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Women's entrepreneurship program coming to Texas State

By Alec Jennings
University News Service
August 28, 2009

The ACTiVATE program will recruit and train experienced women in the fields of technology and business to license university technologies and launch companies. Experienced entrepreneurs will lead the competitive year-long program. 

Participants will gain entrepreneurship and business instruction, mentoring, skills development, networking and regional resources. The program will operate with the ultimate goal of combining the participant's business and technology management experience and engage them in regional support programs to successfully launch their companies. Furthermore, with partial funding through a grant from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, the program will showcase technology from Texas universities. 

Terry Golding, director of the Center for Research Commercialization which sponsors ACTiVATE alongside the Small Business Development Center and the McCoy College of Business, said the program is one element in Texas State's goal of increasing entrepreneurship in technological industries for under-represented communities within the San Marcos region and the Austin-San Antonio corridor. Although men can also apply to the program and it is open to the public, women, in particular, are the focus of ACTiVATE.

"A focus on a program that serves women is a good compliment to our other efforts to increase representation from other under-represented groups in technology entrepreneurship," Golding said. "We want to encourage participation from women in the fields of business and science."

Though the program will be new to Texas State, it has proven successful elsewhere in bringing women into technology, business and entrepreneurship. Originally initiated at the University of Maryland-Baltimore, ACTiVATE has historically launched between three to five companies a year within the past five years. That program's success as well as feedback from the local community led the university to bring the program to Texas State.

"It has been successful there," said Billy C. Covington, associate vice president for research and federal relations. "Based on our initial feedback from individuals approached in our area, there appears to be considerable interest in the program."

The ACTiVATE program is lead by Terry Chase Hazell, an experienced biotech entrepreneur. Hazell instructed for two years at the Maryland ACTiVATE program.

"In Maryland ACTiVATE, I've helped women license technologies and start companies," Hazell said. "With the support of Texas State and the Emerging Technology Fund grant, we're going to help women start technology companies in Texas. Interested women should apply--we can help them launch."

The program is currently recruiting for October and January classes. Individuals interested in participating in the program or Texas universities interested in showcasing their technology should call (512) 245-6038, email ACTiVATE@txstate.edu or visit the Website at www.txstate.edu/ACTiVATE.