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/.

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/.

Madi Smyser, Madi’s Munchies

“The joy of success will outweigh the disappointment of failure.”

-Madi Smyser


Me want cookie! ~ Cookie Monster

If we’re honest – really honest – we would admit that there is a little bit of Cookie Monster in all of us. And let’s be real, there have been times when, like the Cookie Monster, all we can muster are three simple words… me want cookie!

But what if you could squelch that cookie craving with a Texas Two-Pound Chocolate Chip Cookie that’s the size of your face?

Yes, please!

Whether you have a hankering for a colossal two-pounder or a craving for a more unassuming dozen, Madi Smyser of Madi’s Munchies can take care of your inner Cookie Monster.

Madi’s Munchies is a fabulous little cookie haven in Austin, Texas, that provides a respite for those struggling with an uncontrollable cookie craving. But what makes Madi’s Munchies different from any other bakery, aside from the obvious two-pounder? Madi, the founder and CEO of Madi’s Munchies is a 17-year-old who just completed her junior year at Vandegrift High School just outside of Austin. You read that right. The mastermind behind Madi’s Munchies and the gargantuan two-pound cookie is a high school student.

And it all started with a case of the munchies – Madi’s munchies. During the fall of 2016, Madi hopped into the kitchen to whip up a batch of homemade granola bars to pack in her lunch. With a little bit of this and a little bit of that, the end result was a mighty tasty bar. Madi wasn’t the only one whose taste buds did flips for the bars. Others liked them too. In early 2017, as any budding entrepreneur would do, Madi started selling the bars in her neighborhood.

But what do people like even more than made-from-scratch granola bars? Cookies. Folks really, really like homemade cookies…fresh-from-the-oven homemade cookies, to be more specific.

Madi adjusted her entrepreneurial focus to baked cookies. On random Friday or Saturday nights, she would bake and hand deliver warm, chocolate chip cookies to the cookie-craving folks in the neighborhood. And thanks to the wildfire, word-of-mouth effect of Facebook, folks actually started tracking Madi down for her cookies. It was kind of like a modern-day, viral Where’s Waldo hunt. Well, except it was Madi and not Waldo and instead of a “woohoo I found Waldo” it was a “woohoo I nabbed hot, fresh chocolate chip cookies.”

Madi was on her way to being a bonafide cookie-baking aficionado. She knew what her customers liked and she had a solid customer base. But could she do more? That was the $100,000 question.

In August 2017, Madi accompanied her dad to the Success Summit real estate conference where renowned real estate coach and speaker Tom Ferry was the keynote speaker. During a Q&A session with Ferry, Madi asked some general business questions concerning her cookie-baking business. Ferry provided some insightful thoughts, but also offered up a challenge. If Madi can sell $100,000 of cookies and other baked goods by the 2018 Summit gathering and keep up her grades in the process, Ferry said he would give Madi $5,000. He would give her $1,000 at the $50,000 sales mark and the remaining $4,000 when she hit $100,000.

The challenge was accepted.

And it just so happened, someone from Tom Ferry’s inner circle had a close connection to a producer for the the Rachael Ray Show. Madi took Ferry’s advice to heart and sent a package of cookies to New York for the producers to try. On November 9 a head producer of the Rachael Ray Show contacted Madi. She provided footage of actually whipping up a batch of Madi’s Munchies cookies and the segment ultimately aired on the Rachael Ray Show on December 4.

The accolades continued. A couple months after her debut on the Rachael Ray Show, Madi received second place recognition in the third annual Baylor Youth Entrepreneur Awards. Through this program, Baylor’s Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise recognizes young entrepreneurs from across the country and provides these students with an opportunity to network and explore options as they pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.

Growing a successful business so quickly certainly came with an array of challenges. In order for Madi to have the type of business she wanted, access to a commercial kitchen was imperative. She tried out a couple of different kitchens, each with different issues and idiosyncrasies before she finally settled on the one she is currently using. She had to decide what exactly she needed in a kitchen before she could choose the right one.

The next hurdle was finding the time and money for all of the certifications, permits and licenses required to sell baked goods on a larger scale. Prior to the agreement with Ferry, Madi operated business under the Texas Cottage Food Industry Laws, which allowed for baking to be done in a house. Madi could also sell directly to customers with only a Food Handler’s certification. Madi’s Munchies outgrew that, and Madi had to obtain a Food Manager license accompanied by other permits and routine inspections.

Madi’s Munchies are currently sold in four, local Dan’s Hamburgers locations in the Austin area. Short-term, Madi would like to get her cookies into more restaurant settings. However, she has somewhat broadened her vision. While the initial door-to-door, consumer based business model is what made Madi’s Munchies what it is today, Madi is seeing more potential with a business-to-business strategy. Madi says, “I want to build a successful business and continue to learn from it…every day.”

