I am so grateful for your support on this project. Now that $10k is in the rear-view mirror, I wanted to write to you and let you know what our plans are for any money past our original goal.
This LEA Co-Lab project was evolving even before we started raising money for it. At first, the LEA Co-Lab was something that I wanted to do for my student organization, and the student entrepreneurs that I know personally. I happen to be in the Longhorn Startup program, and also LEA, so I know tons of students with businesses. I wanted to have a place for all of us to work. At some point this semester, I realized that there are far more students who are involved in entrepreneurial organizations than actual startups. That's when I began to think about the project differently.
It turns out that there are tons of students with an interest in entrepreneurship who aren't ready to start a business. They find ways to build their entrepreneurial skill set through involvement in entrepreneurship-focused organizations.
The success that we've had on the LEA Co-Lab project allowed us to re-calibrate and think about what we really wanted to be building. The answer is: The Student Entrepreneurship Center.
The ultimate vision for the Student Entrepreneurship Center is to have a place where students can get involved in running entrepreneurship programs and organizations so they can build social capital, and get real experience running things. Many of these students will go on to start businesses, but right now they don't know it. This place would facilitate collaboration between multiple student organizations that each have a different focus within entrepreneurship. For example, the Genesis program is a great student-led program which is focused on funding student startups, while Enactus is focused on social entrepreneurship. There is so much overlap, yet a low amount of collaboration between the two programs.
Your support caused our project to get interest across campus, and suddenly, it became more than just a co-working space for student entrepreneurs. It is now headed toward being a campus-wide collaboration which will live on past my time at the University.
It is an honor to be able to work outside of my narrow focus in LEA. I know we are building something that will fundamentally transform the student-run entrepreneurship experience. Any money that we raise past our original goal will go toward building the Student Entrepreneurship Center. LEA's members will serve as champions to get the project done, but the ultimate goal will be to involve as many student-run entrepreneurship organizations and programs as possible.
Again, I want to say thank you for your generosity. You are helping us make UT the best campus in the world for entrepreneurship!
Director, Longhorn Entrepreneurship Agency