The LAUNCH program at the Baylor University – Hankamer School of Business is giving entrepreneurs an opportunity to take on projects they are passionate about that also leave a positive impact on society.
LAUNCH was founded by Greg Leman, Ph.D. and Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurship at Hankamer in an effort to create an environment that will allow passionate entrepreneurs to take socially impacting business ideas to the next level. “To have a highly successful business, it must resonate with a lot of people, so it has to be doing something good,” Leman commented. “It needs to matter in the grand scheme of things.”
The LAUNCH accelerator will provide both new start-ups and established businesses with a range of services to help their company expand, including: networking with clients and experts, office space in the incubator, expansions into global markets, and live coaching. The incubator currently resides in the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaboratives (BRIC), where it has been since its opening in 2013.
At just four-years old, the impact of LAUNCH is already being felt in the local community. On of the incubator’s first clients, Associate Professor Mechanical Engineering Brian Garner, Ph.D., utilized LAUNCH to develop his company Chariot Innovations.
Garnerlaid the groundwork for Chariot Innovations in 2007, when he was studying the oddly-titled hippotherapy, which utilizes horseback riding to help stroke patients and others with conditions such as cerebral palsy and autism to stretch their muscles and improve strength. Wondering if riding a mechanical horse might have the same effect as a live one, Garner began developing a product called BearBack that could be used in hippotherapy centers. By working with LAUNCH, Garner was able to make connections that have now placed twelve BearBack units in treatment centers. Two Hankamer business graduates have recently joined Garner to help expand the company.
Whether in the fields of medical technology or higher education and more, LAUNCH is helping companies to make a broad and positive impact.
“The LAUNCH program gave me what I call the ‘thud factor’, the credibility factor,” said one LAUNCH client, CollegeChoiceToday Founder Rick Cochran. “If Baylor endorses this and is really willing to put you into the program, there is something of significance to what you’re doing ‘something that matters'”.