That’s a big deal.

Considering that Waco is also home to the Baylor University nationally-ranked Entrepreneurship Department, it kind of seems like there may be this fabulous trifecta brewing with Waco, Baylor Entrepreneurship and local small businesses.

With more than forty years of experience,the Baylor Entrepreneurship Department is a nationally recognized academic leader. For the 2021 national rankings of undergraduate entrepreneurship programs, Princeton Review / Entrepreneur Magazine and U.S. News & World Report have once again both ranked the Baylor Entrepreneurship Department as a top-ten program.

With a top-notch team of dedicated faculty and staff, the Baylor Entrepreneurship Department is committed to the study, teaching and practice of new business creation. Students and local small businesses alike are the beneficiaries of that strong commitment. What makes this commitment exceptionally extraordinary is the color-outside-of-the-lines type of thinking. It’s the kind of innovative thinking that motivates, inspires and challenges.

The Baylor Entrepreneurship Department recently took a stroke outside of the lines with the Oso Launch Program. Oso Launch was designed to provide a niche group of entrepreneurially-minded incoming freshmen with a program that could provide guidance, mentorship and networking for their next four years on campus. Through Oso Launch, students not only build an entrepreneurial foundation with unique challenges in a learning environment, but they also have the opportunity to raise much-needed capital. That’s not the kind of experience you get from a textbook in a classroom setting.

The Entrepreneurship Department continues outside of the lines with the Community Entrepreneurship Program (CEP). This fairly new initiative expands the reach of the department deep into the community. Participants in CEP are local, small business owners who simply want to grow their business. The program provides peer-to-peer networking and valuable mentorship, along with training and coaching. CEP utilizes Baylor Entrepreneurship faculty, staff, students, alumni and donors in delivering this best-in-class Baylor content in a non-threatening, caring environment that welcomes small business owners from all backgrounds. 

The list Baylor Entrepreneurship forward-thinking initiatives and programs could go on and on. From the New Venture Competition and the 1846 Business Incubator to the Texas Family Business Awards and the BEST Program, Baylor Entrepreneurship is making a mark both inside of the classroom and the community as well.

Indeed a trifecta is brewing. And we happen to agree with Harper Mayfield. Waco is a cool town…a seriously, very cool town.


For more information on Baylor Entrepreneurship, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneurship/.

Baylor New Venture Competition Recognizes Oso Launch Students

 

Let’s say you started a business in high school. It’s a small, local business with modest success. But there’s a tug at your heart that maybe, just maybe, you can take that small business and make something big with it. But how? After high school, there’s college. How does one navigate the world on a much bigger scale as both a collegiate student and a business owner?

The Baylor Entrepreneurship department created a program called Oso Launch that is designed to help incoming freshmen students in such a predicament. It’s designed to help students accomplish big dreams with their small businesses.

Oso Launch provides this niche group of incoming freshmen students with a program that walks alongside the students and offers guidance, mentorship and networking throughout their four years at Baylor. With Oso Launch, students build an entrepreneurial foundation by completing unique challenges and assigned milestones all within a learning environment. One such milestone is participating in the Spring semester Baylor New Venture Competition (NVC) Oso Launch Elevator Pitch Competition.

This pitch competition gives students an opportunity to communicate their value proposition in a compelling and unique way. It helps them dig deep into their business and business goals. The Spring 2020 NVC was originally planned for late March, but in coordination with the closing of Baylor campus due to Covid-19 the in-person event was canceled. With a little behind-the-scenes work, the Oso Launch students were able to compete in the Elevator Pitch Competition virtually. A panel of expert judges assessed and evaluated the student pitches, and three Oso Launch students were recognized for compelling pitches that clearly articulated their products and accomplishments.

Congratulations to Layne McCalmont, Ellie Meinershagen and Kristina Ward. You did a great job. Sic ’em!

 

2020 Baylor New Venture Competition
Oso Launch Pitch Competition Winner Profiles


First Place Winner Layne McCalmont
Awarded $1,000 for Thrifted by Layne | online clothing resale | Instagram @thriftedbylayne
Layne McCalmont 2020 Oso Launch Pitch Competition

COVID-19 IMPACT ON THRIFTED BY LAYNE
Because of Covid-19, a lot of people were at home and they were using their phones more than ever. Sales for Thrifted by Layne actually increased during this time. Customers were buying more because it was so much easier and more convenient to order from a phone. Also since I was back in Round Rock after campus closed, I was able to arrange no-contact, porch pickup for my local Round Rock customers.  

LONG TERM GOALS
I am currently planning to build a business website so that I can transition to a full ecommerce site and I’m not limited to just Instagram.

