Workshop (*With Breakout Rooms)

Empower Diverse Communities, Build Businesses, and Engage Students, through Innovative Higher Education/Private Partnerships

You voted for this

All stakeholders can win when a university program is designed the right way. Participants in this think tank will see how the SURETM Program at University of Houston has designed a program that engages students, businesses, and the underserved community: real community members who want to start or grow a business,  learn how to write a business plan from industry experts, then students are assigned to consult for these entrepreneurs, collaborating on a business plan over thirteen weeks of lecture. Participants will learn how to structure a similar program and find funding, then participate in collaborative examples of coursework from the class.


SURE™ – Stimulating Urban Renewal through Entrepreneurship –  is an innovative program at University of Houston, Bauer College of Business. It’s an educational platform that creates a value-added partnership between students from UH, experts from industry, and localunder-resourced entrepreneurs. It is a specially designed course that has been recognized with awards at the college, university, neighborhood, city, state, and federal level for its commitment to educating student business leaders and  economically empowering entrepreneurs from underserved areas.


Since being launched in 2012, this commitment has resulted in over 350 students being trained as Consultants, 1,400 community members being trained on financial literacy and entrepreneurship, and over 400 businesses launched or materially expanded in Houston. A 2019 survey of past participants of SURETM revealed it has been highly effective at its aim of empowering under-resourced entrepreneurs. Since 2018, over 65% of SURETM entrepreneurs began the program under the HUD low-income household,  77% of these entrepreneurs are African-American or Latinx and 70% are women. 34% of surveyed entrepreneurs reported an increase of $5,000 more in their household income after completing the SURETM Program. Of those who were self-employed, 83% attributed this increase to their participation in the SURETM Program.


The SURETM Program will divide this session into four parts: brief introduction, simulation of student consultant training, simulation of student client work, and overview with actionable tips. The introduction will include a video testimonial and just enough background to get started on the interactive exercises.

Confirmed Panelists

Dr. Saleha Khumawala

Founding Director of the SURETM Program and Robert Grinaker Professor of Accounting

University of Houston


Professor Charlie Becker

Managing Director of the SURETM Program and Professor of Practice

University of Houston

Share this session idea


  1. This idea is a wonderful creative step to unify a divided economic structure, that would benefit the community as a whole.

  2. This is an amazing program and Dr Khumawala is at the forefront of doing something amazing for the underserved communities. Her program has made a massive impact on lives of many Young students and families who didn’t have the opportunities. She’s a selfless leader and the program she has built is one of the best in the nation.

  3. This is an excellent opportunity for many people to start their own business, no matter how small it can be. This will activate people with no resources to finding an opportunity in life to be productive and incorporate themselves to the economy system.

    This kind of initiative must be promoted and supported for everyone; but also it has to be tracked and evaluated to see results and make the necessary adjustments to the program, so it can be effective.

    I congratulate the people behind the program. Please let’s support this idea.


  4. Social Entrepreneurship is the only solution to our social problems. People feel disadvantaged so it plays out as racism when in most cases it really isn’t. The SURE program and others like it are in the right direction, giving people the skills and hope that they can start a business and succeed. It is a huge gigantic big step in the right direction.

  5. I can attest to how vital these traditionally insider trainings were in helping me to grow my transportation business & to support local entrepreneurship. Felicia Beal, Beal’s Legacy Car Service, SURE class 2018

  6. As a graduate of this program, it has strengthened my knowledge of entrepreneurship that I’ve applied to operate my local business more effectively. I am very thankful for the opportunity to participate in this innovative program.

Leave a Reply to F Bhutto Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *