Khumawala Recognized for Work With the Stimulating Urban Renewal Through Entrepreneurship (SURE™) Program
The Houston office of the U.S. Small Business Administration has named Professor Saleha Khumawala as the Houston Women in Business Champion of the Year in their 2017 small business awards competition.
Khumawala, the Robert Grinaker Professor of Accounting at Bauer College, was cited for her work as the Founding Director of the SURE™ Program, Stimulating Urban Renewal through Entrepreneurship.
The award-winning program works with would-be entrepreneurs from underserved neighborhoods who lack resources, offering classes with Bauer students serving as consultants who enable them to achieve their goals. These students are a key component in assisting SURE™ entrepreneurs, who to date have opened 61 businesses. An eco-system of business and government supporters and other key strategic alliances in the community have also helped establish SURE™ as a model for the creation and support of small businesses in underserved areas.
The idea for SURE™ stemmed from Khumawala’s involvement in microfinance efforts abroad. She recognized that people living in low-income neighborhoods in Houston would benefit from a student-led, community-supported program.
“This is experiential learning at its best,” she has said in describing the program. “There is collaboration and leadership training, and students answer big questions beyond the four walls of the classroom. We educate, engage, enhance and empower.”
Following 12 weeks of classes covering personal financial literacy training and entrepreneurial education, graduates have the opportunity to transition into the SURE™ Incubator, where Bauer students and professionals from the community provide ongoing support and consulting to meet each entrepreneur’s unique business needs.
The first phase of an impact study of SURE™ found that the majority of participants are women (77 percent). Nearly 50 percent are African-American and 27 percent Hispanic/Latino. More than 60 Houston area zip codes were represented. The impact study also found most entrepreneurs reported increased financial literacy after completing the program.
The Houston Small Business Awards Luncheon, sponsored by SCORE Houston, will be held at the Westin Memorial City on May 11. The event begins at 9 a.m. with two workshops before the luncheon. For more information about the event, visit www.houston.score.org or call SCORE at (713) 487-6565.
By Julie Bonnin