THOUGHTS ON OSO LAUNCH
By participating in Oso Launch, I have had the opportunity to network with several different people within the Entrepreneurship department. They have given incredible feedback and suggestions about business plans, marketing techniques, and selling opportunities. I also can’t say enough about the relationships I’ve built with the other Oso Launch students. It’s truly an awesome support network! 

 

Second Place Winner Ellie Meinershagen
Awarded $500 for Acute Accents | jewelry | Instagram @acuteaccents
Ellie Meinershagen 2020 Oso Launch Pitch Competition

COVID-19 IMPACT ON ACUTE ACCENTS
During the Covid-19 closings and restrictions, consumers were doing a lot of online shopping. I realized that I needed to adjust my business model. My initial focus had always been an in-person approach, selling primarily at local Waco markets. I needed to shift to an online format that could support shoppers beyond my local community. I’m very thankful that I was able to transition my business into an online brand. Acute Accents has now sold over 600 pairs of earrings to customers in 40 U.S. states during the past year.

LONG TERM GOALS
I started Acute Accents during the summer before my freshman year at Baylor, fully expecting it to be a summer hobby. A year later and Acute Accents is going strong. I will definitely continue selling online, at local markets and wholesale. However, I really want  to build a brand that supports other local makers by including and selling their work as part of a cohesive flea-market. I want to take my business from exclusively handmade earrings to a collection of unique clothing, jewelry and home goods. 

THOUGHTS ON OSO LAUNCH
With the resources available through Oso Launch, I was able to transition from a summer hobby to an actual business. I view the assigned milestones as motivational goals that have helped me grow my business. I’m so thankful for all the individualized support and coaching that I’ve received with the Oso Launch program, and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next.

 

Third Place Winner Kristina Ward
Awarded $250 for Oso Sweet | gourmet cookies on a stick
Kristina Ward 2020 Oso Launch Pitch Competition

COVID-19 IMPACT ON OSO SWEET
Oso Sweet was created as a home-kitchen, bakery business with an initial plan to provide a cookie delivery service to Baylor dorms. When Baylor campus closed with Covid-19, all dorm residents moved back home. That was a problem for Oso Sweet. While I wasn’t able to launch my business during the quarantine, I was able to brainstorm how to best launch Oso Sweet in the future.

LONG TERM GOALS
I decided to focus on my studies for my next three years at Baylor. I do believe in this company and feel it could thrive at the appropriate time. I’ll revisit the idea after graduation. For now, Oso Sweet is on the back burner.

THOUGHTS ON OSO LAUNCH
Networking and mentoring are the hidden jewels of Oso Launch. Not only was I able to connect with people in the Entrepreneurship department, but also local business owners. Meeting with these business owners gave me such a deep appreciation for Waco!


For more information on Baylor Entrepreneurship, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneurship/.

Danielle Young, Revival Eastside Eatery


Work hard and be nice.

-Danielle Young


What would you like for lunch? If you’re feeling a sandwich, maybe the Weight of Glory or the Technicolor Dreamcoat. Or maybe the Golden Calf burger, but then there’s the Eve salad…

Those who have been to Revival Eastside Eatery on Elm Avenue in Waco are familiar with this unique menu. Revival Eastside Eatery has been around for about sixteen months and has made a big splash with it’s not-so-typical menu names and delicious food.

One would think that successfully opening a restaurant with an outside-the-box menu in an up-and-coming neighborhood the owner would have to be born and bred an entrepreneur. One would sorely be mistaken.

Danielle Young opened Revival Eastside Eatery with her husband, Travis, in the summer of 2019. Originally from North Carolina, Danielle and Travis moved to Waco in 2011 so she could attend Baylor. She received both her master and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from Baylor. After falling in love with the city, the two decided to make Waco their home. Danielle soon took a role as Clinical Research Coordinator at Baylor while also seeing patients as a clinical psychologist serving children. Opening a restaurant wasn’t even a blip on their radar. 

Well, it wasn’t until it was.

This self described risk averse, research loving psychologist was simply enjoying life in Waco. She likes to say that Waco just kind of sucks people in after a while.

On one fateful night in 2017 Danielle and Travis were driving around Waco trying to find a place to eat dinner. They wanted to support a local business, but they also wanted something a little on the healthier side. One thing led to another and someone actually uttered the famous last words . . .  How hard could it be to open a restaurant?

The consensus between the two was instead of complaining about the lack of restaurant variety, they instead should do something about it. Afterall, how hard could it be? Danielle and Travis spent the next eighteen months working on a business plan for a restaurant. They evaluated if it was feasible, the kind of costs involved, what the competition would look like and who the customers would be. How hard could it be? Very hard. But the two soon started to dream of what could be.

