One of the leaders of Austin’s robust tech startup scene has relocated from the Silicon Hills to the Silicon Prairie to join the faculty of UT Dallas as executive director of the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Steve Guengerich brings a wealth of knowledge, connections and expertise from his more than three decades of experience as an entrepreneur, investor, mentor, author and educator. He has been a director and remains a mentor at Capital Factory, an Austin-based technology incubator and working space. As principal at Powershift Group, a venture development group, he helped launch companies such as Appconomy, Moxie and Nano Global. He has authored or published 12 books and dozens of articles about business innovation and information technology.
His arrival coincides with the grand opening of Blackstone LaunchPad at UT Dallas. The LaunchPad co-working space and accelerator helps the institute realize its vision of being the one-stop shop for assisting students, faculty, staff and alumni to launch new businesses.
IIE’s mission, Guengerich said, is about “enabling the next generation’s startups. By ‘next generation,’ I mean two things. First, the next generation of young men and women who we are educating at UT Dallas to become the future leaders in business, nonprofit organizations and civic institutions. Second, by doing our job at the IIE well, we will play a role in helping our students and others become the inventors and founders of some of tomorrow’s most important next-generation new businesses in healthcare, transportation, ecommerce or technology.”
According to Guengerich, small-business ownership continues to account for half of the U.S. economy. It is an expansive field open to more than just an elite group of risk-takers. An entrepreneur, he said, can be anyone with deep passion for a topic, the desire to learn and a willingness to try.
“Entrepreneurship isn’t just about the next Facebook or the next Uber,” he said. “It’s also about creating lifelong, sustainable family businesses that employ dozens or hundreds of people over the years, but that may never get bigger than a single location.”
In addition to his duties helming all the campus entrepreneurship efforts, Guengerich also will serve as a clinical associate professor in the Organizations, Strategy and International Management Area of the Naveen Jindal School of Management.
“With the IIE, every student, faculty member and staff person can connect to a full range of resources to educate, empower and equip them for success. We have a top-25 ranked academic program in entrepreneurship in which I teach, we have a brand-new co-working space and accelerator with the Blackstone LaunchPad, and we have a world-class incubator, the Venture Development Center, providing dedicated desk space, specialized facilities and commercialization services. My message is simple: come visit us!”
—Jimmie R. Markham