Two-Day Spark Conference Showcases Innovation and Entrepreneurship

$200,000 in funding is available for teams that present to experts and investors

LUBBOCK, TX (NEWS RELEASE) - The Texas Tech University Innovation Hub at Research Park will host The Spark Conference on April 27-28 to connect investors, inventors and industry professionals all in one location.

Texas Tech student Gage Dutkin, president of the Texas Tech Collegiate Entrepreneurship Organization (Tech CEOs), is excited to spread the entrepreneur spirit. His company, C-Safe, uses technology to prevent the deaths of children left in hot cars.

“I believe The Spark Conference is the best opportunity for entrepreneurs to launch their startups because it connects us to investors, mentors and industry professionals and provides us with the framework to develop a successful business plan and presentation,” he said.

In addition to the networking opportunities, startups also have a chance to earn funding. A total of $200,000 will be awarded over the two days to teams and startups that present to industry experts and investor panels.

Scheduled events include:
Thursday (April 27)

  • 12:30-4 p.m.: iLaunch Competition – Startups pitch for funding in Texas Tech’s own “Shark Tank.”
  • 4-5:45 p.m.: Global Laboratory for Energy Asset Management and Manufacturing (GLEAMM) Poster Showcase – Students and faculty display cyber security, next generation renewable energy and energy conservation technology.
  • 4-5:45 p.m.: Lightning Round Reception – Elevator pitches from startups for audience votes.
  • 6-7:30 p.m.: National Academy of Inventors (NAI) Dinner – Texas Tech honors all inventors with patents at Texas Tech and in our community.

Friday (April 28)

  • 8:30 a.m.-noon: Spark Fund Presentations – Students and faculty pitch for phase 2 funding on cyber security, next generation renewable energy and energy conservation technology.
  • 10 a.m.-noon: GLEAMM Poster Showcase – Students and faculty display cyber security, next generation renewable energy and energy conservation technology.
  • 12:15-1 p.m.: Keynote speaker and lunch – Keynote by Wesley Rhodes, who works for IBM as the chief technology officer for sensemaking, director of the Network Science Research Center and an executive cybersecurity architect with the Cognitive and Cloud computing group.
  • 1-2 p.m.: Awards Ceremony: Participants can meet the winners.


The conference is free and open to the public. The NAI dinner is by invitation only and registration is required for the lunch as space is limited. More information and event registration are available on the Innovation Hub’s website.

The Innovation Hub at Research Park and its partners, including, the Texas Tech Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering, the Texas Tech Rawls College of Business, the Texas Tech Office of the Chancellor, Lubbock Economic Development Alliance, Lubbock Chamber of Commerce, Office of Research Commercialization, Dickenson Wright, the Texas Tech Office of the President and Chalker Flores, LLP, are supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

(News release from Texas Tech)


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