July 19, 2018
Students from the University of Houston and Texas Southern University recently completed the six-week Next Gen Energy X program with an entrepreneurial demo day aimed at showcasing the work of their team and judged by energy industry mentors. The program promotes innovation and entrepreneurship through management training, a lab-to-market conceptual framework, business plan development, and mentoring by successful innovators and entrepreneurs.
“We expect our 20 talented students from diverse educational and cultural backgrounds to eventually be executives in energy companies or entrepreneurs in high technology firms” said J. Chris Ford, director for the Next Gen Energy X program. “This is a game-changing platform to build future leaders for the energy industry and innovation economy.”
This project is part of a three-year collaboration between the University of Houston and Texas Southern University, with the intent of providing students with the opportunities to develop relationships across the two institutions as well as with industry partners, who served as mentors during the six-week course and as judges of the final pitched presentations. “The students created and presented credible business plans for highly technical innovations” said Justice Akuuchie, senior project engineer at Shell and industry mentor for the program. “The students were quite driven with an intelligent curiosity about the energy industry. It was refreshing to witness their development over a 6-week period, and I am confident that these students will become successful professionals and leaders in their chosen career fields.”
The program ended with presentations from each of the five student groups to a panel of industry partners, who then judged each pitch and identified the winners. The award for Best Business Model and Go-To-Market Strategy went to the Alpha Triangulum team. The award for Best Intellectual Property Utilization went to the Signalytics team, and the award for Best Pitch went to the BATA team.“The innovations and expertise that the students presented through their videos, inventions, and animations demonstrated the students’ unlimited potential” said Bobby Wilson, program director at Texas Southern University. “Moreover, their ability to invent marketable developmental projects was both surprising and breathtaking.”