CITE Named NSF Innovation Corps Site
The UTSA Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship (CITE) has received funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) that will designate UTSA as an Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Site. UTSA is the first university in Texas to receive this distinction from the NSF.
The primary goal of NSF I-Corps is to foster entrepreneurship that will lead to the commercialization of technology.
Since its founding in 2006, CITE has been actively focused on fostering the growth of new technology-based ventures and establishing UTSA as a pipeline for young technology entrepreneurs. Under the direction of UTSA Chief Commercialization Officer and Associate Professor Cory Hallam, who serves as CITE director, and faculty member and Assistant Director Anita Leffel, CITE fuels the following entrepreneurial activities and infrastructure:
- The biannual 100K Student Technology Venture Competition, which partners business and engineering undergraduates to develop and pitch new technologies to investors. To date, more than 500 students have participated in the competition and more than 75 new ventures have been pitched to investors.
- The biannual Technology Entrepreneurship Boot Camp, a daylong intensive crash course on starting a business and the commercialization of new technologies.
- The Technology Venture Mentor Network, which recruits local entrepreneurs and business associates and facilitates the mentoring and support of the $100K competition teams and other UTSA startups.
- The local chapter of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs' Organization (CEO), a student organization that brings together the 100+ student entrepreneurs on campus and fosters their growth.
- The Roadrunner Incubator, an incubator for early-stage student companies from the $100K competition and the entrepreneurship program within the UTSA College of Business.
- The New Venture Incubator, which hosts emerging technology and biomedical device companies on the west side of UTSA Main Campus.
- Partnerships with local businesses including Rackspace Hosting, Whittington Group, San Antonio Technology Center, Texas Research & Technology Foundation, Cox | Smith, Jackson Walker LLP and the 80/20 Foundation.
CITE's primary partner for the NSF I-Corps program will be the Texas Research & Technology Foundation (TRTF), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to building San Antonio's bioscience and technology economy. TRTF has a successful history of creating a collaborative atmosphere between innovative companies, universities and private research institutions to commercialize new innovations in the life sciences, information technology, engineering and other fields. TRTF has the resources, expertise and access to funding sources to help new tech companies accelerate in the marketplace, and acts as the regional gateway to the state Emerging Technology Fund (ETF), a natural next step for UTSA startup companies.
With the support from the NSF, UTSA and TRTF will be able to formalize a relationship that provides a well-designated pathway for the commercial progress of selected research and projects that begin at UTSA.
"With the NSF I-Corps Site designation and a pipeline of technologies, UTSA will undoubtedly see a marked increase in entrepreneurial activity, successful technology commercialization, and a regional ecosystem that is viewed as a benchmark university model that attracts and retains the best students and faculty," said Hallam.
The NSF established the I-Corps Sites Program in order to contribute to a national innovation ecosystem that builds upon research to guide the output of specific scientific discoveries closer to the development of technologies, products and processes that benefit society. Sites are funded at academic institutions that have existing innovation or entrepreneurial units to enable them to: nurture students and/or faculty who are engaged in projects having the potential to be transitioned into the marketplace; and to develop formal, active, local innovation ecosystems that contribute to a larger national network of mentors, researchers, entrepreneurs and investors.
CITE is an interdisciplinary center of the UTSA College of Business and College of Engineering that fosters the growth of entrepreneurs and new technology-based ventures through education, experiences, resources and support. The mission of CITE is to create a focal point for UTSA students, faculty, research and education that will open a pipeline for people developing new technology ventures.
Seven UTSA Students and Alumni Selected for Project Management Program
Seven UTSA students and alumni were selected to participate in Operation Career Launch, a joint partnership program between the UTSA College of Business and the Alamo Chapter of the Project Management Institute.
The recipients are Gerardo Flores, senior; Roy Guillen, senior; Matthew Hachman, senior; Jonathon Kulisz, senior; Jacey McCowan, junior; Eric Nunez, senior, and alumnus James Rogers, ’13.
Operation Career Launch benefits students interested in project management and fosters their professional development in the local community.
“Our chapter's mission includes making the project management profession indispensable for business in the San Antonio area and other areas of South Texas,” said Andres Bello, MBA ’06, the director of outreach with the Alamo Chapter. “So with that mission in mind, we believe that Operation Career Launch can effectively promote the profession in our business community while opening opportunities for college graduates.”
Students will receive a one-year membership with the Project Management Institute, as well as with the local Alamo Chapter. The Alamo Chapter will also provide the students with a certified mentor and will pay the fee for students to take the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) exam. The College of Business will provide students with test preparation materials, review sessions and diagnostic testing to help them prepare for the CAPM exam.
