Trinity University was named a 2021 recipient of a $346,079 “Build to Scale’’ Program grant, which is administered annually by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (USEDA). Trinity was one of only 50 organizations, including nonprofits, higher education institutions, and state government agencies, across the country to receive funding. The “Build to Scale” program aims to accelerate technology entrepreneurship by increasing inclusive access to business support and startup capital.
“The ‘Build to Scale’ program strengthens entrepreneurial ecosystems across the country that are essential in the Biden administration’s efforts to build back better,” Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo says. “This work is critical in developing the innovation and entrepreneurship our country needs to build back better and increase American competitiveness on the global stage.”
“Trinity is the only predominantly undergraduate serving institution ever awarded a similar USEDA grant,” says Luis Martinez ’91, Ph.D., director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “There are no other top 25 national liberal arts and science colleges and universities who can claim this kind of award and this kind of program.
“A critical need exists in San Antonio for high-risk, pre-seed, and seed capital that will assist startups with a potential for high impact to advance to the next growth stage,” Martinez continues. “Trinity will launch a Student-Managed Early Venture Fund (SMEVF) and Trinity Angels to increase seed and early-stage equity capital for high-growth ventures in San Antonio and the USEDA Austin region.”
By 2027, Martinez projects investments in more than 50 companies in the region, the creation of more than 125 new jobs, and evergreen support for Trinity’s SMEVF.
The entrepreneurship program also received a major international award this fall. The Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers (GCEC) awarded Trinity the highest award that a university entrepreneurship center can receive: 2021 GCEC Nasdaq Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence Award for schools with 5,000 students or fewer.
The Nasdaq award honors those centers that have made and will continue to make enormous contributions in advancing entrepreneurship as the force in economic growth throughout the world. Trinity was selected for the breadth, quality, and longevity of its entrepreneurship program, which includes its experiential learning curriculum, partnerships with Geekdom, Students+Startups, Launch SA, and 1 Million Cups San Antonio, as well as the Louis H. Stumberg New Venture Competition and Trinity Venture Mentoring Service.
Martinez was recently appointed to the executive board of the GCEC, which is the premier academic organization of more than 250 leading university entrepreneurship programs, addressing the emerging topics of importance to the nation’s university-based entrepreneurship programs.