The National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) is working to support technology innovation and entrepreneurship at the University of Texas. Since 1995, the NCIIA has partnered with over 200 colleges and universities across the U.S. to create experiential learning opportunities and to fund successful, socially beneficial innovations and businesses.
The NCIIA works closely Student Ambassadors from each university it partners with. These students go through rigorous training to help them develop and enhance the entrepreneurial ecosystems on their campuses. Mariel Bolhouse, UT’s first Student Ambassador, brought the popular lecture series “Talking Startups with Michael Dell,” as well as many other events focused on entrepreneurship to UT’s campus.
Isaac Sanchez, a Presidential Scholar and Mechanical Engineering student, has picked up where Mariel left off and is UT’s newest Student Ambassador to the NCIIA. Isaac’s first order of business is to identify and promote existing on-campus programs that foster and facilitate the entrepreneurial spirit.
“Entrepreneurship is the design of the future. New creations and innovations are required in order to progress; it’s why I became an engineer and it’s the driving mission of the NCIIA,” said Isaac.
Isaac helped launch the Longhorn Entrepreneurship Agency (LEA) last year. The goal of the LEA is to engage the student body in supporting student entrepreneurs. Their first big success came during UT Entrepreneurship Week in March of this year.
The NCIIA awarded a Program and Course Grant to UT to fund its “From Idea to Intellectual Property” course. The class is being taught by Sriram Vishwanath and the director of ATI’s Wireless and IT portfolios, Kyle Cox. The aim of the course is to evaluate real UT-generated technology based on market potential. This will be the fifth year the course has been taught at UT.
“The NCIIA has a track record for supporting innovation and education on campuses across the country and we’re excited to be working with them to develop the next generation of technology entrepreneurs at the University of Texas,” said Kyle Cox.
Recently, the NCIIA announced its E-Team grants program, which provides early-stage support and funding of up to $75,000 for collegiate entrepreneurs working on market-based technology inventions. Students and faculty from UT are encouraged to apply; the deadline this year is May 10th.