But the challenge with Ferry had two conditions. The first condition was $100,000 in sales and the second was to maintain good grades. Madi admits it has been hard at times to juggle her growing business along with school work. Afterall, junior year is certainly no walk in the park. Time management is something she is learning and mastering. Madi’s objective is to make the most of every single minute of each day.

Madi says, “Starting a new business is hard, but it’s so worth it if you really love what you’re doing.”

Madi loves what she’s doing and her customers love her cookies. It’s a win-win that even the hangriest Cookie Monster would have to agree!

 


2018 Baylor Youth Entrepreneur Award Top Three Finalists
Marshall Adams, Nishka Ayyar, Riya Gupta, Madi Smyser

2018 Youth Entrepreneur Award Finalists
Marshall Adams of Texas Snow Waco (First Place Recipient)
Madi Smyser of Madi’s Munchies (Second Place Recipient)
Nishka Ayyar and Riya Gupta of PromElle, LLC (Third Place Recipient)
Ryan Gabriel of KOLD Wear
Gina Marie Grieb of G&G Pressure Washing
Walt Horton of Blue Valley Fly Fishing
Will Penningwerth of Spark3D
Kyndal Sligh of Red Barn Genetics 


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

Ryan Snitzer, Campus Crates

“There are so many opportunities out there. You’ll never know if you can succeed unless you try.”

Ryan Snitzer


It’s moving time!

Three words that can conjure up just about every conceivable emotion within a mere minute.

Excitement – It’s a new home and a new adventure.
Nervousness – The unknown is, well, unknown.
Anxiety – There’s just so much to do.
Dread – Packing and unpacking are about as enjoyable as a root canal.

Rest assured, there are loads of online resources with tips and suggestions to make packing and unpacking less of a pull-out-your-hair-in-a-frenzy experience and more of a…more of a… Oh, let’s face it, you’re never going to have a lollipop and rainbow day while packing and/or unpacking, but there are tips to definitely make it a little easier.

TIP 1: Before you box up electronics, grab your phone and take a quick picture of how everything is hooked up and connected — BEFORE you disconnect.

TIP 2: Designate a different colored duct tape for each room and use the colored duct tape as a way to tape boxes shut but also as a way to label the boxes.

TIP 3: Pack the essentials that you will need right away in a clear plastic tub.

And the most important tip if you’re a Baylor student is TIP 4: Contact Campus Crates!

Never heard of Campus Crates? It just happens to be an incredibly innovative and ingenious business launched by a couple of Baylor students to help ease the moving frustrations that parents and students experience, especially with a May end-of-lease move.

Ryan Snitzer created the business with his previous partner, Ryan Robinson, during their sophomore year at Baylor. The idea of Campus Crates came about as they discovered the need for summer storage after having previous troubling move-out experiences at the end of their Freshman year. 

It was in that moment the two realized that there had to be a convenient, yet affordable, alternative for Baylor students. And as any Entrepreneurship major would do, they put the “had-to-be” thought to work.

The budding entrepreneurs utilized a stockpile of amazing resources within the Baylor Business School to make the “had-to-be” thought become a reality, and they relied on the guidance and advice of Mary Abrahams and David Reid. Snitzter also fell back on the example and leadership of his entrepreneurial father.  

The initial goal was to conquer the world of storage and moving – to be the McDonald’s of the storage and moving industry. Admittedly, it was a lofty dream, but over time they realized that a leaner and more narrow approach would help produce an initial success.

It was also understood that a rigid business plan would not work with the harried schedules of fellow students. Going into this venture with adaptable and open mind was a necessity, and ultimately the key to Campus Crate’s success.

Here’s how the Campus Crates on-demand storage services work:

  • Customers register with Campus Crates and pay.
  • Campus Crates schedules a time.
  • Campus Crates delivers boxes to customer’s front door.
  • Customer packs boxes at their convenience (see tips 1-3 to make it easier).
  • Campus Crates stores belongings in a secure facility during the summer.
  • Campus Crates returns belongings to customer in the fall.

Campus Crates has moved out and stored over 200 students belongings in less than two years. That means Campus Crates has saved 200 students from the pull-out-your-hair-in-a-frenzy packing and/or unpacking experience and maybe, just maybe, also helped those students have a lollipop and rainbow day.

Snitzter says, “If you don’t create that product or service, someone else will.”

Students all over campus are mighty glad that “had-to-be” thought of an easy, convenient and flexible moving experience became an actual reality with Campus Crates.

Snitzer recently merged the business with The UPS Store in Waco and plans for the business to continue to assist students in moving, shipping, and storing their belongings for years to come. 


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