Section Image: Values and Ventures

Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Wins GCEC’s Outstanding Contribution to Venture Creation Award

The Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers award showcases and celebrates the very best of university entrepreneurship.

December 04, 2020

By Elaine Cole

For the second year in a row, the TCU Neeley Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation took home top honors in the annual GCEC Awards for best entrepreneurship programs.

The Institute won the 2020 Outstanding Contributions to Venture Creation Award for the Values and Ventures program for creatively supporting the process of launching and accelerating student startups. The award is based on the strength of the program, outcomes, growth over time and level of community engagement.

TCU Team with Matt Smilor

The Institute also was a finalist for the Exceptional Activities in Entrepreneurship Across Disciplines Award.

The Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures® program encourages and supports undergraduate entrepreneurs—not just at TCU but all across the U.S. and around the world—by accelerating the launch and growth of their for-profit, values-centered businesses.

Values and Ventures encourages college students around the world to develop and present viable, for-profit, socially conscious business plans, and rewards the best with cash prizes, in-kind services, mentorship and networking. More than just a pitch competition, Values and Ventures provides access to seed capital, launch strategies, constructive feedback and advice, and access to networks of like-minded entrepreneurs, investors and experts throughout the five-month program.

Today, Values and Ventures is one of the largest solely undergraduate business programs and competitions in the nation. Values and Ventures began in 2011 with teams from six U.S. universities competing for $17,000 in total cash awards. In 2020, the competition drew 200 applications from 150 universities. The award prize pool for 2021 is $225K in total cash awards.

Since 2011, more than 800 ventures have applied from 157 universities, 42 states and 12 countries, resulting in 341 ventures launched. More than 600 judges and mentors – entrepreneurs, investment professionals, CEOs and other business executives – have taken part in the program.

“We provide more than a platform for validation and acceleration of venture creation. Our goals are to increase entrepreneurial knowledge, provide real-life experience in pitching ventures to investors, and deliver an enjoyable, memorable experience that will benefit students for years to come,” said Matt Smilor, director of the Values and Ventures program.

“Values and Ventures emboldens young entrepreneurs with the skills, knowledge, feedback and funding to create, launch and sustain meaningful enterprises,” said Rodney D’Souza, managing director of the TCU Neeley Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

This the second year in a row for TCU Neeley to win GCEC awards. In 2019, the Institute won the Excellence in Entrepreneurship Teaching and Pedagogical Innovation Award for the Cowtown Angels Fellows program, which puts select TCU MBA students into the thick of angel investing.

GCEC is the premier organization for 250 entrepreneurship centers globally. It encourages centers and institutes to share best practices, develop programs and initiatives, and assist each other in advancing, strengthening and celebrating the role of universities in teaching the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.