Article written by Audra Parker
AUSTIN, TX – The Incubator for Innovation and Impact held a preview event in its new space on the Concordia University Texas campus on February 23, 2017. Over 100 entrepreneurs, community members, faculty, and students attended the breakfast and panel discussion on innovation and impact.
Dr. Donald Christian, President of Concordia University Texas, welcomed guests to the preview of the Incubator space which is designed to enhance the university’s mission of meaningful work and vocation by bringing together entrepreneurs to enhance and enrich our community.
Kevin Koym, Founder and CEO of Tech Ranch—Concordia’s partner in the Incubator for Innovation and Impact shared the Incubator’s goal as “more than building business, it’s about building business that makes a difference.” Koym, a pioneer in the startup community whose motivation to work with startups stems from his belief that supported entrepreneurs create more innovative solutions to society’s most pressing issues, moderated a discussion panel of industry experts deeply invested in innovation.
Panelists included representatives from diverse backgrounds and industries much like the makeup of the Austin startup community. Rudy Garza, founder and managing director of G-51 Capital Management, LLC, reminded the crowd that innovation includes much more than technology.
“A lot of people think about entrepreneurship and they automatically think about technology, but in Austin there’s more than just technology. There are consumer product startups that are happening and they are having terrific success. It’s not just tech, it’s an entrepreneurship renaissance,” Garza said.
According to panelist Stephen Kreher, Austin is uniquely situated at the intersection of creativity, commerce, and collaboration necessary for innovation. Kreher, a “proud alumnus” of Concordia University Texas, promotes the Austin region as the premier destination for companies considering relocation or expansion. In his role as the Senior Director of Economic Development for the Austin Chamber of Commerce, Kreher has helped bring over 71 companies and 8,200 jobs to the Central Texas region.
Kreher stated, “When you look at different statistics, Austin continually ranks as the number one place to have a startup, the number one place for entrepreneurship. It’s the talent, the 400,000 college students in a 100 mile radius and our education system that supports that” and it is what makes Austin particularly qualified for innovation.
Concordia University Texas assistant professor Dr. Glendene Lemard-Marlow believes investing in entrepreneurs impacts lives locally and globally. Lemard-Marlow, who specializes in violence prevention and conducts research in the areas of urban poverty, violence in minority communities, and health disparities, voiced the hope that the Incubator will offer a space to help break down barriers and provide support to local minority businesses they might not get elsewhere.
Lemard-Marlow said, “We want to have students become part of that connection. They are the future entrepreneurs and innovators and we want them to see first-hand the power of innovation.”
The event was concluded by Dr. Lynette Gillis, Associate Vice President of Academics at Concordia University Texas and driving force behind the Incubator, with a call to engage in the Incubator for Innovation and Impact. Whether signing up for a membership as an entrepreneur/co-worker, a mentor, an investor, or a donor, there is room for all to be involved in this exciting new venture.
“Thank you for coming to our space. We are working to finish the final details with technology, security, and collaboration tools. Our goal is to officially open the space in April 2017,” Gillis told the crowd.
If you would like to be a part of the Incubator for Innovation and Impact, please contact us via our website incubatorctx.com.