North Texas Daily

New director hopes to rebuild a longtime entrepreneurship program at UNT

New director hopes to rebuild a longtime entrepreneurship program at UNT

June 07
13:31 2018

Jon McCarry, the new director of the UNT College of Business’ Murphy Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, hopes to bring more practicality to the program after its revival.

McCarry, the former UNT graduate and veteran, has had more than 15 years of venture capital and private equity experience and started his new position in March.

“I’m very excited that Jon has joined us,” College of Business Dean Marilyn Wiley said.  “He seems like the right person to lead the Murphy Center into the 21st century.”

The Murphy Center supports entrepreneurship initiatives from students, faculty, alumni and the community. The program is designed to help people with ideas for startup businesses to structure the company and find capital.

The Murphy Center collaborates with the Office of Commercialization and Innovation to help advertise the different ideas. McCarry said he had product ideas when he graduated from UNT, but there was not a program like the Murphy Center to help him.

“I see this as a means of providing that avenue for students and faculty,” McCarry said. “It does nothing but help the university and the state.”

The center began in 1999 when Ken and Shirley Murphy provided a $1 million grant to UNT. The center saw a few different iterations in its history and was eventually shut down. It started back up in March with McCarry as the new director.

He hopes to restart the program with more of a focus on practicality. McCarry said the program used to be academically centered. Wiley and some students agree and believe the updated program will be a training resource for individuals.

“I think it definitely would be helpful because I have a lot of friends that start their own businesses but don’t know what they are doing,” psychology junior Ayanah Abernathy said. “Their business could grow a lot more if they had help and a little bit of insight.”

Wiley said the program can be helpful for students who have different majors and come up with a product idea or UNT professors who create a new device in the midst of their research.

“The college of business is very excited in leading this activity, but it is very much intended to be a UNT wide experience,” Wiley said. “The resources at the Murphy center should be open to all faculty, students and constituents at UNT.”

When someone comes to McCarry with a product idea he asks himself if he would invest his money in it. He hopes to provide a different perspective on the product that will help grow the idea.

“I spend about an hour shooting down the idea,” McCarry said.“You typically need somebody to throw ideas against, but also you need supportive and constructive negative feedback.”

McCarry says the Murphy Center is important because it helps the local economy and is a recruitment tool for the university. He says most cities, counties and states prefer having business in different sectors.

He thinks the Murphy Center can provide that because of the variety of startup ideas that are likely to go through the program.

“It’s my opinion that the DFW metroplex does not have a university leader in the entrepreneurship area, and we think we can be that leader,” Wiley said.   

Featured Image: Courtesy UNT

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Devin Rardin

Devin Rardin

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