Nathan Hennigh, Beba

“A failed attempt is far better than living with the regret of not knowing what could have been.

Nathan Hennigh


The really cool thing about the journey to entrepreneurship is there is no cookie-cutter path to get there. There are about as many paths to entrepreneurship as there are grains of sand at the beach. For some, the journey starts off with selling lemonade or mowing lawns. For Baylor student Nathan Hennigh, the journey started with selling avocados from his parents’ trees in his hometown of Inshupu Tanzania.

Nathan called Tanzania and Kenya home for most of his life. He was completely immersed in a world of entrepreneurship. All around him the locals would sell their farm produce or livestock at the nearby markets. He was actually inspired for his first “entrepreneurial gig” of selling avocados after talking to a few village neighbors at the market. After avocados, Nathan dabbled in washing cars and trying to sell local gemstones.

It was when Nathan was away at boarding school that he had his big break in entrepreneurship. At first he sold sodas and snacks out of his dorm room. He would travel an hour to Nairobi to find the best treats to sell in his little dorm room bodega. By Nathan’s senior year, he was able to secure a space on campus that gave students a home base to run a business.

Candy bars were the typical goods sold from the campus space commonly referred to as the “coffee shop.” Nathan had a bigger vision for the space. He wanted to spice things up a bit. First, Nathan gave the space an actual name – Teddy’s –  after Teddy Roosevelt, who is credited with building the cornerstone to the boarding school. Second, he arranged for deliveries of coffee and fresh produce from the local farmers. He even brought in fresh juice from a local producer.

But by the time of his high school graduation, Nathan had grown tired of the traditional school setting. He had no desire to continue collegiately. Instead he wanted to give some time to his passion for programming and moved to California to participate in a programming boot camp. After six months, Nathan realized programming wasn’t the passion that he wanted to follow. He found  joy in creating, problem solving and exploring new things. He found joy in his passion for entrepreneurship.

In October 2019 Nathan founded Beba with his brother. Beba produces handcrafted products in Kenya. Beba was born out of a need (and maybe a little bit of want) for a unique and functional backpack. That is, after all, the essence of entrepreneurship…see a need or problem and create a way to fix it. Concentrating on the purpose and quality of the end product, the brothers were determined to empower the local craftspeople behind the product. Nathan explains, “Too often the craftspeople of Kenya are extorted and left in the shadows. At Beba, we are intentional to recognize them and their talent, while also providing equitable pay.”

After much deep thought, Nathan realized he actually did want to continue his studies. He wanted to study business, more specifically he wanted to study entrepreneurship. Baylor’s Christian foundation and the fact that the Baylor Entrepreneurship Department is a nationally ranked program made the collegiate decision so easy.

Nathan is truly following his passion at Baylor and he takes every opportunity to soak up the counsel and expertise of his professors. Nathan shares, “The professors in the Baylor Entrepreneurship Department are here for our success and they truly want students to succeed.” He specifically credits Dr. Scheaf, Dr. Grumbles and Dr. Bradley for providing support, encouragement and understanding. 

Nathan will graduate in May 2023. Following graduation, he plans to go back to his coffee shop roots and work for Odeko, a company that provides tech services and vendor services to small coffee shops. However, Beba will still be on the front burner. There’s no escaping the entrepreneurial bug. Nathan explains, “You have to chase your dreams and do whatever you can to achieve them.” He continues, “It can be a little scary, but a failed attempt is far better than living with the regret of not knowing what could have been.”

Keep chasing your dreams, Nathan. Sic ‘em!


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

Gordon Daugherty, Capital Factory

“Luck happens when preparation meets opportunity.

Gordon Daugherty


It was love at first sight for Gordon Daugherty.  He remembers the day like yesterday. It was 1980, in a small Texas highschool when the first PC computer appeared in his sophomore math class. It was new. It was forward thinking. It was the future. It was Gordon’s future. At that moment, Gordon fell in love with computers. He knew then and there that his career would certainly have something to do with computers, with high-tech. That was crystal clear.

Also clear was the reality that attending a large college was not part of Gordon’s plan. Baylor’s relatively smaller student body, as compared to Texas A&M and the University of Texas, was a plus. And when the Baylor Computer Science Program started gaining national recognition, that all but sealed the deal for this small-town boy with big-time dreams. Gordon would become a Baylor Bear.

While at Baylor, Gordon spent two years interning at an IBM sales office in Waco. That internship led to a post-graduation enterprise sales representative position at the IBM regional sales office in Corpus Christi. After a ten-year career with IBM, Gordon shifted directions with a position at Compaq Computer Corporation’s headquarters in Houston. While Compaq was still a large company, it was considerably smaller than IBM. Gordon relished in his newfound autonomy and increased visibility into varying parts of the company.

Following his time at Compaq, Gordon joined the number two market share leader in the videoconferencing industry. The fast pace and the ability to “move the needle” with this significantly smaller company lit a fire within Gordon. A fire that would continue to draw Gordon to smaller and earlier stage companies. 

