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The Startup Journey: Phase 3

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So I’m beginning to wonder if entrepreneurs run the world.…let’s keep looking at that. The entrepreneurial journey can be broken into four main categories: theoretical development, idea to launch, launch to growth and the innovative mindset. Over the past and next few weeks, I continue to walk you through the life that is entrepreneurship through four phases and then tie in UT Dallas academic and nonacademic programs in order to show you what the University has to offer; you don’t even have to leave campus, yet!

Launch to Growth

So, you’ve launched a business. You are kind of a big deal; am I right? Great, so you’ve proven you can build a product, write code or offer a service. Can you scale it? Can you build a team? Can you convince someone besides your roommate and your mom to buy your offering? Let’s look at how you take this thing to the next level. The reality is that growing a business is extremely difficult and requires significant time, resources, skills and a big network. The entrepreneurial journey is long and painful, and at the end sometimes you’ve changed the world. A good friend of mine likes to say that entrepreneurs are the only people crazy enough to work 80 hours a week so they don’t have to work 40 hours a week for someone else. Congrats, that’s you! No one ever said entrepreneurs are the smartest people in the room.

Each year, UT Dallas works with more than 20 startups that have launched through our programs or through research by faculty. About six years ago, we launched an incubator on campus called the Venture Development Center (VDC) that is designed to host, support and grow these businesses for a period of time before they go out into the real world (as in paying large sums of money for rent at mediocre office buildings). The VDC offers two distinct programs designed to support the transition from launch to growth and assist entrepreneurs at the next level. The Venture Development Incubator Program (VDIP) is a 12-month competitive program in which student, faculty, and alumni startups are eligible to rent office space (free for students), work with the VDC team to develop a formal roadmap based on nine key areas of your concept, access content through the Entrepreneurial Development Series and work with assigned mentors to help grow your business. Each fall and spring, applicants are accepted based on having launched their business, developed a clear plan for go-to-market and have begun building their scalable product or solution.

In addition to the VDIP, the VDC offers the VAS. Does that make sense? The Venture Development Center also offers a robust Venture Advisory Services (VAS) program that connects launching and launched businesses with mentors and discounted services, such as legal, Web, branding and accounting. A new program under the VAS is mentor office hours. Beginning in October, students and faculty may sign up for a one-on-one mentor session at the Venture Development Center with one or more of the 15 mentors who offer their time free of charge.

To learn more about these programs, sign up for a mentor office hours appointment or apply for the incubator program, visit the Venture Development Center website.

Jeremy Vickers

Jeremy Vickers is the executive director of the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, where he leads a team focused on cross-campus startup activity and entrepreneurship curriculum. Prior to his arrival at UT Dallas, Jeremy was at the Dallas Regional Chamber from 2011 to 2015 as the vice president of innovation. He led strategy and program implementation to support building the North Texas innovation ecosystem. Read more articles

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