APPLICATIONS FOR THE INCUBATOR’S FALL CLASS ARE DUE AUG. 15
The Venture Development Center at the University of Texas at Dallas wants to be more deliberate in the ways it helps companies under its roof.
Through a new incubator program, which opened its application process Friday, the VDC plans to provide a more structured environment for startups to grow their businesses.
The VDC opened in 2011 within the UT Dallas Research and Operations Center building to nurture startups with ties to the university. Until now, there hasn’t been a formal incubator program.
Currently, about 15 companies use space in the facility. VDC’s recently-hired assistant director Olia Bosovik said companies can continue to operate in the coworking space, but she doesn’t expect all tenants will remain once the new program is launched.
“Some of them will graduate out of the space, so we can bring in new companies and some of them are perfect for the incubator, so we’ll put them into the program,” Bosovik said.
Bosovik, who graduated with her MBA in December from UTD, is no stranger to entrepreneurship. Her own travel startup, Travabond, took third at the university’s Shark Tank-style Business Idea Competition.
UTD is known for its research, but Bosovik wants to cement its place in entrepreneurship as well.
“We don’t just want to have students that will go work for somebody, we want students who are going to go hire somebody.”
“We don’t just want to have students that will go work for somebody, we want students who are going to go hire somebody,” she said.
INCUBATOR PROGRAM WILL BE MILESTONE-DRIVEN
In its first class, beginning Sept. 6, the Venture Development Incubator Program will accept five to seven companies that have an established customer base and are bringing in revenue.
“They don’t have to be profitable, but they have to be past just the concept and customer discovery phase,” Bosovik said.
To be eligible, at least one of the startup’s co-founders must be a UTD student, alumni, or faculty or staff. Candidates may also have an indirect affiliation with the university such as a commitment to hire UTD students and graduates, partnering with a UTD professor for expert consultation, or interest in using the university’s research facilities or intellectual property.
Once selected, VDC staff will work with companies to tailor a milestone-driven plan designed to push companies to the next level during the nine-month program.
“We’ll help [companies] see what they need — whether it’s mentors, access to advisors or board of directors, or capital,” Bosovik said.
In addition to office and conference areas, companies selected for the incubator program will have access to the facility’s wet and dry labs as well as other university equipment and spaces. There will be social events, regular meetings with mentors, and monthly workshops/panel discussions focused on topics ranging from grant writing to legal issues.
To encourage interaction between startups, VDC plans to spend $30,000 opening up the environment with more shared office space, new furniture, and a fresh coat of paint and decor, Bosovik said.
“We hope this new program will definitely change things up and help us have more companies that are able to grow…”
“We hope this new program will definitely change things up and help us have more companies that are able to grow, able to raise capital and able to get past the research, past their laboratory and get into the market,” she said.
The deadline to submit applications for the fall program is Aug. 15. Selected startups will be announced Aug. 22.
To learn more about the program, visit innovation.utdallas.edu.
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