CULLEN COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING

University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering

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Opportunities for Engineering Entrepreneurs You Never Knew Existed

By: 

Audrey Grayson

Let’s face it: Houston is an entrepreneurial town, and the University of Houston is no different. In fact, over 3,500 UH alumni own or run a business, and 63 percent of all UH alumni live and work in the city of Houston.

The University of Houston works hard to foster and reward the entrepreneurial spirit of its student body, offering a variety of opportunities to students who wish to learn more about the business world. Moreover, the university is home to the Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship at the C. T. Bauer College of Business, which is ranked #2 on The Princeton Review’s 2013 list of leading undergraduate entrepreneurship programs in the U.S. for Entrepreneur magazine.

For engineering students interested in learning more about starting a business, taking advantage of the following resources could prove to be the key to your entrepreneurial success.

  1. Cougar Pitch (The Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship at the C. T. Bauer College of Business) – Let’s say you’ve already got an idea for a business, but you aren’t too sure how viable or good the idea is. By submitting your idea to Cougar Pitch, you can be selected as a lucky finalist who gets to pitch their idea (in two minutes or less) to a panel of business experts who will tell you whether the business idea is a worthy one. Two top winners in each business category can win cash and other prizes including free coworking space and mentoring sessions with Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship Associate Director Ken Jones. Cash prizes are $1,000 for the winner in each category, $500 for second place, and $250 for an audience favorite. To learn more about the Cougar Pitch program, please visit: http://www.bauer.uh.edu/centers/wce/cougarpitch/.
  2. 3 Day Startup Program (C. T. Bauer College of Business) – The 3 Day Startup Program challenges students to start a technology company in just three days. The program recruits 40 students from a wide variety of backgrounds and provides them with work space for an entire weekend as well as food and drinks. They invite top-notch entrepreneurs and investors to pick the best idea for a software startup during the Friday brainstorming session. By Sunday night, the team must release a minimal prototype. The goal of the program is to build enough momentum among a network of motivated people to sustain the company beyond the weekend. To learn more about the 3 Day Startup Program, please visit: http://www.bauer.uh.edu/3ds/index.php.
  3. RED Labs (C. T. Bauer College of Business) – RED Labs is a coworking space and startup accelerator at the University of Houston. The RED Labs program takes teams of students who have great ideas, gives them access to a space on campus, connects them to relevant mentors and resources in the startup community, and helps them grow their ideas into scalable companies that fill a need in the market. RED Lab mentors guide the startups through the process of validating an idea with customers, developing a business model, and building a product. The program lasts 12 weeks and culminates with “Demo Day,” a capstone event for each RED Labs cohort wherein investors and selected members of the startup community are invited to campus to view pitches from the RED Labs teams. To learn more about RED Labs, please visit: http://redlabs.bauer.uh.edu/.
  4. Entrepreneurship for Engineers Classes at Bauer College of Business – The Bauer College offers a special winter session for entrepreneurial engineers from December 26th to January  10th each year. The section number for ENTR 3310 is 19981. The section number for ENTR 7336 is 19983. For more information, please visit: http://www.bauer.uh.edu/centers/wce/programs/cec/.
  5. Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurism Series for Engineering Faculty and Students (Cullen College of Engineering) – This five-part series at the UH Cullen College of Engineering was offered for free to all engineering faculty, staff and students who were interested in receiving a crash course in the world or intellectual property and entrepreneurism. The series covered everything from the basics of starting a business (such as financing and venture capital processes, local resources for startups, and applying for patents) to the specifics of navigating the IP obstacle course (including infringement/non-infringement, invalidity/unpatentability, USPTO opposition proceedings, and tech specific IP rights).  Although the last session of this series took place this October, the sessions were so popular that the college will continue to offer them free-of-charge each year. To learn more about the last IP and Entrepreneurism Series at the Cullen College, please visit: http://www.egr.uh.edu/advancement/external_relations/ip-2013-registration.

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