Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

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May 22, 2024 | Tom Ballard

U News 2 | UT at San Antonio launches SURE program to help small businesses

Saint Louis University’s New Venture Accelerator offers current students and alumni who have graduated within the last five years equity-free investments of up to $50,000 to launch their businesses.

From the University of Texas at San Antonio:

Local small business owners including a salsa maker, a therapeutic pillow creator, and a commercial cleaning service provider have spent the last few months getting help to improve their businesses from students at the University of Texas at San Antonio (USTA). They have come together as part of UTSA’s new Stimulating Urban Renewal through Entrepreneurship (SURE) program.

SURE, which began in February, provides unique opportunities for upper-level undergraduate students and graduate students across various disciplines to collaborate with local small business owners or entrepreneurs. This semester’s cohort consisted of five teams, each including a student, a local entrepreneur and an expert business professional who guided and mentored them.

Each team helped an entrepreneur set viable goals for their business and develop a practical plan to achieve those goals. The teams met weekly on Wednesdays for about three hours, tackling topics ranging from customer identification and developing a sustainable competitive advantage to addressing legal and accounting challenges.

Click here for more information.

From the University of Georgia:

At the University’s Tifton campus, the new Tifton Integrative Precision Agriculture Research, Education and Demonstration Laboratory will be the first of its kind in the Southeast to provide state-of-the-art collaborative spaces, top-of-the-line autonomous equipment, and job training for the next generation of agricultural leaders.

The $3.03 million project will include a working lab, electronic labs, and office spaces to increase collaboration among graduate students, scientists, and industry. The 12,500-square-foot space previously served as the Tifton Rural Development Center before sitting vacant for nearly two decades.

Last month plans for the lab were signed through this year’s bipartisan federal government funding package.

From Indiana University in Indianapolis:

Chia-Ying “James” Lin, a leading biomedical researcher and innovator, has been named the first Executive Director of the Convergent Bioscience and Technology Institute at Indiana University Indianapolis.

The institute is part of a $250 million investment from the university to advance scientific discoveries aimed at curing and treating diseases and improving human health.

“Indiana University’s commitment to the biosciences is driving innovative discoveries and lifechanging health outcomes for Hoosiers across our state,” IU President Pamela Whitten said. “With James Lin leading the way, the Convergent Bioscience and Technology Institute will expand IU’s role in central Indiana’s thriving biosciences community, accelerating the tremendous impact of IU’s transformative research.”

Lin, who will also serve as Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering, will assume the role August 26.

From Saint Louis University:

The University’s New Venture Accelerator (NVA), launched in January out of the Chaifetz Center for Entrepreneurship, offers current students and alumni who have graduated within the last five years equity-free investments of up to $50,000 to launch their businesses. In addition to financial support, the teams receive additional resources and mentoring from SLU experts. Recently, Saint Louis University announced its first cohort of four participants who will participate in a 14-week summer accelerator program, culminating in a Demo Day in August.

From The Pennsylvania State University:

Happy Valley LaunchBox powered by PNC Bank, in partnership with The Penn State Brand Academy, offered an all-new content creator-focused Digital TestLab accelerator program this spring.

The Digital TestLab: Content Creators cohort delivered social media and personal branding education specifically designed for content creators in the Happy Valley region. Justin Leusner, Founder of TDAY Sports, and Omar X. Easy, Assistant Athletics Director for The Brand Academy, co-coached the inaugural cohort.

“In the past, we focused our Digital TestLab programming on website conversion and digital ads,” said Elizabeth Hay, Jack White Family Director of Happy Valley LaunchBox. “But with content creation becoming a cornerstone in digital strategy, we’ve pivoted to embrace this evolving trend.”

The program consisted of five weekly sessions focused on topics such as knowing and defining a target audience, mastering content strategy, digital metrics and analytics, creating revenue streams, developing brand connections, and building a network.

From Johns Hopkins University:

Student teams from across the university competed for $45,000 in prizes at the 24th annual HopStart: Hopkins New Venture Challenge. Competitors began preparing for the event in mid-February by writing full business plans and receiving feedback from industry professionals.

Fifty-five teams pitched their start-up ideas, and more than 20 judges, many of them Johns Hopkins alumni, evaluated those pitches and selected first-, second-, and third-place winners in each of the competition’s four categories. The Pava Center for EntrepreneurshipA-Level Capital, and HopStone Capital sponsored additional prizes.

Kelly Schulz, Chief Executive Officer of the Maryland Tech Council, delivered the keynote address at the HopStart awards ceremony. Schulz highlighted Maryland’s dynamic tech industry and encouraged competitors to continue working on their start-ups and enter the state’s start-up ecosystem.

From the University of Colorado:

Now in its second year, the Embark Deep Tech Start-up Creator, offered by Venture Partners at CU Boulder, matches business minds outside the university with breakthrough inventions created within its walls and provides funding for those ventures. The application for entrepreneurs is now for the 2024 cohort.

Each year, roughly 150 inventions emerge from CU Boulder’s research labs. Some are spun out and brought to market by the innovators themselves, while many more join an underutilized pool of university innovations. At the same time, many entrepreneurs are searching for the newest breakthrough technologies to bring to the marketplace but lack the needed access and support.

Given that symbiosis-to-be, Venture Partners’ Embark brings together those would-be entrepreneurs and inventors in a unique way, says Bryn Rees, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation and Managing Director of Venture Partners. “Just because the university inventors didn’t create a start-up company doesn’t mean the technology is not a really exciting start-up opportunity,” he said. “We think some of our very best innovations are available and Embark is a way to catalyze that.”

To that end, Venture Partners has curated a list of promising innovations with strong commercial potential from a broad array of scientific and engineering disciplines.


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