Business faculty member Kevin Grant believes Operation Career Launch illustrates UTSA’s commitment to connecting its students to opportunities for success. “It shows that indeed if you come here we will commit to helping you go far,” said Grant, an active member of the Alamo Chapter. Besides exam fees and test preparation, Grant stated that recipients of the program have access to “a vast network of project management professionals who can welcome them into the profession,” in addition to employment opportunities and professional development resources.
Bello hopes this program will expand students’ interest in project management. For the recipients, Operation Career Launch will improve their knowledge in the field and provide them with marketable skills to aid in their career development.
Leffel Trains Africa's Next Generation of Leaders
This summer, Texas has been host to 25 young African leaders for an entrepreneurship training course at UT Austin and taught by UTSA entrepreneurship senior lecturer Anita Leffel.
These students are part of the Obama Administration's Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. President Obama launched YALI in 2010 to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa.
Since 2010, the State Department has held 15 exchanges specifically for young African leaders and sponsored 1,283 sub-Saharan scholars through its educational and cultural affairs programs. This year, out of 50,000 applicants, the fellowship selected 500 fellows to participate at one of the 20 fellowship campuses in the country.
The training that these 25 African youth are receiving this summer is based on the Entrepreneur's Academy, a 17-module training manual developed by UTSA Department of Entrepreneurship and Technology Management faculty members Anita Leffel and Cory Hallam.
The user-friendly modules provide the background information, exercises and resources on the various components to starting a company. By completing the modules over six weeks, the YALI scholars will have completed a first draft of a business plan and pitch for an enterprise.
"It has been one of the highlights of my teaching career to work with these young professionals," said Leffel. "Their level of intelligence, commitment and business acumen is on par with our very best students at UTSA. They also understand that they are in a unique position to make a positive impact in their communities and countries."
Some of the fellows already have their own businesses and are learning how to improve or expand their current operations.
These young leaders and the businesses they are developing include:
- Sarah Ferdjani from Niger is making an impact on her community through TALOUA, a cosmetics brand made with raw materials sourced in Africa.
- Adepeju Jaiyeoba's business sells delivery kits to rural areas in Nigeria in an effort to combat maternal and child mortality.
- Tawanda Kembo is a Bitcoin evangelist, and his business makes it easy for tourists in Zimbabwe to book accommodations online.
- Dizando Mvemba is dedicated to helping train and support young computer scientists in his country, Angola.
- Absa Ndeye Gningué from Senegal is founder and CEO of a social venture, which provides high-quality, African clothes made by prisoners whom she gives a chance to reintegrate into society.
Leffel will bring the YALI students to San Antonio July 17-18 to pitch their business plans and meet with San Antonio business leaders.
Leffel is assistant director of the UTSA Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship and senior lecturer in the Department of Entrepreneurship and Technology Management. She received her Ph.D. in educational human resource development at Texas A&M University and a master's in education from the University of Houston.
She is the faculty adviser for the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization and Toastmasters at UTSA. Leffel received the Acton Foundation for Entrepreneurial Excellence Award for Entrepreneurship Education in 2007.
UTSA Project Management Students Receive Professional Development Assistance
The UTSA College of Business and the Alamo Chapter of the Project Management Institute have partnered to form Operation Career Launch, a program to help UTSA students and recent graduates launch careers in project management.
The Alamo Chapter of the Project Management Institute will provide 5-8 participants with a one-year membership in the Project Management Institute as well as membership in the local Alamo Chapter. Additionally, the chapter will assign a certified mentor to each student and pay the exam fee for students to take the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) exam.
The UTSA College of Business will support the program by providing exam preparation materials, conducting CAPM review sessions and administering a diagnostic exam to aid students in their test preparation.
This program is open to any UTSA student who has successfully completed either Introduction to Project Management (MOT 4143) or Project Management (MS 4333). Selected participants will be required to attend two Alamo Chapter meetings and contribute five hours of service to the project management profession.
Students can apply for Operation Career Launch by submitting a résumé and cover letter describing how this program will contribute to their career goals; and writing a one-page essay discussing the project management discipline and current trends within a specific industry of choice. All application materials should be submitted as a PDF by Thursday, May 1 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information contact Kevin P. Grant PMP, associate professor in the College of Business, at email@example.com or by phone at (210) 458-7101.
Prototype Labor Monitoring System Team Wins UTSA Technology Entrepreneurship Competition
Claresta Solutions, a team of six business and engineering students triumphed at the $100,000 Student Technology Venture Competition, presented by The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship (CITE). The UTSA students developed a prototype electronic labor monitoring system and wrote a business plan to market the technology.
UTSA competitors In Line Innovations and INI Technology respectively placed second and third in the business planning competition, held Saturday, Dec. 7 at the UTSA Main Campus. The top three winning teams receive a cash prize and in-kind business services such as marketing, consulting and office space totaling $100,000 to support the launch of their new companies.
