Bauer College Professor Saleha Khumawala was among a select group of educators invited to speak at South By Southwest EDU 2018 Conference & Festival in Austin this month.
At the annual gathering of top education innovators, Khumawala shared details about SURE™ (Stimulating Urban Renewal through Entrepreneurship), the program she founded which nurtures partnerships between entrepreneurs from under-resourced communities, students from University of Houston and industry experts. Khumawala led a panel discussion with UH Regent and SURE Board of Advisors Chair Paula Mendoza and Charles Becker, assistant director of SURE, titled: “Two Stories: Experiential Learning & Urban Renewal.”
“Experiential learning fills a big skills gap left by traditional textbook classrooms,” said Khumawala, the Robert Grinaker Professor of Accounting. “It’s totally project based learning.”
“We want to challenge widely held assumptions about education. Unless you are innovative you can’t come up with real solutions to address challenges that are facing all of us today in the global marketplace.”
The SURE™ program has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Governor’s Office and many others for its success in creating financial empowerment in under-resourced communities, building professional experience for students, and facilitating community investment for businesses and higher education institutions.
Since 2012, SURE™ has trained small business owners – many of them women who are African-American or Latino — throughout 60-plus zip codes in Houston. Bauer students support entrepreneurs through the process of writing of a business plan and other business fundamentals, and subject matter experts lend professional expertise for topics ranging from finance to marketing. The 12-week program culminates with a Pitch Day, or opportunity for entrepreneurs to pitch business proposals for funding to potential investors.
To date, the program has educated more than 600 entrepreneurs, with more than 115 businesses launched or expanded.
By Julie Bonnin