WBU, EDC Award $5,000 Grant to Magline Incorporated

PLAINVIEW – The Wayland Baptist University School of Business hosted its annual NexGen Spark competition Monday evening with two groups competing to earn a $5,000 grant. Magline Incorporated President Richard Green and Marketing/Sales Manager Carl Hartman were awarded the grant, courtesy of the Plainview/Hale County Economic Development Corporation (EDC).

NexGen Spark is a business accelerator program that pairs Wayland students with local entrepreneurs to develop business plans for potential or existing businesses. Sponsored by the EDC, the program encourages local business owners and entrepreneurs to submit their ideas for growth. Students in the program work with the entrepreneur to develop a comprehensive plan. The teams then present their plans before a panel of judges. The winning team receives $5,000 for the business and each student team member earns $500.

EDC Director Mike Fox served as a judge Monday night alongside local business owner Hari Kotaiya, Brandon Ahrens, vice president of Prosperity Bank, and Dr. Kevin Ludlum, vice president of advancement for Wayland. Fox said the EDC jumped at the opportunity to partner with Wayland to develop the NexGen Spark program.

“In a nutshell, this really is workforce development,” Fox said. “That’s one of the things the EDC focuses on. We understand that workforce development is a key to economic development success.”

Represented by Wayland students Claudia Lusk, Peyton Brown, Arial Martinez and Alex Pike, Magline is an existing business looking to expand into additional markets. Magline’s foliar technology provides a unique blend of nutrients with a proprietary carrier molecule to increase yields and reduce cost for crop producers.

The new plan focuses on expanding Magline’s offerings into more diverse agricultural areas, as well as landscape and reforestation markets. Through the student leadership, Magline has already entered an agreement with Wayland to test the product on landscaping. Throughout the summer, a portion of Wayland’s landscaping will use Magline while the remaining landscape will be treated through normal processes. The student group explained that Magline will focus on organizations such as schools to build its landscape business.

Green, who has been with the company for about 10 years, said the new plans will be vital in expanding the business.

“We’ve just grown the business and developed some new products along the way,” Green said. “We’ve got a really good product. We’ve got a leading edge product. We’ve just got to get it out to the market.”

The second-place team of students Tre Hinds, Tanner Solomon, Derric Trevino and Zane Welborn, represented Cratech and owner Joe Craig, whose business idea centers around a prototype of a machine that uses cutting-edge technology to transform waste into electricity and fuel. The technology could be used to reduce waste while providing an influx of energy to the power grid and developing fuel alternatives. The bi-products of the process can also be used in fertilizers.

NexGen Spark will return next spring. For more information on submitting entrepreneurial ideas, contact Dr. Charles Starnes at starnesc@wbu.edu.