Jindal School to Provide Help, Seed Money to 5 Entrepreneurs

Jun. 10, 2013

Dr. Joseph Picken

Dr. Joseph Picken, director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Programs, spoke during an event held to announce a new effort to help student entrepreneurs.

Wanted: Five entrepreneurs with great business ideas. The Naveen Jindal School of Management will provide office space, mentoring, education and up to $25,000 in seed money as part of a new Startup Launch Program.

The Jindal School is accepting applications – due July 1 – for its new Master of Science in Innovation and Entrepreneurship Startup Launch Program, designed to take entrepreneurs who enroll as students from idea to launch. The program will begin in the fall with five entrepreneurs who have business ideas with potential to generate $30 million to $50 million in revenue within five years. Each will receive up to $25,000 in seed money.

“The program will be incredibly useful to entrepreneurs,” said Dr. Sydney Smith Hicks, a Plano entrepreneur who co-founded DeviceFidelity with two others and serves on its board of directors. Hicks was one of 120 people who attended a May 24 event at the Jindal School to introduce the program. Dr. Hicks is a Life Member of the UT Dallas Development Board, serves on the Advisory Board of The Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, and serves on the JSOM Advisory Council, which she has chaired in the past.

“It’s enough money, if wisely spent, to file a provisional patent, to get a prototype, to find your investors, and to put a business plan together,” Hicks said. She said mentoring will help entrepreneurs avoid common pitfalls.

“There are mistakes that entrepreneurs make that are well documented, but entrepreneurs don’t know them because many have come out of large corporations or they are young and don’t have experience starting a business,” she said.

Dean Hasan Pirkul

Dean Hasan Pirkul made it clear the University will take no ownership of the businesses it helps.

UT Dallas and its faculty will take no ownership in the students’ businesses or intellectual property, said Dr. Hasan Pirkul, Jindal School dean and Caruth Chair of Management. He introduced the program at the May 24th event hosted by The Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at UT Dallas and 23 business partners. Pirkul said he wanted to encourage entrepreneurs to apply without fear of losing equity in their businesses.

“I’ve always wanted to basically work with the best and brightest out there and help them create corporations,” Pirkul said. “We want no part of any company that we will help. Our purpose here is to build an ecosystem in North Texas of creating companies and bringing academics and entrepreneurs together.”

The program builds on UT Dallas’ longstanding investment in entrepreneurship, which includes The Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship and the Venture Development Center, a business incubator for startup companies based on UT Dallas technology.

Dr. Joseph C. Picken, director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Programs and academic director of The Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, said the new program aims to reach out to entrepreneurs in the greater community.

Picken said it takes more than a good idea to launch a successful company. He said the new program will also provide students practical knowledge, which will includes refining the product idea before developing business plans.

“What we really want from this is to build a reputation and do a service for the community, and we fully expect that if we are successful at launching companies, they will with pride say, ‘I did this at UT Dallas and that will attract others to engage in our programs.”

Dr. Joseph Picken,
director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Programs

The professors  provide a wealth of entrepreneurial experience in how to launch businesses. “That’s the education part of it we can provide,” Picken said. “But enticing someone with a great idea to come into the classroom is a challenge because they really want to focus on their idea. So what we’ve tried to do is to give them a way to do both.

"We think we provide a unique opportunity that you won’t find anyplace else in country.”

Picken said that helping launch successful ventures will be the University’s best reward.

“What we really want from this is to build a reputation and do a service for the community, and we fully expect that if we are successful at launching companies, they will with pride say, ‘I did this at UT Dallas and that will attract others to engage in our programs,” Picken said.

The program is open to any entrepreneurs who meet the admission requirements.

“There are no geographic boundaries on good ideas,” Picken said. “We want the five best ideas we can find.”

Entrepreneur Corey Egan, co-founder of iLumi Solutions who attended the launch event, earned an MBA at the Jindal School in 2010. Egan said he’s glad to see the school’s new investment in entrepreneurs and a program that gives students hands-on experience.

“By combining the classroom experience and mentorship with dedicated time to solely work on your venture, it allows an entrepreneur to make it real,” Egan said. “Also, the fact that the school will grant up to $25,000 without asking for an equity position removes a lot of the initial reservations an entrepreneur might have about taking that first step.”


Media Contact: Kim Horner, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4463 kim.horner@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu.
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