Southern Methodist University is adding to its slate of entrepreneurial offerings with a new incubator designed to nurture for-profit and not-for-profit startups.
The forthcoming SMU Incubator for student, faculty, and staff entrepreneurs from the university will be housed on the first floor of the Foundry Club, a coworking space at Mockingbird Station in Dallas.
“The SMU Incubator is the nexus for all of SMU’s entrepreneurial efforts that will support the intersection of SMU research, innovation, and business development.”
“The SMU Incubator is the nexus for all of SMU’s entrepreneurial efforts that will support the intersection of SMU research, innovation, and business development,” said Susan Kress, executive director of Engaged Learning at SMU, during a media breakfast Wednesday morning.
Kress is part of the task force putting together the new space, which is still in the development stages, but could be open as early as this summer.
Matthew Myers, dean of the SMU Cox School of Business, said the incubator is “long overdue,” on campus.
He pointed to a number of other universities worldwide that have incubators to aid in the launch and commercialization of research, new products, and other business ideas.
SMU Incubator will give recognition and help ideas born at SMU come to fruition as well as create an “ecosystem of entrepreneurial talent,” he said.
“It provides the opportunity for the faculty, students, the alumni, and the economy at large to work in a way we haven’t done before,” Myers said.
“Getting the right people together in a professional working environment can make a big difference, particularly for a student entrepreneur.”
Incubator membership will be by application and be reserved for SMU students, faculty, and staff. There will be a cost of $25 for an access card. Automatic membership will be given to students who have won or placed in the university’s Big iDeas Business Plan Competition or MBA Business Plan Competition.
Members can use the space as a physical address for their ventures and have accommodations for meeting potential investors, customers, and others who may help them in business growth. They’ll also be able to interact with other incubator members and members of the Foundry Club.
James Quick, SMU associate vice president for research and dean of graduate studies, said the space will be a valuable resource for networking.
“Getting the right people together in a professional working environment can make a big difference, particularly for a student entrepreneur. It’s too important to leave that to serendipity,” Quick said in a statement.
SMU has long dedicated programs to entrepreneurship. In 1970, it opened the Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship. Its associate director, Simon Mak, said it’s considered one of the first entrepreneurial centers in the world to be developed within a university. With the new incubator, he sees an opportunity to nourish the entrepreneurial-minded talent pipeline.
“We believe the incubator supports our strategy of recruiting more entrepreneurial students, faculty, and staff,” Mak said.
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