Computer Science Students Learn How to Launch Startups

Computer Science Students Learn How to Launch Startups
Entrepreneurship Workshop Helps Students Turn Business Ideas into Reality

Computer Science Entrepreneurship Workshop+Startup Lab
Twenty computer science students attended the Computer Science Entrepreneurship Workshop+Startup Lab in October, where they learned the business skills related to turning their idea into a reality.
Gathered around their laptops and tablets, a team of University of Houston computer science students prepare for their final pitch to showcase their own startup and how their technical skills can evolve into what it takes to be an entrepreneur.

The Computer Science Entrepreneurship Workshop+Startup Lab held in October, exclusive to UH computer science students, is part of UH Bauer College of Business’ entrepreneurship program that aims to teach students with technical skills how to turn their business idea into a reality.

“We’ve been working closely with the Department of Computer Science for some time now and the workshop was a first step in developing entrepreneurship opportunities specifically for computer science students,” said Hesam Panahi, a clinical assistant professor in Bauer who organized the workshop.

The two-weekend workshop offered a series of lectures about startup resources, fundamental principles in developing a business model and the importance of customer validation. During the first weekend, the workshop also included guest speakers, most of whom are entrepreneurs with a computer science background.

“We expose students to the first steps of executing an idea, common mistakes and misconceptions on how to get started, and initial questions that every startup needs to ask to validate their existence,” Panahi said.

The second weekend offered students the opportunity to gather in teams and form ideas to draft a business model and work with mentors from the startup community to develop an initial pitch. The weekend ended with pitches to the workshop’s group of mentors, who provided constructive feedback.

“Students came in at different stages of the process. Some already had launched their startup but needed more clarification on first steps, others took an idea they came in with and made progress on the business model,” Panahi said.

The workshop was a success, bringing in 20 students to form the four teams that presented to their mentors on the final day.

“Students that have considered starting their own company or working as an early employee for a startup can really benefit from opportunities like the workshop,” Panahi said. “Many of these students have the technical knowledge to get started working on a product, and by learning more about the business perspective, can be better prepared for a startup environment.”

The program is one of many efforts aimed at encouraging students from outside of Bauer to engage in entrepreneurship. “We want to invite technically talented students to our RED Labs startup program, connect them to the resources they need to get started, and help them launch startups,” Panahi said.

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