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/.

 

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/.

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/.

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/.

A Tour of the Waco Entrepreneurial Ecosystem with Baylor Entrepreneurship

 

Steve Jobs once said, “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” A dream, a passion and a deep rooted why are certainly necessary to start a successful business, but how in the world does a Baylor student with dreams of entrepreneurship continue to persevere and get back on the proverbial horse time and time again?

That’s where the Baylor Entrepreneurship department, cloaked in a green and gold cape, swoops in to save the day. The Baylor Entrepreneurship department is dedicated to the study, teaching and practice of new venture creation. The faculty and staff are devoted to encourage, support and help those student business owners who dare to take risks. Who dare to persevere. Who dare to be entrepreneurs. Even if it means stepping outside of the classroom.

Join Baylor Entrepreneurship on a virtual Tour of the Waco Entrepreneurial Ecosystems and explore the outside-of-the-classroom, entrepreneurial resources that are available to Baylor students.

Melissa Pardun of Maker’s Edge Makerspace
Maker’s Edge is a collaborative workspace established with a goal to combine thinking and doing around the idea of offering space, tools, mentors, training and STEM outreach. Maker’s Edge is about getting people to explore things they really wouldn’t be willing to explore on their own. The whole point of coming to a place like Maker’s Edge is that you feel free to fail so you feel free to try again. A partnership with Baylor University allows students to be part of Marker’s Edge for free. 

John Passavant of Startup Waco
Startup Waco exists to serve entrepreneurs. The simple act of walking into Startup Waco expands business owners’ networks. Often when starting a business it’s not what you are doing but who you know can help you get from one step to the next step.

Gib Reynolds of Baylor University 1846 Business Incubator
The 1846 Business Incubator was established with the sole purpose of facilitating student startups. We take Baylor students with raw ideas and give them resources to launch companies before they graduate. Call to Action: if you have an idea, you’re curious about pursuing entrepreneurship, you previously started a company or you’re actively trying to start a company now send an email to Gib_Reynolds@baylor.edu.

Andrew Telep of Baylor University Experiential Libraries Commons (ELC)
Located in the garden level of Moody Library on Baylor Campus, ELC has digital fabrication tools and laser cutters available for use free of charge.

Q&A Session

Q:  John, what is the most exciting thing available for up-and-coming entrepreneurs in Waco?
A:  There’s a lot of opportunity. Waco has unbelievable resources available and provides a great environment to test ideas.

Q:  Melissa, do you have suggestions for introductory projects, things students can try?
A:  When most people come into the space they come in for one thing, usually a class requirement or something like that. They don’t actually have the mindset of “making.” We encourage students to come in and take as many classes as possible. There isn’t a tool available that doesn’t have a training class.

Q:  Gib, what type of businesses have you seen students start?
A:  Baylor students are creative. We’ve had a wide spectrum of ideas. It’s not just one kind of business that works here. Just start something. If there’s something that you are passionate about or interested in, learn by doing. Just do.

Q:  Melissa, how do you balance ambition and school work?
A:  It doesn’t take a lot of time to have a great idea. It takes time to bring the idea to market. Baylor has so many resources, the opportunities will naturally fall into place. Connect with the right people and you can make it happen.

Q:  John, how do you balance ambition and school work?
A:  Allow yourself to be pulled into something rather than being forced into something. The journey starts by taking that one step.

The Baylor Entrepreneurship department is helping to shape the future one dream, one passion and one why at a time.

Visit the Tour of the Waco Entrepreneurial Ecosystems video link at https://bit.ly/32GAeIz.

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

Bradley Heidebrecht, Long Run Solutions, Inc.

 

Patience and perseverance are the key towards results.

-Bradley Heidebrecht


Imagine walking to the bike rack and your bike is gone. Now, imagine looking at this inconvenient and frustrating event as life changing. Is it really possible for something so annoying and relatively small to actually be considered life altering? According to Baylor student Bradley Heidebrecht, it is possible. Yes, something so small can definitely make a big impact. Yes, a million times!

Originally from Southlake, Texas, Bradley moved to Waco to attend Baylor in Fall 2019. Bradley’s parents both studied business and he followed in their footsteps and enrolled as a pre-business major. While neither parent studied entrepreneurship, they encouraged Bradley to follow his passions and pursue entrepreneurship throughout his college experience. 

Adjusting to freshman life on campus had its ups and downs, but Bradley immersed himself in all of the freshman traditions that Baylor has to offer. Meeting new friends, football games and hanging out at Common Grounds made the transition a little bit easier. Bradley also made a point to plug in with Oso Launch and the 1846 Incubator. Oso Launch and the 1846 Incubator are programs designed to foster an environment of teaching and learning for students who own, operate or are launching their own businesses.

