“What Starts Up Here Changes the World:” McCombs Hosts Annual Startup Ecosystem

Anna Canizales

Students and community leaders gathered to discuss entrepreneurship and promote student innovation at the annual Intro to the UT and Austin Startup Ecosystem presentation on Monday.

The presentation, hosted by the Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship, detailed classes and resources for students. Following the presentation, programs such as the Longhorn Entrepreneurship Agency and Texas McCombs Master of Science in Technology Commercialization gathered for the Startup Resource Trade Show in the William C. Powers, Jr. Student Activity Center ballroom. Sponsors of the event included TEDx and Austin Technology Incubator. 

“I want to see what resources they have for students looking to go into startups,” said business freshman Alex Yelverton. “I hope to take advantage of (these resources) looking forward to the next four years to pursue something I’m interested in.”

Luis Martins, professor of management and director of the Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship, explained the startup process and said the UT startup scene is a very impactful way for students to put their ideas out into the professional world. One of the main objectives of the Austin Startup Ecosystem is for students to network and find advisers in their areas of interest, Martins said.

“It’s great to hear that Austin is just coming out and being such a big part of the tech startup community,” said Frank Mendoza, CEO at Detecting Talent and a participant in the DivInc Accelerator Program. “I encourage everybody to jump in and participate. It’s an amazing ecosystem of companies and support that UT has available.”

Leigh Christie, senior vice president of global technology and innovation for the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, said Austin is the fastest growing metro area in the U.S. and this has caused many investors and businesses to relocate here. Christie said Austin’s commerce, innovative culture and affordability create a pro-business environment. 

The 2016 Kauffman Index reported that Austin is the number one city for startup activity, and that same year, the U.S. News and World Report said the McCombs School of Business has one of the top-ranked entrepreneurship programs in the world. 

“We teach students how to take new technology products to market, either as an entrepreneur or a corporate innovator,” said Stuart Bone, program manager at Texas McCombs Master of Science in Technology Commercialization. “(I want students to) keep in mind there is a graduate program here at the University that is specifically geared towards entrepreneurs.”