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UTA strengthens innovation pipeline, drives development of entrepreneurship ecosystem

The University of Texas at Arlington has developed a strong innovation pipeline with more than 100 patents issued over the last five years and more than 25 technologies licensed to outside companies. About 60 faculty and students are currently working on startups and more than 20 startup companies are developing around UTA.

“We are well on the way to creating an innovation ecosystem at UTA that supports all local entrepreneurs,” said Teri Schultz, director of UTA’s Office of Technology Management. 

A panel discussion during InnovationDay@UTA taught entrepreneurs successful startup strategies.

Fourteen UTA faculty members and top administrators have been named fellows of the National Academy of Inventors, an organization that recognizes the capacity to translate inventions into tangible benefits for society.

The University has also developed the supports needed to facilitate entrepreneurship, including an aggressive patent support team and licensing office.

Through The University of Texas at Arlington Research Institute, or UTARI, the University supports prototyping, development, marketing and commercialization.

UTA also works closely with business accelerators, potential investors, local chambers of commerce and city governments to help students, faculty, alumni and inventors across North Texas succeed as business owners.

“We aim to bring together various stakeholders and provide real support for startups across the region,” Schultz said.

Schultz helped organize the annual InnovationDay@UTA, which provides further proof of the University’s commitment to helping turn big ideas into big business. More than 300 people from across the North Texas region participated in the event held in early February. It featured startup pitches by student and faculty entrepreneurs, a competition for high school innovators, an opportunity to network with potential investors, and a chance to learn from those who’ve experienced success, like UTA alum and business mogul Michael Chaffin.

Startup pitches from student and faculty entrepreneurs during InnovationDay@UTA.

“I love seeing what UTA has done in the entrepreneurial space,” Chaffin said. He provided the keynote address to the group. “The education was phenomenal and the campus has only grown and improved.”

Chaffin, a business partner of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, said UTA taught him the skills he needed to grow his own successful businesses. 

“From a relationship standpoint, I learned communication skills, which is key,” Chaffin said. “I also built a lot of long term relationships that I’ve been able to leverage throughout my life.”

Several student and faculty entrepreneurs pitched their ideas to a crowd that included some potential investors.

“I think it’s extraordinary to give students the opportunity to go beyond what they learned in school and take that to real world applications. We’re getting the chance to start companies and make a difference in the world. That’s what I value most,” said Farhaj Mayan, a junior computer science major who is also a software development engineer for Neu Robotics, a startup led by UTA students.

About The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a Carnegie Research-1 “highest research activity” institution. With a projected global enrollment of close to 57,000, UTA is one of the largest institutions in the state of Texas. Guided by its Strategic Plan 2020 Bold Solutions|Global Impact, UTA fosters interdisciplinary research and education within four broad themes: health and the human condition, sustainable urban communities, global environmental impact, and data-driven discovery. UTA was recently cited by U.S. News & World Report as having the second lowest average student debt among U.S. universities. U.S. News & World Report ranks UTA fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. The University is a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is ranked as the top four-year college in Texas for veterans on Military Times’ 2017 Best for Vets list.