UHV raises $915,000 to fund partnership for economic development

Funds will be used to increase entrepreneurship and economic development in Victoria
UHV raises $915,000 to fund partnership for economic development

UHV raises $915,000 to fund partnership for economic development – Photo contributed by UHV

VICTORIA, Texas – The University of Houston-Victoria College of Business has secured $915,000 with the support of local leaders, government entities and entrepreneurs. UHV plans to use the funds towards a partnership with a company to help increase entrepreneurship and economic development in the Victoria area.

UHV has entered into an agreement with Innovation Collective, a company based in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho. The agreement will help the Victoria region create and develop a new ecosystem of business. Innovation Collective has similar projects in Coeur d’ Alene; Brooksville, Fla.; and Utica, N.Y.

The company plans to help leaders and community members create a culture of economic innovation. It will also assist with the creation of new business ventures and job opportunities for residents. According to Ken Colwell, dean of the college of business, mew businesses and job opportunities will encourage more UHV students to stay in the Victoria area following graduation.

UHV raises $915,000 to fund partnership for economic development – Ken Colwell released the following statement:

Ken Colwell

Ken Colwell, dean of the college of business

“Partnering with Innovation Collective is in line with UHV’s mission of developing students who are ready for the professional world and promoting economic development and quality of life in the Victoria region,” Colwell said. “We are bringing people in the community together to discuss what the future economy of Victoria will look like, and we are excited to be part of this unique opportunity.”

Innovation Collective is an ecosystem development company that using a method of curated events, mentorship, training, partnerships, placemaking and software. It helps people start and grow innovative businesses, according to the company’s website. Innovation Collective communities across the country have their own different focuses, including:

  • artificial intelligence and robotics;
  • aging and longevity; and
  • sports, entertainment and the arts.

The Innovation Collective community in Victoria does not have a focus yet but will develop one during its first few years of operation.

Innovation Collective needs $915,000 to operate their program in Victoria for the initial three years. Startup funding will cover program costs, including hiring a community leader, travel costs, marketing, conferences, summits and events.

During the first three years, Innovation Collective will hold dozens of events each year. People in the community can join and voice their entrepreneurial ideas. Entrepreneurs then will join a program to develop their business ideas under expert guidance to see if the business is possible.

Several entities and community members have committed $100,000 each for the next three years to help launch and operate the office.

Entities and community members who have made contributions:

  • City of Victoria
  • David and Tammy Murphy
  • Frost Bank
  • Haberling McLeroy Family Foundation
  • klean corp international/Tami and Robby Burdge
  • Melvin and Janey Lack
  • Victoria County
  • the Victoria Sales Tax Development Corp.
  • Victoria College,
  • the Victoria Independent School District,
  • UHV College of Business, and
  • Pat and Bill Blanchard.

Following the first three years, Innovation Collective in Victoria is estimated to be self-sustaining as an organization. It will also no longer require philanthropic support. To become self-sustaining, the organization can use real estate development and equity stakes in some business that come up through the program. Innovation Collective plans to locate the office in downtown Victoria.

UHV raises $915,000 to fund partnership for economic development – Jesse Pisors released the following statement:

Jesse Pisors

Jesse Pisors, UHV vice president for advancement and external relations

“It is both impressive and promising to see the diversity of organizations, entrepreneurs and all three Victoria public education entities embrace and support this worthy investment,” said Jesse Pisors, UHV vice president for advancement and external relations. “UHV greatly appreciates the support of our donors, and we are excited to work with the community on this innovative project. We are also happy to hear that Innovation Collective plans to have their location in Downtown Victoria, which will help with efforts to revitalize our downtown area.”

UHV is a growing institution of higher learning and a resource in the Victoria community. In response, it makes sense for the university to be a key player in the economic development of the city, says Colwell.

“There was a broad agreement from local leaders that Victoria needs more entrepreneurial economic development,” he said. “When this opportunity came to partner with the company, we saw that its proven model could be beneficial for our community.”

The project will be led by a Success Team made up of donors as well as UHV and community leaders. The Success Team will perform like a board and help the Victoria-based Innovation Collective office make decisions. According to Colwell, more people and organizations can be added to the team as the project is underway.

The Success Team includes individuals and members from the following organizations:

  • UHV
  • City of Victoria
  • Victoria County
  • The Victoria Sales Tax Development Corp.
  • Victoria College
  • Victoria Independent School District
  • Frost Bank
  • Kenny French Sr.
  • David and Tammy Murphy
  • Melvin and Janey Lack
  • Bill Wendlandt
  • Teri R. Moten
  • Bethany Castro
  • Robby Burdge

According to Bill Blanchard, president of the Victoria Sales Tax Development Corp., the idea for an Innovation Collective office in the region is in line with the corporation’s initiatives and objectives, including the development of an entrepreneurial culture in Victoria. Blanchard anticipates being a part of the Success Team. He also looks forward to working toward an economic development theme for the Victoria Innovative Collective office.

UHV raises $915,000 to fund partnership for economic development – Bill Blanchard released the following statement:

“Innovation Collective is well suited to help the economic development of the region, and the company’s methodology provides a system of support for an entrepreneurial culture in the area,” he said. “UHV serves the Victoria region, and having the university be a major partner in developing entrepreneurship here is important. We want to see UHV continue to grow, as well, and this is a great way to have the university involved with our Victoria community.”

Each Innovation Collective community operates around a focus or theme. There will also be discussions and various town hall events to listen to ideas about what would be the best focus for Victoria. Events will be open to the public.

“This community project is for everybody,” Colwell said. “We want to cast a wide net and reach out and make sure everyone knows that no matter what area they live in or group they are a part of, Innovation Collective is for them. We want to listen to all ideas.”

You can find more news and updates on UHV’s Facebook.