UT students and alumni launched the Genesis Program, which will provide funding and mentorship for student entrepreneurs on Thursday.
The Genesis Program operates under the Entrepreneurship Task Force of the Longhorn Engineering Advisory Delegation. Jacob Cordova, UT alumn, LEAD vice president of strategy and Genesis Program executive director, and Katherine Allen, mechanical engineering and Plan II sophomore, decided to start the project when they noticed obtaining funding was a major roadblock for students seeking to begin early-stage ventures.
“This program’s inspiration is rooted in our desire to build the entrepreneurial ecosystem at UT,” said Allen, Genesis Program director of impact. “Many students are able to dream big, but they run into issues getting their ventures off the ground. The Genesis Program is designed to empower these visionary students by providing them with capital so that they can explore their own potential and bring their great ideas into an even greater reality.”
The founding team consists of Cordova, Allen, associate directors Clarke Rahrig and Andrew Bellay, along with chemical engineering freshman Jeff Auster and Zach James, business honors sophomore and director of operations.
In addition to the efforts of the founding team, support from alumni has been essential in bringing the program to fruition. UT alumni contributed the entirety of the founding capital for the Genesis Program, although anyone is welcome to donate, Cordova said.
“Alumni support plays a major role in enhancing many experiences for UT Austin students, including that of entrepreneurship,” Cordova said. “Alumni are eager to give back to the university as well as share real and relevant perspectives from campus and industry experiences. Through LEAD, alumni have an established platform to bring to UT Austin time, talent and treasure – all valuable resources for innovations.”
Interested students can access the application online until around mid-March. Applicants will receive guidance from qualified alumni and faculty as they pursue their project after the selection committee grants funding.
Although the program is officially a part of the Cockrell School of Engineering, the founding team encourages students of all degree programs to apply, since they believe that entrepreneurs are a diverse student body. Investment awards will range from $500 to $5000.
“We’re looking for individuals with drive, curiosity and the ability to execute their dreams,” said Auster, Genesis Program director of development. “Ultimately, if you have those three things and are willing to put in work, that’s the kind of individual that we really want in our program.”
Interested students can find the application here.