The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship (CITE) was recently named an Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Site and will be funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
UTSA is the first university in Texas to be named an I-Corps site, which is meant to promote entrepreneurship among the technology sector.
The I-Corps Sites Program was established by the NSF in order to function as a dynamic component of the national innovation ecosystem by promoting research and guiding valuable discoveries toward becoming successful development technologies. In order to be chosen for the designation, an academic institution must have an innovation or entrepreneurial unit in which students may become engaged in and nurture projects that have the potential to transition into the marketplace, and to develop formal, active, local innovation ecosystems that contribute to a larger, national network of mentors, researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors.
“With the NSF I-Corps Site designation and a pipeline of technologies, UTSA will undoubtedly see a marked increase in entrepreneurial activity, successful technology commercialization, and a regional ecosystem that is viewed as a benchmark university model that attracts and retains the best students and faculty,” said Cory Hallam, director of both CITE and UTSA Chief Commercialization Officer and an associate professor at the university.
The first partnership established within the program is with Texas Research & Technology Foundation (TRTF), a non-profit organization dedicated to building San Antonio’s bioscience and technology economy. The two institutions will be working together in order to improve commercial growth of selected research and promote projects started at UTSA.
CITE was established in 2006, and ever since it has been working to foster the growth of new technology-based ventures and establish UTSA as a reference for young technology entrepreneurs. The center concentrates on creating a focal point for UTSA students, faculty, research, and education, through education, experiences, resources, and support.
Among the activities organized at the center is the biannual $100K Student Technology Venture Competition, in which more than 75 business partners and engineering undergraduates pitch new technology ideas to investors. Also held biannually is the Technology Entrepreneurship Boot Camp, a daylong intensive crash course on starting a business and the commercialization of new technologies.
To involve the local community, the Technology Venture Mentor Network recruits local entrepreneurs and business associates to mentor and support the $100K competition teams and other UTSA startups.
The center features two incubators, one for early-stage student companies from in house competitions and programs, known as the Roadrunner Incubator, and the New Venture Incubator, which hosts emerging technology and biomedical device companies.
With nearly 29,000 students, UTSA is the largest university in the San Antonio metropolitan region. It is also an emerging Tier One research institution specializing in health, energy, security, sustainability, and human and social development.