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Institute’s New Partnerships Widen the Way for University Entrepreneurs
Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Joins Forces with Two Startup Programs, Think Tank
April 8, 2019
The Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UT Dallas regularly hosts meetups for students to interact with mentors. Chris Wilkes (left), president and CEO of Enginsoft USA, talked to students at a recent event. New partnerships are helping give students more opportunities to get their startups off the ground.
Students at The University of Texas at Dallas with a desire to be entrepreneurs now have the opportunity to engage mentors, access workspaces and accelerate the launch of their products, thanks to new partnerships with two startup accelerator programs and a technology think tank.
The UT Dallas Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship announced in March that it has partnered with Capital Factory, an early stage tech investor. UT Dallas students and alumni with a tech-related product or service idea are encouraged to apply for co-working privileges and mentor network access at Capital Factory.
The partnership marks the latest in a series of formalized relationships that the institute has entered into with the goal of elevating the University’s role in entrepreneur-driven economic development in North Texas and beyond.
In February, the institute announced its founding partner role in the Dallas Entrepreneur Center (DEC) Network’s Innov8te Smart Cities Incubator. And in January, UT Dallas became the first university in the U.S. to join the Blockchain Research Institute (BRI).
“Great startup ventures are the result of countless hours and tireless support of many people. They start with the core team of founders and advisors, which is where UT Dallas plays its role. But in addition, success requires savvy investors, experienced mentors and enthusiastic partners — bringing the very best that a region or industry has to offer to aid the startup. That’s our motivation for the BRI, Capital Factory and Innov8te partnerships.”
“Great startup ventures are the result of countless hours and tireless support of many people,” said Steve Guengerich, executive director of the institute. “They start with the core team of founders and advisors, which is where UT Dallas plays its role. But in addition, success requires savvy investors, experienced mentors and enthusiastic partners — bringing the very best that a region or industry has to offer to aid the startup. That’s our motivation for the BRI, Capital Factory and Innov8te partnerships.”
The relationship with Capital Factory will accelerate to market the products and services of ventures founded by members of the UT Dallas community, said Guengerich, also a clinical associate professor of management in the Naveen Jindal School of Management.
A limited number of individual and team co-working memberships to Capital Factory’s location in the Uptown district of Dallas are available to UT Dallas students and qualified alumni, faculty and staff — regardless of their school or degree. New cohorts are admitted monthly.
“UT Dallas was one of the first places I visited when I toured Dallas for the first time, and I was impressed,” said Joshua Baer, Capital Factory founder and CEO. “The strength of its student body and faculty — from the business school to engineering to computer science to life sciences — was exceptional, as was its shared entrepreneurial mission. We’ve already invested in more than one UT Dallas alumni company, and I expect to see that number continue to grow.”
Blockchain Research Institute
An independent, global think tank headquartered in Toronto, the BRI works to identify the strategic implications and opportunities of blockchain for business, government and society. Blockchain is a digital, public ledger that records online transactions and serves as the core technology for cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.
Alex Tapscott, BRI co-founder and co-author of Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies Is Changing the World, will serve as a distinguished visiting scholar and adjunct professor at UT Dallas.
Faculty members and students will have opportunities to participate in live webinars with global experts. Dr. Zhiqiang (Eric) Zheng, professor of information systems in the Jindal School, is the lead researcher involved from UT Dallas.
“Welcoming UT Dallas to our membership helps the BRI’s multimillion-dollar research program support not just the commercial or regulatory world, but academia as well,” said Don Tapscott, co-founder and executive chairman of the BRI. “We look forward to helping the world-class researchers and educators navigate the blockchain revolution.”
A grand opening launch celebrated the partnership recently during Dallas Startup Week.
Innov8te Smart Cities Incubator
In February, the institute formed a new partnership with the DEC Network called the Innov8te Smart Cities Incubator.
Located in the West End in downtown Dallas, the incubator focuses on smart city technology research and development for the region. Its mission is to support and highlight Dallas-Fort Worth companies focused on building products and technologies in areas such as data analytics and visualization, the “internet of things,” artificial intelligence and machine learning, blockchain and virtual reality.
Guengerich said UT Dallas students and alumni are increasingly proposing new ventures related to civic innovation, and the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science is a leader in the internet of things and other areas of smart cities innovation.
In addition to the institute, founding collaborators include AT&T Inc., Cisco Systems Inc. and Microsoft Corp.
“We are grateful for the cooperation of these leading companies and universities in the smart cities space,” said Alyce Alston, CEO of the DEC. “We look forward to bringing our collective expertise and experience in helping to accelerate startups through education, mentorship and community to this important initiative.”
About the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Founded in the Naveen Jindal of School of Management in the early 2000s, the institute operates across the University’s eight schools, with the mission of enabling the next generation’s new ventures. The institute also serves students at the Blackstone LaunchPad at UT Dallas and runs the second-largest student-pitch competition in Texas, as well as the award-winning UT Dallas Seed Fund.