The dream… a restaurant with unique food that’s fresh, tasty and is Texas-sourced; a place that’s not too fancy and kind of casual; somewhere with exceptional service and reasonably priced menu items. The dream wasn’t novel by any means, but Danielle and Travis felt it was novel for Waco.

The next big, big thing for Danielle and Travis to consider was location. Where would be the best place for their novel-to-Waco eatery? Danielle looked at the development of downtown Waco and felt that it made sense to expand beyond downtown. Elm Avenue was the perfect spot. Lula Jane’s was already an established neighborhood favorite, but there was nothing on Elm like the dream. Elm was deep in history and rich in culture. To Danielle and Travis, Elm was perfect.

They soon agreed that 704 Elm Avenue would be home to the dream. This particular property had been vacant for about ten years. It was previously the Waco Community Baptist Church. As the demo work on the building began, locals immediately flocked to the property to share stories and memories of attending the old church. It became clear that this dream-inspired eatery would also be steeped in that deep Elm history and culture. And what better way to pay tribute than to call the restaurant Revival! More specifically, Revival Eastside Eatery to also acknowledge the up-and-coming East Waco neighborhood. 

Since the building was an old church, the two decided to completely lean into it with the menu. And this is where the Weight of Glory and Technicolor Dreamcoat sandwiches come into play. Other notable mentions are the Golden Calf burger and the Eve and Garden of Eating salads.

This novel-to-Waco eatery became a hit. Word spread and Revival soon became a hot spot for locals and out-of-town folks alike. The eatery even received a nod from Magnolia.

Remember that question… how hard can it be? In less than a year of opening the unthinkable happened. In March 2020, restaurants were in a mandatory shutdown due to Covid-19. From the onset, Danielle and Travis were committed to do what was necessary to keep all of their staff. To say there was an immediate pivot in day-to-day operations is the understatement of a lifetime. At the time of the shutdown, the eatery didn’t even have online ordering. Literally overnight, an online ordering system was developed and “curbside pickup” became the new norm.

With the mindset we’re all in this together, the next task at hand became how to help the community. Families were now at home together. Parents were both working at home as well as teaching their children at home. With that in mind, the idea of Family Meals came into play. Keeping it as easy as possible with an “order today and pick up tomorrow” concept. The benefits of Family Meals were two-fold, not only did this give families room to plan ahead but it also allowed for the eatery to prepare without a significant amount of food waste. The Family Meals soon became a huge hit and ultimately helped carry the restaurant when the dining room was closed.

After the eatery was able to open up the dining room again, Revival continued with Family Meals. While not near as many orders are placed, it’s still a popular menu item.

In effort to be socially conscientious, Revival also made some front-of-the-house adjustments. Instead of counter-service ordering, customers are now seated and ordering is done table side. QR codes are affixed to the tables so customers can view a touchless menu via scan. While the initial implementation of the table-side ordering with QR codes was for social distancing purposes, Danielle likes the process and actually looks for it to continue.

Throughout all of the unexpected ups and downs the past eight months have thrown at Danielle, she continues the day-to-day mindset of work hard and be nice. A mindset that definitely helped make a dream come true.

Q&A

Question submitted by Dr. Boris Nikolaev, Entrepreneurship Professor
The restaurant business is very competitive. Were you aware of the risks when you decided to open a business?

Yes, and people thought we were insane for opening a restaurant. We were aware of the failure rates and did our own research. We learned a few things along the way. We learned some of the common causes for failure are:

  1. Renting and not owning your own space — rent can go up and you have no control
  2. Location. Location. Location.
  3. Underestimating costs

Question submitted by Dr.Peter Klein, Entrepreneurship Department Chair
How have the city’s specific development efforts on Elm Avenue either helped or harmed your business?

With TIF (tax increment financing) the mindset is there are small grants that can help renovate buildings. We were able to get a little bit of money to help redo the facade work. The city took care of new sidewalks. Elm Avenue will be under construction for the next 18 months, so it will be good and bad. Great improvements, but folks will have a hard time getting to the restaurant.

Question submitted by Bradley Settles, student
How do you feel about the current direction of the East Waco development?

We’ve been in business for 16 months. The city is very mindful about development on Elm Avenue. City Center Waco also works with the community, being intentional about development and striving to put the community needs above businesses. 

Question submitted by Dr. Boris Nikolaev, Entrepreneurship Professor
What do you do that sets your business apart from other similar businesses?

We do a really good job of being hospitable and welcoming. We work hard to train our staff. Our customer service is great! We also don’t take ourselves too seriously. We have the mindset of whatever the customer wants, we will make it — a picky eater’s delight!

