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Big ideas winners 2019

GUIDELINES

The Incubator@SMU is a dedicated business workspace in the Expressway Tower, 6116 North Central Expressway Suite 700. The incubator exists to encourage and facilitate the formation and growth of new ventures by SMU students, faculty, staff, and alumni. The space provides a collaborative environment ideal for interaction with customers, mentors, and entrepreneurs.

Whether for profit or not-for-profit, technology-based, products or services, all types of entrepreneurial enterprises are welcome.

The Incubator@SMU is a launch pad to advance companies in early development and start-up phases of a business.  This typically means that the organization is pre-revenue or scaling their venture.

The Incubator@SMU is open to:

  • Any venture or organization comprised of a majority of, SMU students, faculty, staff, or alumni. 

There are a few student ventures who, upon completion of an application, are automatically eligible to join the Incubator@SMU.  They are team members who have won or placed in the annual:

  • Big iDeas Pitch and Business Plan Competitions
  • MBA Business Plan Competition

To gain admission to the incubator, all prospective organizations must complete an application.  The application includes a description of the venture, requested duration of time for residency in the SMU Incubator (year terms), and milestones to be achieved during the residency (quarterly updates).   The incubator reviews and accepts applications on a rolling basis, with decisions made within two weeks of submission.

Approved applicants participate in an orientation to receive general information, sign the SMU Incubator Use Agreement to confirm participation, and receive card swipe access to the space.

Note:  Incubator@SMU companies in good standing at the end of their residency may reapply for an extension of their right to use the SMU Incubator.

The Incubator@SMU provides a professional work environment for budding and seasoned SMU entrepreneurs with:

  • Furnished, secured space, open 24/7, with high speed internet, shared office equipment, and parking.
  • Mentorship: Each SMU Incubator company has potential access to mentors who can provide company-specific coaching and guidance, and help teams establish and achieve milestone targets.
  • Business, Law, Social Impact, Design Thinking, and Creative Support, Tech…support from the entire SMU entrepreneurship ecosystem.
  • SMU membership also includes the use of the Expressway Towers address.
  • Services may also include, access to expertise from the regional business community via the networking relationships of SMU and Expressway Towers, and inclusion in SMU Incubator and Expressway Towers press releases and social media postings.
  • Member Opportunities chart (.pdf)

The Office of Engaged Learning manages the Incubator@SMU.  The Program Specialist for Entrepreneurship is the point of contact for any administrative issues that arise by SMU students, faculty, alumni, and staff.

Incubator members and their guests are expected at all times to conduct themselves in a business-like, professional manner, and to comply with terms stated in the SMU Incubator Guidelines, SMU Incubator Use Agreement, SMU Student Handbook, SMU Faculty Handbook and SMU University Policy Manual. See online versions.

With regards to incubator work expectations, companies agree to:

  • Use the space only for the purpose described and for the duration approved in the company’s application;
  • Team members will not share exclusive privileges to URLs allow for scheduling meeting rooms, events and other activities that will benefit their companies;
  • Teams will limit scheduling to 3 hours.  All requests for 3+ hours must be confirmed by the Big iDeas Administrator.
  • Regularly report on progress; and
  • Respect the management of the space, SMU Incubator, Expressway Towers Station building personnel, and the Expressway Towers businesses and entrepreneurs.

Failure to comply with any of the above may result in early termination from the incubator.

Incubator@SMU members gain access through Expressway Tower access cards and passcodes.

  • Access cards are limited, up to 2 cards per member’s company and passcodes are confidential. Cards and codes may not be shared with others.  Incubator@SMU members may escort guests in for business purposes providing the guest signs in with SMU Incubator management.

Team members of a start-up may change over time.  Some may leave the company and new ones join.  Should this happen, the company is required to provide a written notice to the incubator manager.  New team members are required to meet with the manager, and review and sign the SMU Incubator Use Agreement.

Incubator@SMU companies may discontinue their use of the incubator and their Expressway Tower membership at any time.  This could happen when a SMU Incubator company:

  • Comes to the end their residency and it does not want to renew, all that is needed is a short exit interview with the incubator manager and removal of all personal property from the premises.
  • Wants to discontinue membership prior to the end of its residency, the company must inform the incubator manager in person and provide a written notice of their departure.
  • Is in breach of its obligations, the company no longer qualifies for incubator use or Expressway Towers membership. The incubator manager will terminate the SMU Incubator Use Agreement and the SMU Incubator member’s company must remove all personal property and leave the premises immediately.

In all cases, SMU Incubator members, upon terminating their residency in the SMU Incubator, are required to return their access cards to have the initial set up fee returned.