When Bradley’s bike was stolen early in the fall semester, it was kind of an eye-opening, ah-ha moment. He questioned why there weren’t better security systems in place. He did everything right. He secured the bike on a rack with a u-lock, but someone was still able to easily saw through the lock and steal the bike. To Bradley, this was actually a blessing in disguise. 

Bradley started researching and found that smart bike racks were nearly non-existent. Ah-ha! What a cool opportunity to create a solution to a real and very personal problem. Bradley made good use of the 1846 Incubator white board. He says, “Without that white board, I wouldn’t be where I am today with my company.” He also connected with Shaun Limbers, Assistant Director of the Baugh Center and advisor for Oso Launch. With Shaun’s mentoring and open-door policy, Bradley felt confident to continue down an entrepreneurial path.

And ah-ha! The blessing in disguise…  Long Run Solutions, Inc., a smart bike rack company with a mission to integrate secure infrastructure solutions for micro-mobility devices while protecting the safety of riders. According to Bradley, Long Run Solutions, Inc. “replaces the typical bike rack with a smart bike rack that has a built-in locking mechanism and alarm sensor.” 

The overall vision of Long Run Solutions, Inc. is to place the product on college campuses nationwide, in front of apartments and outside urban businesses. There have been a few challenges with developing the company quickly enough and securing adequate funding. With such a high-tech product, sampling is extremely important but is also very expensive. COVID-19 also tossed in a couple of challenges. Meetings just weren’t the same without the infamous 1846 Incubator white board. However, software development wasn’t directly affected. Currently, Long Run Solutions, Inc. is developing a website, an app with Apple Wallet features and a software application.

With all of the economic uncertainties involving COVID-19, there are concerns with the official company launch in the Spring of 2021. But Bradley continues to be optimistic. He says, “Patience and perseverance are the key towards results.” 

Sic’ Em, Bradley!


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

 

Zach Morrow, Flourish

“Be passionate about your startup and have a higher driver than financial returns.”

-Zach Morrow


At a young age, Zach Morrow knew he wanted to serve others. He found joy in serving. Afterall, he grew up a missionary kid so the idea of serving others was somewhat home-grown.

Like a lot of young boys, Zach ventured into mowing lawns in the summer. He started in seventh grade mowing a neighbor’s yard, and during the next six years that neighbor’s yard grew into a bonafide lawn-care business with more than 40 yards. The “sweaty work” that his dad encouraged him to do paid off as Zach gained the invaluable know-how of a hard, work ethic.

Thus an entrepreneur was in the making.

With mom, two sisters and a brother-in-law all hailing from sic ‘em bears country, it wasn’t an outlandish idea to think Zach would follow the same path. Zach not only followed the path, he blazed it. Jumping in full-speed-ahead, Zach served as freshman class treasure, junior class president, a Robinson High School YoungLife Leader and countless club memberships. As Zach puts it, “Anything I wanted to do, I was able to accomplish.”

Zach was kind of like the Hulk, an untouchable hero type. But if you remember, the Hulk had a dark side. He was literally powered by rage. During this time of accolades and success, Zach’s mindset shifted from ”sweaty work” and serving others to one with a focus on success and making money. His goal was to make money – the most money – he could in life.

But it was during Zach’s junior year at Baylor when there was a pivot in ideals, goals and aspirations. Zach unapologetically admits that God humbled him, and he describes this time as his faith journey. He explains, “I didn’t realized during this difficult time that God was actually clearing my plate for something greater than I could have ever imagined.”

A few months before Zach’s final semester at Baylor, he befriended two students from the University of Pennsylvania. The three had a mutual passion to promote human flourishing through business. But what exactly would that look like? They explored the idea of a microfinance business model to support entrepreneurship in developing countries, but very quickly realized that was too difficult for college students to successfully launch.

Then the trio shifted gears to the idea of using round-up technology to help non-profit organizations in fundraising efforts. The idea was well received by the non-profits, but it became clear that the needs were pressing and immediate. The collegiate trio realized that this idea needed to materialize sooner rather than later.

Not wasting any time, Braden Fineberg, of the University of Pennsylvania side of the partnership, built a simple platform and app over the course of one weekend. With due-diligence they tested the app and it worked.

And Flourish began, turning pocket change into global change.

