TCU and Cowtown Angels Win Global Entrepreneurship Award

The yearly awards honor the top entrepreneurship centers and programs in the world—this year, excellence in entrepreneurial and innovative teaching went to the Cowtown Angels Fellows program at TCU’s Neely Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

The Cowtown Angels Fellows program at TCU’s Neely Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation has received the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers’ 2019 Excellence in Entrepreneurship Teaching and Pedagogical Innovation Award.

The program places TCU MBA students into the angel investment world, where they’re to perform due diligence on startups and provide analytical support to the Cowtown Angels investment group.

“MBAs want to be in the room, doing the deep dives, making recommendations and getting their voices heard as they learn. The investors welcome their meticulous assistance, interest and insights. It’s a powerful partnership that benefits everyone, including the entrepreneurs,” said Les Kreis, founding member of Cowtown Angels and managing principal at Steelhead Capital Management. Kreis is also a graduate of TCU’s undergrad business school.

Since 2013, 16 TCU MBAs have participated in the program. Two students were even then recruited for 18-month Cowtown Angels fellowships.

The Fellows Program has a two-tiered approach that combines academics and experiential learning.

The first tier is an academic course called “Entrepreneurial Capital,” which dives into venture capital from both the investor and entrepreneur perspectives. Tier two puts participants in the driver’s seat as angel investors for the Bill Shaddock Seed Fund, a TCU Neely endowed fund investing in student ventures. After completing both tiers participants are eligible to apply to become Cowtown Angels Fellows.

As angel investors, program participants handle every aspect of taking uncovering startups worthy of seed investment from reviewing applications to due diligence and pitch practice for selected startups to term sheet negotiation and funding for the winning startups.

“This is an exclusive opportunity for TCU MBAs to become deeply engaged with a diverse group of experienced investors as they evaluate early stage ventures for possible investment,” said Rodney D’Souza, director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the Davis Family Entrepreneur-in-Residence at TCU Neeley. 

The Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Center award was presented to D’Souza at its conference in Stockholm.

“The GCEC Awards honor the top entrepreneurship centers and programs in the world,” said Holly DeArmond, chair of the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland and a judge for the GCEC Awards. “Those who win have proven to the judges through their thorough submission that they are the most innovative in the particular category.”

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