Spark officially opens for business

May 30, 2014

PLAINVIEW -- Wayland Baptist University and the Plainview Chamber of Commerce cut the ribbon on the Spark Business Accelerator program Friday morning.

Developed by Wayland’s School of Business, the Spark Business Accelerator is designed to assist budding entrepreneurs in developing their business ideas. The Spark offices are located at 1812 B West 5th Street in Plainview.

Dr. Charles Starnes, associate dean of the School of Business at Wayland, said the services are open to anyone who is interested in pursuing a business idea, but might not understand the process involved or the steps to take in order to get started.

“Everyone has a great idea,” Starnes said. “The problem is somebody else has to think it is a great idea in order for that idea to generate revenue. We want to try to find out what ideas have a chance to work in the market place.”

Linda Morris, executive director of the Plainview Chamber of Commerce, said they have had many people visit the chamber office with good business ideas, but didn’t know how to start the process. She said take advantage of Spark’s offerings will be a benefit to the community.

“We are excited,” Morris said. “Not only because the program is here, but because they are next door to us.”

The Spark offices are located across from the Chamber offices, on the other side of KFC.

Starnes explained that Wayland President Dr. Paul Armes came up with the original idea after the closure of Cargill Meat Solutions. Once Armes shared the idea, Starnes and the School of Business began researching the possibility with help from the Chamber of Commerce and other organizations.

As it is designed, the Business Accelerator will provide a place for entrepreneurs to discuss and research ideas, develop business plans and business models, and determine whether or not their ideas will be profitable in the existing marketplace. Spark will provide office space, as well as rooms where ideas can be discussed with other entrepreneurs. A nominal fee will be charged to cover operational costs for use of the space.

“The idea is to have about a 3- to 6-month program to help get those [entrepreneurial ideas] started,” Starnes said. “Hopefully in that time, it will be realized whether or not that idea has the ability to gain traction in the marketplace.”

Dr. Armes said this partnership is a prime example of how the school and the community need each other, and how the two can work together to enhance business and education opportunities in Plainview.

“We are proud to bring students to Wayland Plainview and immerse them in the culture and context of this community,” Armes said. “We believe Plainview has great days ahead, and we believe this is one small way of helping folks to dream and to realize those dreams.”

Anyone interested in more information or in taking advantage of Spark’s offerings can call the offices at 806-213-7775 or email