Tapping into SMU’s innovation ecosystem
Tapping business plan tips, a network of mentors and serious seed funding, startup-minded students aiming to transform their bold ideas into businesses get the edge they need to succeed.
Some students arrive on the Hilltop with a plan in mind. Others find that spark in a class, through a research project or even in a casual conversation over coffee.
When they decide to bring their vision to life, students can find step-by-step support. Across the campus, a multitude of experiential, academic and research resources provide a framework for entrepreneurial endeavors, while funding from grants and competitions get them off the ground.
Our network of alumni leaders, founders, innovators and creators stretches from coast to coast and across the globe. They’ve blazed new paths in tech, business and just about every other sector of the economy. As mentors, they provide guidance, share expertise, generate opportunities and cheer on students finding new ways to make an impact on the world.
Turning a brainstorm into a real business
Raleigh Dewan ’23
Raleigh Dewan ’23 took two things he was passionate about and put them together: Fighting human trafficking and brewing tea.
His company, Sister Shaq's Tea Company, is a packaged beverage company with teas that taste good and does good by supporting a mission to end human trafficking. Through the support and funds he received through SMU's Big iDeas competition and the Incubator, he is able to operate his business while still attending school full time.
Cox Graduate Entrepreneurship Club
Collaboration, connection and community are the calling cards of this campus organization focused on accelerating the success of entrepreneurial students.
Through undergraduate minors and two graduate programs, the Division of Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts prepares future managers, entrepreneurs and innovators for long-term careers in arts organizations and the creative economy.
SMU alum connects tech and beauty
SMU alum Courtney Caldwell ’00, a former international marketing executive, and her husband Tye, an award-winning salon owner, are shaking up the salon industry with ShearShare, a B2B platform shaped for the gig economy. They recently closed a $2.3 million round of new funding. Hear how they transformed an analog solution to an age-old problem into the ShearShare app, matching independent beauty industry professionals with empty chairs in existing salons.
Brothers and SMU alumni Stuart Edenfield ’07 and Curtis Edenfield ’09 envisioned a life of entrepreneurship after the Hilltop. After a decade of working for others in the world of aviation, they founded private jet charter company Thrive Aviation in 2018.
From learning how to run a small business in a lumberyard at the age of 4 to managing more than a billion dollars before turning 40, Lacey Horn ’04, ’05 shares her Mustang journey and expert financial perspective.