Section Image: Keith Hmieleski and Kelly Tragger in the Shaddock Auditorium

Neeley Inspires Innovation During TCU's Research and Creative Activities Week

The Department of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation provided engaging faculty presentations, thought-provoking discussions on Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL), Artificial Intelligence, and Frog Tank student business pitches.

October 12, 2023

By Amber Billops and Winter Harris

As part of TCU’s 150th celebration, the university recognizing Research and Creative Activities Week from September 22 – 29. To close out the week of events, the Department of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation collaborated to host a TCU Neeley School of Business showcase.

Students, professors, and entrepreneurs gathered in Neeley’s Shaddock Auditorium where they presented a series of engaging Frog Talks, delivered in a TED Talk-style approach. Among them was Keith Hmieleski, the academic director for the Institue for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the Robert and Edith Schumacher Executive Faculty Fellow in Innovation and Technology. He explored the topic of why outliers of entrepreneurial success are often considered difficult. The audience was captivated as he unveiled the evolutionary perspective behind this phenomenon.

Aaron Anglin gives a presentation in Shaddock

Following the thought-provoking talks, the event transitioned into expert panel discussions. One such panel, led by Antonio Banos, the Bloxom Foundation Professor of Sports Entrepreneurship. Banos focused on Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) – a topic of emerging interest to student-athletes and aspiring entrepreneurs. The room was filled with inspiring stories of TCU student-athlete entrepreneurial successes, showcasing the power of developing a personal entrepreneurial brand, marketing and building a business.

Kelly Trager, an assistant professor of professional practice in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, took the stage to discuss the unique routines of entrepreneurial influencers and creators. Her insights shed light on the secret sauce of these trailblazers.

The event also tackled pressing global issues, as Stella Seyb, an assistant professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, discussed how climate change creeps up on us and why entrepreneurs sometimes hesitate to act when they can least afford to delay. Seyb’s presentation served as a reminder that entrepreneurship isn't just about business; it's also about making a positive impact on the world.

Ctrl+Shift+AI: Rewriting Norms in Entrepreneurship and Innovation – a panel organized by Michael Sherrod, the William M. Dickey Entrepreneur in Residence, and Eric Arseneau, an associate professor of professional practice – delved into the transformative power of artificial intelligence (AI). Brad Taylor, senior manager of AI/ML (machine learning) strategy & transformation at PepsiCo, emphasized the rapid pace of AI development. He encouraged students to embrace the ever-evolving field, highlighting the potential it holds for the future.

Joseph Tutera Jr., a TCU finance student, shared his experiences, explaining how AI played a pivotal role in his journey from an accounting intern to founding DocuCare. The panelists touched on the importance of AI in today's world, acknowledging both its potential and the necessity for human collaboration.

“The level of productivity AI gives you is unmatched,” said Tutera.

Student presentation in ShaddockAs the event drew to a close, Frog Tank took center stage. It was a Shark Tank-inspired competition where two student startups pitched their ideas to established entrepreneurial leaders. Lianne Yang, director of programs for the TCU Neeley Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, orchestrated Frog Tank and served on the panel of judges. Each student business pitch was met with scrutiny and questions, mirroring the challenges any startup faces when seeking investors.

The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Showcase of Research and Creative Activities was the first of its kind in Neeley and introduced groundbreaking ideas, while inspiring a new generation of entrepreneurs through education and practical experience.