UTSA is first Texas university named Innovation Corps Site by National Science Foundation

researchers in lab

UTSA laboratory

Share this Story

(May 28, 2014) -- The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship (CITE) has received funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) that will designate UTSA as an Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Site. UTSA is the first university in Texas to receive this distinction from the NSF.

The primary goal of NSF I-Corps is to foster entrepreneurship that will lead to the commercialization of technology.

Since its founding in 2006, CITE has been actively focused on fostering the growth of new technology-based ventures and establishing UTSA as a pipeline for young technology entrepreneurs. Under the direction of UTSA Chief Commercialization Officer and Associate Professor Cory Hallam, who serves as CITE director, and faculty member and Assistant Director Anita Leffel, CITE fuels the following entrepreneurial activities and infrastructure:

  • The biannual 100K Student Technology Venture Competition, which partners business and engineering undergraduates to develop and pitch new technologies to investors. To date, more than 500 students have participated in the competition and more than 75 new ventures have been pitched to investors.
  • The biannual Technology Entrepreneurship Boot Camp, a daylong intensive crash course on starting a business and the commercialization of new technologies.
  • The Technology Venture Mentor Network, which recruits local entrepreneurs and business associates and facilitates the mentoring and support of the $100K competition teams and other UTSA startups.
  • The local chapter of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs' Organization (CEO), a student organization that brings together the 100+ student entrepreneurs on campus and fosters their growth.
  • The Roadrunner Incubator, an incubator for early-stage student companies from the $100K competition and the entrepreneurship program within the UTSA College of Business.
  • The New Venture Incubator, which hosts emerging technology and biomedical device companies on the west side of UTSA Main Campus.
  • Partnerships with local businesses including Rackspace Hosting, Whittington Group, San Antonio Technology Center, Texas Research & Technology Foundation, Cox | Smith, Jackson Walker LLP and the 80/20 Foundation.

CITE's primary partner for the NSF I-Corps program will be the Texas Research & Technology Foundation (TRTF), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to building San Antonio's bioscience and technology economy. TRTF has a successful history of creating a collaborative atmosphere between innovative companies, universities and private research institutions to commercialize new innovations in the life sciences, information technology, engineering and other fields. TRTF has the resources, expertise and access to funding sources to help new tech companies accelerate in the marketplace, and acts as the regional gateway to the state Emerging Technology Fund (ETF), a natural next step for UTSA startup companies.

With the support from the NSF, UTSA and TRTF will be able to formalize a relationship that provides a well-designated pathway for the commercial progress of selected research and projects that begin at UTSA.

"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 Hallam.

The NSF established the I-Corps Sites Program in order to contribute to a national innovation ecosystem that builds upon research to guide the output of specific scientific discoveries closer to the development of technologies, products and processes that benefit society. Sites are funded at academic institutions that have existing innovation or entrepreneurial units to enable them to: nurture students and/or faculty who are engaged in projects having the potential to be transitioned into the marketplace; and to develop formal, active, local innovation ecosystems that contribute to a larger national network of mentors, researchers, entrepreneurs and investors.

CITE is an interdisciplinary center of the UTSA College of Business and College of Engineering that fosters the growth of entrepreneurs and new technology-based ventures through education, experiences, resources and support. The mission of CITE is to create a focal point for UTSA students, faculty, research and education that will open a pipeline for people developing new technology ventures.

For more information, visit the UTSA Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship website.