After years of supporting university-affiliated tech startups, two Houston colleges are launching a new program to support small businesses.
University of Houston and Rice University have announced two new programs — RED Launch and BlueLaunch, respectively — to run alongside its tech startup programs. While RED Labs and OwlSpark are geared toward technology startups, RED Launch and BlueLaunch focus on small businesses. The programs are open to University of Houston and Rice University affiliates who are interested in starting or growing a small business.
"Since inception, RED Labs programming focused mostly on tech entrepreneurship," says Kelly McCormick, managing director of RED Labs. "A few years ago, we began to build out course offerings at the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship for students interested in small businesses.
"Through those courses, I saw incredible engagement and enthusiasm from students interested in starting a small business, but recognized the need for intensive support beyond classes," she continues.
McCormick says that last summer, UH piloted the first iteration of RED Launch with a small group of UH students, and now UH has brought in Rice to the initiative as well.
"This year, we formalized and will expand the program, and we’re teaming up with the Rice Alliance at Rice University to make the program even stronger," she says.
The two organizations have been working together each summer on accelerating student-run startups for about a decade now, and these new programs are just the next step for the collaborators.
Applications for the program are due April 1. UH Cougars can apply by clicking here, and Rice Owls can submit their application here. For 12 weeks this summer, selected participants will receive comprehensive training and mentorship, access to resources, and at the conclusion of the program, the opportunity to showcase their businesses to the greater Houston community. The small business accelerators will tackle business necessities in the following areas: accounting, finance, legal, marketing, and sales.