In 2009, serial entrepreneur Josh Baer teamed up with a group of fellow entrepreneurs and created a summer bootcamp style startup accelerator in Austin. After three successful runs with the bootcamp, Josh decided to open the first high-tech coworking space in downtown Austin. Gordon joined Josh on this new entrepreneurial vision. 

With a love for tech and a fire for startup entrepreneurship, this was the perfect opportunity for Gordon. Soon the entrepreneurs were delivering on their initial mantra of being the center of gravity for entrepreneurs in Austin. The high-tech and startup scene that was rampant in Austin in 2012 and 2013 played to their advantage as they introduced Capital Factory to the mix.

As Josh and Gordon expanded to Dallas, the mantra shifted to becoming the center of gravity for entrepreneurs in Texas. All the while, they were holding tight to their mission to help founders find talent, investors, customers and advisors. Gordon explains, “Everything we do has the purposeful intent of helping founders start and grow great companies.”

While there is an intentional across-Texas element to the mantra, beyond that there really isn’t even a five-year plan for Capital Factory. And according to Gordon, that has a huge impact in what keeps the company vibrant and special. Capital Factory continues to operate much like a startup, in that there’s always a plan, but there’s also always a go-with-the-flow alternative as new and unexpected opportunities pop up. 

When the world took a sucker punch to the belly with Covid-19, Capital Factory was impacted as every other business. There was an immediate focus on a pivot or transition to online interactions as a replacement to in-person. The emphasis was how to deliver value online for a business model that focuses on in-person interactions and serendipitous collisions in relation to the value proposition. With a little ingenuity and creativity, the team was able to create new and better ways to organize and operate.

Gordon often shares advice and best practices via a blog at ShockwaveInnovations.com. However, when asked to share a nugget of wisdom to aspiring business owners, he stressed the importance of finding the perfect balance of what one is really good at doing and what one really enjoys doing. Gordon is a firm believer that starting a business is a great way to figure out both at the same time. After all, some things you simply cannot learn from a textbook. You have to learn from doing.

And Gordon continues doing. He continues to foster a community where hungry, driven and passionate entrepreneurs learn from each other, celebrate together and even cry on each other’s shoulder. A community where entrepreneurs, mentors, investors and enterprises facilitate serendipity. A community that celebrates the unexpected opportunity with great abandon. As Gordon puts it, “The serendipitous encounter with a mentor, investor or prospective customer at Capital Factory could be the catalyst for extreme luck.” He lives by the well-known mantra, “Luck happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

Unexpected opportunities are always a reason to celebrate! #SicEm


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

Leigh Anne Green, Green Eye Associates

You should consider it a great honor
to share your God-given talent with the world
.

Leigh Anne Green


What motivates you? You know, that from-the-gut driving force behind all that you do. Personal motivation is different for each person. For some, money and title are a priority. For others, it’s recognition and approval that lead the charge. And others are guided by a fiery passion.

For Baylor grad, Leigh Anne Green, personal motivation comes from scripture. Specifically, Leigh Anne is led by 1 Peter 4:10, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

Leigh Anne has had a heart for optometry since she was a high school student. She feels that optometry/eyecare is a skill and a talent. She considers it a gift from God and she wants to give back to the best of her abilities.

As a University Scholar at Baylor, her classes focused on science, but she was still able to study English Literature, Religion and Music with her elective options. Each class playing an important role in building Leigh Anne’s overall foundation as a business owner.

A licensed optometrist since 2000, Leigh Anne served as an overseas missionary from 2004-2012. In 2013 she met retiring optometrist, Dr. Spencer Moore. Dr. Moore ultimately sold his practice to Leigh Anne and she was now able to run her own eye care clinic with the personality, service, care and excellence that her beliefs were grounded in. From that moment, Leigh Anne’s dream became a reality with Green Eye Associates.

Green Eye Associates is a comprehensive eye care company that is focused on honesty, excellence and a servant’s-heart spirit. With two optometrists specializing in family eye care, patients from two years old to ninety-nine have their eye care needs taken care of. 

In the very early days as a business owner, Leigh Anne was extremely cautious with her purchases. She was willing to roll up her sleeves and do what needed to be done in order to be budget friendly. She took care of the daily bookkeeping, cleaned, planted flowers, painted walls and even incorporated Wal-Mart and Hobby Lobby decor to create a homey aesthetic for patients. She created an equipment wish list, and each year she was able to add one or two eye exam machines to the office.

And as the business grew, Leigh Anne developed growth goals for the company. One goal was to serve as many patients as possible. She wanted the Waco community to feel welcome in her office space. Eventually moving to a larger location and adding on an additional partner doctor, Green Eye Associates is now able to serve even more of the Waco community.

Leigh Anne’s hard work and tenacity has paid off. The business is thriving with a happy clientele. In addition, Green Eye Associates was recently recognized by the Baylor Impact Awards with the Waco’s Finest Award. This award recognizes local, Waco businesses that exhibit the University’s mission and values. Leigh Anne says, “If your dream is inspired by God, and He has given you the talent to live out your dream, you should consider it a great honor to share your God-given talents with the world.”

