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Webinar: Catalyzing Sustainable Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education Ecosystems

October 11 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT


According to a recent Nielsen study, ~54% of Gen Z want to be entrepreneurs. Colleges and universities have taken note and are proactively tailoring their program offerings to meet the increased demand for entrepreneurial training and education. Entrepreneurship is a powerful force that fosters innovation and creates the goods and services through which we work, play, and experience life. It is the engine that drives these mediums to be more affordable, more efficient, and more impactful, which, in theory, should lead to a better quality of life. However, if left unregulated, entrepreneurial growth can have negative consequences on certain segments of our population and the environment. Hence, a better model of innovation and entrepreneurship needs to be adopted–one that balances growth, inclusion, and sustainability and doesn’t frame them as trade-offs. Are these components mutually exclusive or can they be simultaneously prioritized? In this webinar, we’ll discuss the significance of sustainable innovation and entrepreneurship and explore the ways that growth, inclusion, and sustainability are connected through an exercise using a sustainable business model canvas.

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Samuel Yoo, Program Officer, VentureWell

Samuel Yoo is a Program Officer at VentureWell, which is a non-profit organization that provides science and technology innovators with the support, training, networks, and resources to solve the world’s most difficult problems, including climate change. He fosters collaboration between research labs, classrooms, and beyond to advance innovation and entrepreneurship education and to provide unique opportunities for STEM students and researchers to fully realize their potential to improve society. Through support from the Lemelson Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the United States Department of State, the United States Agency for International Development, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and other generous sponsors, he has helped VentureWell to build entrepreneurial ecosystems on university campuses and in regional hubs of innovation.

Over the past 25 years, VentureWell programs have trained more than 3,000 early-stage innovation teams and helped launch over 850 ventures that have raised close to $1 billion in public and private investments. These ventures have reached millions of people in over 50 countries with technological advancements in fields such as biotechnology, healthcare, sustainable energy and materials, and solutions for low-resource settings.

He is actively looking for more opportunities to encourage institutional collaborations, broaden professional networks, and open pathways to investment and mentorship—particularly in spaces focused on cleantech, climate tech, and other sustainability oriented solutions.

Dr. Sylvia Robles, Assistant Professor of Practice-Entrepreneurship, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Dr. Sylvia Robles is a visionary entrepreneur, educator, researcher, and advocate of Humane-Innovation-Sustainable-based Entrepreneurship and Community Engagement by EMPOWERING her students and RGV entrepreneurs through her Adopt a Startup at UTRGV Program to develop sustainable businesses. Dr. Robles has experience with working with engineering students as an Instructor and Mentor for I-Corps teams. Also, all her courses (traditional, ITV, online asynchronous or synchronous) hold the Service Learning designation, so all her students actively impact the business community and develop soft skills. She is currently the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Sustainability Faculty Fellow, the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization at UTRGV Brownsville Faculty Advisor, and a lecturer of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the Robert C. Vackar College of Business and Entrepreneurship/Department of International Business and Entrepreneurship.

For members: archived webinars on demand   Upcoming webinars


October 11
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT
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