Claresta Solutions offers the LaborGuard Monitoring System, which uses wireless technology to capture and track the electronic impulses created by the fetal heart rate and uterine contractions during labor. Capitalizing on advances in data processing capabilities paired with Bluetooth technology, the LaborGuard system was designed as a completely electronic solution. Claresta Solutions includes undergraduate business majors Somer Baburek, Margaret Mayfield, Servando Quinones and Alejandro Sosa, undergraduate engineering major Nolan Manteufel and biomedical engineering Ph.D. candidate Steven Solis.
Each competing team received guidance from an experienced professional within the San Antonio technology business community. Ian Clements, managing partner at Targeted Technology Fund II and CEO of ViroXis Corporation, mentored Claresta Solutions.
In all, six teams entered this semester’s competition. The additional teams included:
- Mind Controlled Wheelchair, which uses a wireless electroencephalography headset to control the use of a wheelchair. Student team includes Graham Cull, Tanner Daniel, Yousef Failakaw, Analysa Gonzales, Nathan Gonzalez, Daniella Lerma and Carel Long.
- In Line Innovations, which offers a way to locate water pockets within an oil and gas pipeline in order to prevent undesirable corrosive effects caused by acid buildup in the water pockets. Student team includes Samantha Block, Cassie Constanzo, Nick Goodwin, Robert Hampton, Kasi Holifield, Zachary Moses, Raquel Stark and Nick Taylor.
- INI Technology, which offers a hand-held mechanical surgical instrument devised to remove all or part of the uterus of a patient during a hysterectomy procedure. Student team includes Cellan Caverte, Ryan Garcia, Josue I. Cruz-Lambert, Anne Margaret, Adolfo Mijares, Pablo Pardo, Rani Putri and Ta’Mara Williams.
- Trench Winch, a towable trenching device that attaches behind a riding lawnmower. Student team includes Clark Carpenter, Frank Duran, Efrem Holley, Garth Morrison, Eduardo Rivera, Kevin Schielack and Johnathan Vela.
- U-Cane, a device that enhances the function of the white cane used by a blind person by using ultrasonic waves to increase the detection of obstacles, particularly eye-level obstructions. Student team includes William Cochran, Moses Duggirala, Leonardo Espinoza, Ana Munoz, Cliff Paul and Ryan Waugh.
Established in 2007 and held semi-annually, the $100K Student Technology Venture Competition at UTSA offers the largest award of all undergraduate business planning competitions in the nation. It offers UTSA’s undergraduate senior business and engineering students the opportunity to build a technology, patent it, create a business and launch it in a rigorous incubator program.
Financed by the Texas Research & Technology Foundation, the competition also receives support from Cox|Smith, the San Antonio Technology Center, Rackspace, the Whittington Group, the UTSA colleges of Business and Engineering and the UTSA Vice President for Research.
For more information about the UTSA Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship, visit http://business.utsa.edu/cite.
MSMOT Degree Offers New Concentrations
The Master of Science in Management of Technology (MSMOT) degree is now offering two concentrations as part of the major. Students can choose to specialize in Leading Technological Change or Technology Entrepreneurship. The first concentration focuses on leadership issues and skills required to stimulate and manage technological innovation and creativity. The entrepreneurship concentration focuses on helping entrepreneurs bring valuable technological ideas, goods and services to the marketplace.
The MSMOT degree is an interdisciplinary degree involving faculty from both the College of Business and the College of Engineering. Offered by the Department of Entrepreneurship and Technology Management, the program develops technology leaders with strong management skills and a broad knowledge of emerging technologies.
Classes provide a living laboratory for solving management of technology challenges with team projects forming an essential component. Students learn from each other by sharing their professional experiences and expertise. Small class size and class interaction provide business networks for students. To meet the needs of busy professionals, classes are offered in the evenings. Distance learning provides students with the opportunity to participate in the learning process offsite.
Prospective students are encouraged to contact the department to learn more about this innovative degree program at (210) 458-5782.
Project Management Program Internationally Ranked
The college's MBA concentration in project management was ranked #31 in North America by Eduniversal International. The rankings were based on an 18-month survey of 12,000 master's and MBA programs in the top 1,000 business schools in nine geographical regions. The ranking is based upon three criteria: (1) reputation of the program; (2) salary of the first employment of the graduates; and (3) satisfaction of the students.
Established in 2003, the MBA with a concentration in project management has rapidly grown into the second largest MBA concentration. This degree program provides students with a solid business foundation and specialized expertise in project management.
Graduates lead many types of projects including software development, construction and new product development. Recent graduates have been placed with such organizations as Southwest Research Institute, the United Services Automobile Association (USAA) and City Public Service.
If you’re interested in a career in project management, contact the department at (210) 458-5782 for additional information about this major.