North Texas Daily

New greenhouse serves as place for growth of ideas

New greenhouse serves as place for growth of ideas

February 20
23:59 2013

Daniel Bissell / Staff Writer

The new Innovation Greenhouse, located in Sycamore Hall, aims to help students create and expand on ideas, and to create networking opportunities, said Executive Director Nancy Hong.

The Innovation Greenhouse assists students in expanding ideas, networking and internship opportunities. It is associated with the Murphy Entrepreneurship Center and Discovery Park where students are mentored to further cultivate their ideas.

“Ideas are like plants,” Hong said. “You sow seeds and they grow into exciting and unpredictable flora. The Innovation Greenhouse is where students can cultivate those ideas and watch them grow.”

Hong said the greenhouse acts as an intermediary of innovation, bringing in a wide range of ideas to a central location and then diffusing them to a wider range of businesses, startups and other area organizations.

“We are also working with startup organizations such as Common Desk, Tech Wildcatters, AT&T Foundry, TeXchange and [North Texas Angel Network],” Hong said. “We connect our students with local innovation powerhouses such as AT&T Foundry, entrepreneurs and investors.”

Engineering graduate student Omar Costilla Reyes is a student advisor on the Innovation Greenhouse Board that helps students expand on and share new ideas.

“We try to come up with new ideas and encourage students to expand on them,” Costilla Reyes said.

Business owners and CEOs use the center also to gather ideas and innovations from students. Flower Mound business owner David Bennett said he started his small travel business last January. He said attending the Greenhouse’s weekly startup meetings has helped him to expand his business.

“I’ve really gotten to think outside the box,” Bennett said. “It’s hard when you come out of a career of finance, doing the same thing over and over, to start from nothing. But I’ve learned a lot since then, and I’ve tripled my business since January of this year.”

Business undeclared freshman Benjamin Davis, also a member of the Innovation Greenhouse Board, said the greenhouse will provide students a much needed common area to discuss and expand on business ideas.

“There have been a lot of opportunities to meet with people and compare what has worked and what hasn’t in their businesses,” Davis said. “Those are opportunities I wouldn’t have had otherwise. At a campus as big as UNT, thousands of students have had great business ideas, but haven’t had a place to discuss and cultivate them. We want the greenhouse to be that kind of place.”

Hong said the new center is a pathway to innovation and can provide students with invaluable resources to jumpstart their careers.

“We want to give students the tools they need to succeed,” Hong said. “It’s exciting to start something new, something different, something that has never been done before.”

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