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Budding Entrepreneurs Benefit from HCC & UST Strategic Alliance

HCC LogoHouston Community College (HCC) and University of St. Thomas signed a strategic agreement to support both institutions common mission to educate and train student entrepreneurs who wish to start, launch or grow businesses and work together on the BOLD IDEAS Pitch Competition.

This partnership was originally formed by Dr. Beena George, Chief Innovation Officer at UST, and Dr. Maya Durnovo, Chief Entrepreneurial Officer at HCC who both signed the agreement formalizing their years of working together to promote social entrepreneurism to students at both institutions.

McNair Center logo“We are deeply honored and privileged to work with HCC,” Dr. Patrick Woock, director of the McNair Center, said. “This agreement brings together years of mutual development and moves our dynamic partnership forward.”

The agreement affirms that UST’s McNair Center for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship and HCC’s Office of Student Innovation & Entrepreneurship will to plan, organize and promote UST’s BOLD Ideas Pitch Competition as an annual collaborative project. They will also support one another’s programs and events and invite students/members to attend events and training.

This semester’s first event was held virtually Wednesday, Nov. 11, with UST alumna Ashley Martin ’13, principal with Leadership Lady, talking on the Soft Skills You Should be Learning NOW: Top Soft Skills post COVID.” This Zoom event for students of HCC and UST is available for playback on the McNair Center website and on HCC’s YouTube Channel.

Inclusive Entrepreneurial Education

Woock is a strong advocate for entrepreneurial education. “Houston Community College has one of the most diverse student populations and student reach in the Houston community,” Woock said, “and leveraging this partnership enables both HCC and St. Thomas to offer high-quality entrepreneurial education to large groups of people.”

Successful Fall BOLD IDEAS Pitch Competition

Bold Pitch Competition graphicRavi Brahmbhatt, director of the HCC Student Innovation & Entrepreneurship program, was encouraged by the BOLD Pitch competition held this fall. “This year we doubled last year’s commitment,” he said. “Also, we are proud so many of our students are continuing with their ventures post contest with the help of the McNair Center. Their new ventures contribute to our local economy, at a time when we are most in need for it.”

Brahmbhatt notes, “We envision the pitch contest evolving into a community-based incubation program with seed-funding for student entrepreneurs. We envision alumni contributing their time and mentoring, with the McNair Center contributing mentorship and funds towards UST/HCC ventures.”

Brahmbhatt concludes, “It is our vision to engage a broader group of students to build self and community awareness and inspire entrepreneurial action. We hope to see Both HCC and UST students work together, support each other, and build lasting relationships.

Our long term vision is a diehard commitment and embodiment of UST entrepreneurship for life. Many of UST’s CSB alumni have become successful business owners. It’s only smart to have successful businessmen as judges.”

Woock believes that “It is natural for entrepreneurs to teach entrepreneurship. Engaging the business community in our programs enables us to offer practical value-added benefits to our students. Our judges often follow up with the students and many mentor