Wayland Unveils NexGen Spark
October 29, 2019
School of Business Seeking Ideas for $5,000 Entrepreneurial Competition
PLAINVIEW – Wayland Baptist University unveiled the new NexGen Spark program at a banquet Monday night with business leaders throughout Plainview in attendance. NexGen Spark is a partnership between Plainview, Hale County and Wayland to build businesses and entrepreneurial endeavors throughout the county.
Sponsored by the Hale County Economic Development Corporation, NexGen Spark will pair teams of students with budding entrepreneurs or existing business owners who have an idea to either start a business or build on an existing business. Students trained with the latest business theory will work with business owners to develop a working business model in hopes of propelling entrepreneurial efforts in Hale County.
The premise of the new venture is to have teams of students and business owners competing for a $5,000 cash prize that goes to the entrepreneur to help fund the idea. The student team will receive $500 per team member. The teams will work together to develop a business model, then present the model in a competition to a panel of judges made up of other business owners and entrepreneurs.
Anyone interested in competing can submit an idea to Wayland online at impactwayland.com/spark. Wayland business professors will then choose the best ideas for the competition.
Wayland students can register for the course, BUAD 4316, that will be offered in the spring semester. Students will get class credit for the course as well as the chance at a $500 cash prize.
Dr. Charles Starnes, associate dean and professor of economics, emceed the event and outlined the plans for NexGen Spark.
“As I’ve said many times, there are many good ideas,” Starnes said. “But none of them are worth much unless someone else thinks it’s a good idea. NexGen Spark will help develop that good idea into a marketable one.”
Wayland graduate Rodney Madsen, owner and founder of GermBlast, a growing company dedicated to fighting infection before it gets in the body, served as the guest speaker for the event. Madsen’s company was sparked with an entrepreneurial idea developed when Madsen, working in the healthcare industry, saw the need to fight hospital associated infections. Madsen and his team developed a cleaning technique that is used by hospitals and schools to eradicate germs.
“I attribute a lot of what I have learned about entrepreneurship to what I learned at Wayland,” Madsen said.
Madsen said it was the hands-on learning environment at Wayland that changed the way he viewed education. Coming from a bad experience with another school, he said Wayland welcomed him.
“I transferred to Wayland and they began to transform the way I thought about education,” Madsen said. “I saw how important education is to an entrepreneur. It’s not a must-have; the school of hard knocks is pretty good as well, but this type of program, this NexGen program…it’s an opportunity to really see how things work in the real world.”
For more information about NexGen Spark, contact the School of Business at Wayland at 806-291-1020.