New SMU Incubator Part of Area-Wide Emphasis on Technology, Innovation, Big Data and Entrepreneurship

by |

The focus of the gathering was technology, innovation, big data and entrepreneurship.

The development of a new SMU Incubator, which will offer SMU entrepreneurs a university location where they can turn their business ideas into reality, was announced at a media roundtable discussion that Dean Matt Myers hosted at the Cox School in April. The focus of the gathering was technology, innovation, big data and entrepreneurship.

This is a theme that we know is important to Dallas and the media,” said Myers. “We have received many questions as to how SMU and Cox will work with the city and Texas as a whole to create an economic environment attracting more technologically capable talent, more startups and a more entrepreneurial mindset. This is an opportunity to highlight our programs in analytics, IT, entrepreneurship, etc., and be able to tie this in to how we work with the Dallas Regional Chamber and private firms to build a more technological and digitally-oriented economy here in Dallas.”Cox faculty and staff participants in the roundtable discussion were Amit Basu, Carr P. Collins Chair in MIS and chair of the Information Technology and Operations Management department; Simon Mak, associate director of the Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship; and Hettie Tabor, director of the MS in Business Analytics degree program. Each gave a brief synopsis of the work taking place in their respective programs that helps meet the technology and innovation needs of the economy. Dean Myers also invited Duane Dankesreiter, senior VP research and innovation, Dallas Regional Chamber; and Susan Kress, executive director, SMU Engaged Learning, to participate. Kress shared information about the soon-to-be opened SMU Incubator, where students, faculty and staff will plan, produce and pitch their ideas for entrepreneurial businesses and products.

Kress explained that the SMU Incubator will share space in the Foundry Club in Mockingbird Station, across Central Expressway from the SMU Main Campus. Foundry Club is an international organization that serves entrepreneurs and business professionals by providing members with business space, concierge services and innovative programming. Because Foundry Club’s population consists of entrepreneurs and support teams engaging in start-ups, business accelerators, and investment groups, the shared location will provide networking opportunities for SMU entrepreneurs.

In a news release distributed at the roundtable, SMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Steven Currall said, “This new space demonstrates how serious SMU is about supporting the bold ideas we have coming from our students, faculty and staff at the earliest stages, giving them a professional space to interact with mentors, potential business partners, investors and customers. Our inventors and game-changers come from all disciplines at SMU, and this space will serve as a platform for the development of both profit and not-for-profit enterprises.”

Incubator membership will be available by application to enrolled SMU students and currently employed faculty and staff, and the only charge required will be $25 to cover the cost of activating an access card. Students who have won or placed in the university’s annual Big Ideas Business Plan Competition and/or the MBA Business Plan Competition, hosted annually by the SMU Cox MBA Entrepreneurship Club, gain automatic membership upon completion of an application.

The SMU Incubator will provide an established commercial address for members, allowing them to:

  • Develop professional working relationships with team members
  • Host company meetings with potential customers, collaborators, and vendor
  • Interact with mentors, advisors, consultants and other entrepreneurs
  • Pitch concepts to investors, donors, and other stakeholders
  • Engage with other entrepreneurially-minded SMU students, faculty and staff as well as Foundry Club entrepreneurs
  • Grow a professional network
  • Host group training sessions
  • Hold special events related to business interests

Below are links to some of the media coverage that followed the roundtable discussion:

Recent Plan Competition winner, StreamChain is part of a burgeoning entrepreneur ecosystem on the Hilltop. The StreamChain team consisted of three Cox MBA candidates: Sarah McKinnon (MBA ’19), Ganesh Natesan (MBA ’18) and Carl Sykes (MBA ’19). The MBA Entrepreneurship Club awarded the team cash and in-kind prizes intended as seed money and resources for StreamChain’s entrepreneurial research and start-up costs.