Flourish offers a micro-donation and donor analytics platform where non-profit organizations collect electronic pocket change from debit and/or credit card transactions of donors. For example, a $3.50 latte at the local coffee house will be rounded to $4.00. Flourish collects the $.50 round-up change. The donor selects how to allocate the monies and the non-profit of choice receives the pocket change.

Internally, the goal is to have 50,000 donors signed on to Flourish. That would translate to about $1 million directed to non-profit organizations each month. Zach says, “I know that God has been preparing my heart to serve others through business since I was a child.”

Zach experienced his share of growing pains while getting to the point of Flourish, but he came out more resilient and determined than ever. And the professors at the business school noticed. During Zach’s final semester at Baylor, he was recognized as the Outstanding Student in Entrepreneurship at the Baylor Hankamer School of Business Senior Appreciation Banquet.

Coming full circle with the “sweaty work” lessons from his dad, Zach has learned that it takes the right team from a utility perspective to utilize sweat equity. And even more important than the ultimate team is passion. Zach sums it up, “At the end of the day, even the greatest opportunity can leave someone lifeless and unmotivated.”

Zach certainly still has a superhero quality, but maybe not so much on the dark and Hulkish spectrum. Perhaps there’s more of a Captain America-esque aura about him, but with a sic ‘em bears kind of flare.


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

Student Entrepreneurs, Sugar Lips

“I’ve learned that everyone is capable of more than they think.”

~ Kaitleigh Booth


In 1969, The Archies released a little ditty with a snappy beat and sweet lyrics. You may remember, the chorus…

Sugar, ah honey honey
You are my candy girl
And you’ve got me wanting you

Don’t you think this song is the perfect personification of a sugary-sweet kind of product line? Maybe something that’s made of sugar and honey. You know, maybe something called Sugar Lips.

We think so too!

You may be wondering to yourself, what in the world is this candy-inspired sensation called Sugar Lips.

Sugar Lips is the brainchild of Baylor freshman Lauren Evans. During the fall 2016 semester, Lauren was enrolled in Entrepreneurship 3301 (ENT 3301) in association with the Entrepreneurship Living-Learning Center.

While taking ENT 3301, Lauren and her fellow classmates read The One Thing by Gary Keller, Founder of Keller-Williams Realty International. The students were then assigned to teams and each team was asked to build a business. Thus, we introduce you to Sugar Lips.

Sugar Lips is a student-made lip cosmetic that exfoliates lips with cane sugar and moisturizes lips with honey and olive oil. The Sugar Lips mission is to create a high-quality and all-natural lip scrub at an affordable price that leaves customers with soft and supple lips.

All it takes is a quick “lip scrub” Google search to realize that lip scrubs are the latest must-haves for beauty routines. But what makes this sugary phenomenon so special?

According to Kaitleigh Booth the Chief Marketing Officer for Sugar Lips, regular lip exfoliating allows popular matte lipsticks to go on smoother and last longer. 

Kaitleigh also points out that there are a couple of things that set Sugar Lips apart from other popular lip scrubs. First, Sugar Lips is made up of all-natural and organic ingredients, hopping on the trendy, organic-beauty-products bandwagon. Fewer processed ingredients equates fewer irritations and adverse reactions. Second, Sugar Lips solves the unpleasant problem of dry and chapped lips. And third, Sugar Lips is right here on campus.

Initially, the Sugar Lips team goal was to acquire an “A” in the class. According to Mary Abrahams, faculty advisor to the Entrepreneurship LLC, Sugar Lips was definitely a successful startup business. Mary explained that the students pooled together their own money to fund the initial investment of $104. In the end, they were able to pay back their individual investments as well as make a profit.

It didn’t take long for this student-business team to realize that Sugar Lips may just be the start of something sweetly spectacular. Maybe, just maybe, they could expand Sugar Lips beyond the Baylor community. The team looked bigger…bigger as in the popular Saturday morning Waco Farmer’s Market.

This group of like-minded, budding entrepreneurs has big dreams, but there are some hurdles. Sugar Lips is considered a personal care product, meaning it is a cosmetic and subject to FDA rules and regulations. Before Sugar Lips can proceed with any expansion goals, FDA approval is a required.

Until then, the ladies of the Baylor community will enjoy being their best version of a sugar-sugar candy girl…with smooth lips.

Sugar Lips
Partnership with Chinaberry Boutique
Chief Executive Officer: Lauren Evans
Chief Financial Officer: Tristan Dunn and Jurong Chen
Chief Marketing Officer: Kaitleigh Booth
Research Development: Samantha Treadwell
Manufacture: Taylor Mitchell
Sales Manager: Toi Tennessee


For more information about Free Enterprise at the Baugh Center, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/freeenterprise/.