By A-J Media Editorial Board Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Texas
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The editorial board at the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal gives high praise to the "Red Raider Startup", a program designed to help first-time entrepreneurs succeed.
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Texas
The world needs more innovation and entrepreneurship, and innovators and entrepreneurs need encouragement of their big, bold, life-improving ideas. That seems to be a fundamental operating principle behind Red Raider Startup, an initiative of the Texas Tech University Innovation Hub at Research Park.
The three-day program is intended to help first-time entrepreneurs move ideas beyond incubation and toward execution.
According to our recent report, participants can build teams, consider their potential customer base and craft a marketing effort for a panel of investors.
The ideas which emerged over the weekend included one that would ensure no more children died after being left in hot cars.
Another looked to enhance Apple Watch bands while still another idea centered on tracking the location of food vendors in real time so paying customers might be ready with cash in hand.
Braxton Manley and friend Grant Andrews are behind the thinking to make Apple Watch bands more comfortable and appealing. Their work began three years ago, and the product, Braxley Bands, is closing in on the $1 million sales mark. Thanks to skills they learned in Red Raider startup, they convinced Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban to try the product (in Mavericks colors, no less), scoring a celebrity endorsement earlier this year on the way to Big Deal status.
Cooper Williams, a 9-year-old entrepreneur, tackled a personal challenge of a different type, discovering that he was rarely ready with money when the ice cream truck came rolling through his neighborhood. "I hear the ice cream truck outside my house and by the time I dig for money, it's gone."
The result is an app called "Freez!," which tracks mobile food vendors in real time. He pitched the idea to NextGen Code Company and Flint Avenue Marketing, both of which call the Innovation Hub home, and learned the importance of another entrepreneurial skill: collaboration.
"Cooper was able to identify an everyday problem in the world and create a very practical solution, which is the goal of every entrepreneur," Jess Davis, CEO of NextGen, said in our story. "That is the very definition of creating value."
NextGen used its resources to help develop the app, and Flint Avenue Marketing provided its promotional muscle to the effort, and to their credit, both did so at no charge. The app remains in development, and the experience Cooper gained will no doubt be invaluable going forward.
"I love thinking and solving problems," he said in our story. "I want to show other kids that no matter how old you are, you can do great things as long as you put your mind to it. Keep on trying with whatever you do and just don't ever give up."
That kind of advice no doubt would resonate with Gage Dutkin, who put his entrepreneurial skills to work upon learning just how many children perished as a result of being left in hot cars. The idea, C-Safe, involves a pad in the child's car seat that connects to the parent's smartphone. If the pad detects the child's weight and the parent's phone moves beyond a certain range, such as leaving the vehicle, it triggers an alert that is sent to the phone.
Dutkin's concept has gotten great traction and is awaiting industry-related and governmental approvals. In the meantime, these are examples of the great ideas that emerge as a result of sound thinking and organized encouragement.
The sustained success of West Texas is largely a result of innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit. We appreciate the Innovation Hub's dedication to recognizing and rewarding these important qualities. ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.