Question submitted by Gib Reynolds, Director 1845 Incubator
With turnover being so high in this industry, what do you do to take care of your staff?

We started July 2019 and still have four of an original staff of nine. We practice shared tips. With shared tips, our staff takes home somewhere between $16-$18 an hour depending on the day.

Our philosophy is everyone is working hard whether or not the customer sees it. We want to make sure our people are taken care of. The cool thing about being an owner and working on site you get to regularly see your staff and their needs. Loving employees well is something we do differently.

Question submitted by Dr. Boris Nikolaev, Entrepreneurship Professor
If you could do something different on your entrepreneurial journey what would it be?

When we first started we were looking at chefs and actually paid someone to create the  menu and recipe development. We very soon realized that we were investing a lot of money. Two weeks before the Revival grand opening we let the chef go because we didn’t have anything tangible. In the two weeks before opening I redesigned the entire menu. I reworked food costs and sought out Texas-sourced vendors. In hindsight, I would have believed more in myself from the get-go.

Even though Revival isn’t exactly what we thought it would be, we feel it’s even better now. It’s fun to watch what happens when you trust the process and absolutely trust yourself.


For additional outtakes from the interview with Danielle, please visit the Baylor Baugh Center YouTube page.

Outtake 1: https://bit.ly/3o7sGaI
Outtake 2: https://bit.ly/35cA6AD

For more information about the John F. Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship & Free Enterprise, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneur/.

 

Baylor Entrepreneurship Helps Student Business Owners Dream Big with Oso Launch

 

You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem,
or a wrong that you want to right.

If you’re not passionate enough from the start,
you’ll never stick it out.

-Steve Jobs


Dictionary.com defines an entrepreneur as a person who organizes and manages a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk. To take a leap of faith knowing that risks are unavoidable, substantial and even catastrophic requires a huge amount of passion.

But is passion enough? What if the rainy-day funds run dry or simply weren’t there to begin with? What if a speed bump becomes a bonafide road block? What if a big dream is overshadowed because of a lack of experience and know-how? 

The complexity of risks can be daunting to student business owners and could even change the direction of their journey. Without a doubt, student business owners have an abundance of passion. While that passion is important and absolutely necessary, the risks can be overwhelming when trying to juggle an entrepreneurial spirit with the demands of a collegiate student.

The Entrepreneurship department at Baylor University serves as a bridge-of-sort that helps students with dreams of owning a business become successful entrepreneurs in their own right. The Baylor Entrepreneurship department is dedicated to the study, teaching and practice of new business creation. With more than forty years of experience, the department is an academic leader, consistently ranking as a top-ten program nationwide. 

Realizing that incoming freshmen who aspire to be entrepreneurs are a captive audience for the next four years, it became evident that this was an untapped group that could benefit from the expertise of the Entrepreneurship department. Oso Launch was designed to provide this niche group of incoming freshmen with a program that could provide guidance, mentorship and networking for the next four years. Through Oso Launch, students not only build an entrepreneurial foundation with unique challenges in a learning environment, but they also have the opportunity to raise much-needed capital.

The program is now in its second year and has proven to be an engaging and fun platform for students to network with both peers and alumni who share a common interest in entrepreneurship. Eleven students were chosen to participate in the Fall 2020 Oso Launch freshman cohort. Each student will receive a Spring 2021 semester award of $500 upon completion of required program milestones.

The second-year, sophomore cohort is made up of twelve participants who have continued with the program. The Fall award will be up to $250 matched against capital raised during the semester. The Spring 2021 semester award will be up to $350 matched against capital raised, but is also dependent on the completion of required program milestones.

Three students from the sophomore cohort will be selected as pre-incubator participants. The 1846 Business Incubator was created with the purpose of helping student entrepreneurs develop feasible, sustainable and profitable businesses. The focus of the program is to work with early-stage student businesses through entrepreneurship programming and education, hands-on support from faculty, a network of mentors and office space in the incubator. The Fall award for pre-incubator participants will be up to $250 matched against capital raised during the semester. The Spring 2021 semester award will be up to $500 matched against capital raised. 

Shaun Limbers is the Associate Director for the Baugh Center and also oversees Oso Launch. He explains, “There really isn’t another program like Oso Launch that offers support for entrepreneurial students from the first day they step foot on campus; this is an exceptional program designed with exceptional students in mind.”  

With Oso Launch, Baylor Entrepreneurship helps student business owners turn passion and big dreams into the reality of successful entrepreneurship.


For more information on Baylor Entrepreneurship, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneurship/.