A great honor, indeed. #SicEm


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

Antonio Cano Estrada, Heebe

Stay humble and always keep innovation at the forefront.

Antonio Cano Estrada


Who knew that simply folding paper into a bunch of fun shapes could be the catalyst for an entrepreneurial adventure? So maybe there’s a bit more to origami than just folding paper, but you get the idea. Baylor student Antonio Cano Estrada caught the entrepreneurial bug when he was just nine years old and had the genius idea to sell hand-folded origami animals to his classmates. 

Born in Cuernavaca, Mexico, Antonio’s family moved around a bit with stops in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, and finally settling down in Austin, Texas.  All of that moving didn’t stifle the bug though. In highschool Antonio created a website that helped students buy and sell their personal art, but it was during his senior year when Heebe was born.

During a conversation with a friend, Antonio learned that his friend’s “dream college” was out of reach because of finances. This sat heavy on Antonio’s heart and his wheels were spinning. What needed to happen for his friend’s dream to become a reality? And could Antonio have a hand in making that happen? This was all reminiscent of the folding and refolding of the origami to make the perfect shape. Ideas were all a flutter until Antonio noticed a neighborhood student asking neighbors for work.

That was it! That simple act of asking for work was not only a game changer. It was thee game changer. Antonio was no longer folding and refolding, he was now connecting the dots. Students need money. Students are willing to work for money. Neighbors need things done. Neighbors are willing to pay for services.  There needs to be  a reputable bridge that connects the desire to work with those who need the services.

Antonio worked with friend Luis E. Jaramillo Mosqueda and mentor Mauricio Malpica to create the genius that is now Heebe. In short, Heebe is an app-driven marketplace that connects students who are looking to earn money with members of their community who are looking for someone to provide services such as tutoring, coaching, dog walking/sitting and babysitting. Heebe essentially helps students by providing them with opportunities that get them one step closer to reaching their dreams, while helping the community at the same time.

Antonio brought Heebe with him to Baylor and continues to work on providing the much needed bridge between problem and solution. At Baylor, Antonio is a double major in Entrepreneurship and ProSales. He is a participant in the Entrepreneurship Department’s Oso Launch Program and continues to find ways to make Heebe the best possible bridge possible.

His advice to a student wanting to dabble in the world of entrepreneurship is to stay humble and to always keep innovation at the forefront. He says, “When creating a company or product, you have to be open to new ideas and constructive criticism,”  he continues, “that is the ultimate difference between success and failure.”

Keep on connecting the dots with Heebe, Antonio. #SicEm


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

Follow Baylor Entrepreneurship on Instagram at @baylorentrepreneurship.

Daria Rakitskaya, Instapreneur

“Create something that genuinely inspires you
to become a better person.

Daria Rakitskaya


Have you ever noticed that some folks just seem to have entrepreneurship flowing in their blood? Whether they are born into a family business or they simply have an entrepreneurial flair, it’s in their blood. For others though, it’s as if entrepreneurship just kind of sneaks up, grabs the heart and then changes everything.

Baylor student, Daria Rakitskaya grew up playing tennis in Russia. She picked up her first tennis racket at four years old and was playing in tournaments by eight. Daria had plans to play in the Olympic games and to later be a professional athlete. She even documented all of her tennis traveling adventures on Instagram and quickly gained a devoted following as a social media influencer. Tennis was her life. Tennis was her dream. That is, until…

It was during a tournament in Russia when the then high school senior met Joey Scrivano, Baylor’s head coach for women’s tennis. College was never part of the plan, but Coach Joey convinced Daria to make a visit to Baylor. Daria immediately fell in love with Baylor. She was impressed with the Baylor athletic department and knew she wanted to be part of it. So much so, she submitted an application to Baylor.

Daria was ultimately accepted to Baylor and played collegiate tennis her freshman year. Then that sneaky little entrepreneurial spirit started creeping in. Daria started to realize that she had an unrelenting passion for social media. She was confident in the skills and knowledge she gained as an influencer. As a matter of fact, she was pretty good at the whole social media thing. So, now what?

When Daria officially retired from tennis during her sophomore year at Baylor, she was ready to pursue her entrepreneurial dream. She took on the role of social media brand manager for the new, student-run Entrepreneurship Club, and she also launched her own business, Instapreneur. Instapreneur is a social media marketing agency designed to help influencers and business owners enhance and grow their social media presence.

Ultimately, Daria says she wants to create a space where people can grow and work together. She hopes to inspire other students to follow their entrepreneurial dreams. Daria offers some advice to students, “Create something that genuinely inspires you to become a better person, something that makes you grow and makes you happy.” 

So, entrepreneurship definitely grabbed Daria by the heart and didn’t let go. We think she’s Insta-fabulous!


For more information about Instapreneur, follow on Instagram at @instapreneur_smm.

For more information about the Baylor Entrepreneurship Club, follow on Instagram at @baylor_bec.

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/.

 

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/.