Business Accelerator aids student entrepreneurs

Kaely Holloway

The Student Business Accelerator, or Innoplexx, housed in the Center for Research and Development, has mentored, assisted and advanced several student businesses since its opening almost two years ago.

Innoplexx has helped in the creation of 22 student businesses, allowing the students to experience the successes and failures of owning and running a business in the real world, without all of the risks that come with it.

“What do you know about people who are successful in business?” Gordon Baylis, vice president for Research, said. “Often, they’ve failed at something, and they’ve succeeded as well.


“So why not give you guys the opportunity to fail or succeed in business while you’re in college. It’s the best time to either fail or succeed because you don’t have a mortgage, a family, so you can take risks.”

The accelerator works to build business ideas by providing start up funding of at least $500, space to work in, internet and business mentoring. They also assist in the formation of the company and help student entrepreneurs fill out the proper paperwork and information.

Douglas Rohrer is the associate vice president for research and development and one of the business mentors involved with Innoplexx.

“We help companies with formation, help (them) find vendors, support them and help with funding,” Rohrer said. “It’s easy now to start a company, and we show you how to do everything.”

Business successes vary, with some failing, some breaking even and some succeeding and advancing. JRAQ Marketing, LLC is one of the businesses that has grown and succeeded with help from the accelerator.

“We really wouldn’t be where we are today without Innoplexx,” Justin Raque, student and cofounder of JRAQ Marketing, said.

Raque partnered with his dad to create his business, which has become one of the more successful businesses to be assisted by Innoplexx.

“It’s an umbrella company,” Raque said. “What that entails is there’s an ITEX franchise underneath it, along with a business called”

Raque said that ITEX is an economy within an economy, acting as a trade and barter market place. The ITEX portion of his business has expanded its markets to Owensboro and Nashville, growing from the original market in Bowling Green. SensibleLiving is a website, providing coupons, information and values from local businesses, such as Griff’s Deli and Puerto Vallarta.

“My business mainly applies to small and medium sized businesses,” he said. “For a business that can’t really afford an advertising budget, they could use ITEX or, and it’s a very cheap way of advertising.”

The business as a whole is something Raque, as of now, is interested in continuing after college. Currently, his business is working on expanding to three markets by creating two new ones, in Owensboro and in Nashville in addition to Bowling Green. He wants it to continue expanding, building the website up and reaching more cities with ITEX.

“It’s a family business right now with me and my dad, so anything is possible with that,” he said.