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UNT and Inspire Frisco are empowering entrepreneurs

UNT is collaborating with Inspire Frisco to provide mentoring, education and networking events for entrepreneurs at UNT’s Inspire Park in Frisco. UNT is a founding member of Inspire Frisco, a group of organizations and businesses in the Frisco entrepreneurial ecosystem working to invigorate North Texas entrepreneurs to take initiative, engage and guide the region’s growing startup community.

Since taking ownership of its Inspire Park facility in October, UNT has begun hosting free monthly talks for entrepreneurs across industries, in partnership with Inspire Frisco.

“We are trying to kickstart the innovation ecosystem in Frisco with the Inspire Frisco talks (IF Talks),” says Michael Rondelli, UNT associate vice president for innovation and commercialization.Inspire Frisco speaker

Past speakers included leaders from drive.ai, Aireal and KidStrong. The next event, which is set for Feb. 13, will feature UNT alum and successful entrepreneur David Gorman. Gorman, the founding partner of Clearview Staffing Software, will discuss the life of the company from founding to exit in 2009. The event will begin at 4:30 p.m. at Inspire Park, 6170 Research Road in Frisco. There is no cost for the event, but registration is required as past events have filled up. For more details or to register for Inspire Frisco Events, visit https://www.inspirefrisco.com/events.

Efforts to empower entrepreneurs extends beyond the monthly events. UNT entrepreneurship and venture specialists offer mentoring sessions every Wednesday in Frisco for entrepreneurs and startup companies in the North Texas region.

“The goal is to help startups get to a point where they can attract investors and also help businesses that are ready to scale up,” says Steven Tudor, assistant director of licensing in UNT’s Office of Innovation and Commercialization.

“We are laying groundwork and building relationships,” says Tudor, who explains that these relationships will develop as UNT grows its presence in Collin County, with a new branch campus scheduled to break ground in 2022. “UNT will soon have a larger physical presence, and those relationships will be valuable to our students and faculty who are looking for jobs and collaborators.”

Mentoring is available from 9 to 11 a.m. and from 1 to 3 p.m. every Wednesday, with the exception of Feb. 13. Mentorship is provided by Rondelli, Tudor and Jon McCarry, senior director of UNT’s Murphy Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Inspire Frisco plans to add additional mentors from the North Texas entrepreneurial and business community in coming months to meet growing demand. The team also offers mentoring at UNT’s Denton campus.

“Mentoring at Inspire Park is targeted to the needs of the entrepreneur and can cover everything from launch strategy to making a successful pitch,” says McCarry, adding that topics will vary according to the needs of a startup. “We look forward to helping grow new business and ultimately to develop a venture corridor in the region.”

McCarry has extensive experience in raising capital and is building a network of investors in the area. Rondelli has experience in the venture capital sector and a track record of bringing new technology to the market. Rondelli and Tudor also are available for guidance to entrepreneurs on approaching legal issues as a non-lawyer negotiating contracts and intellectual property, including how to stretch one’s dollar when using attorneys. Mentoring will be more effective if the startup has an idea of its needs in advance.

Steven Tudor, John McCarry, and Michael RondelliFor more information about mentoring and to schedule an appointment, contact Kaytie Logan at UNT’s Inspire Park, 469-362-6474 or inspirepark@unt.edu.

UNT opened Inspire Park as a business incubator space in October. Classroom space will provide opportunities for hands-on problem solving and partnership-based educational opportunities for the business community as well. Inspire Park supports corporate collaborations in leased spaces. UNT is currently looking for collaboration opportunities with companies that will help advance its mission at Inspire Park, leveraging their business expertise and the university’s research resources to create a larger impact across the North Texas region. For corporate incubation opportunities, contact Rondelli at Michael.Rondelli@unt.edu or 940-565-4459. For corporate leasing, contact Rob Pearson, UNT facilities personnel and leasing manager, at Rob.Pearson@unt.eduor 940-369-7307.

About Steven Tudor

Steven Tudor handles the lifecycle of UNT-owned intellectual property. This includes IP disclosures, patent filings, contracts and licensing. He also enjoys talking with students and faculty about IP and collaborating with industry partners on research projects. After graduating from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in biomedical science, Tudor worked for eight years at the Noble Research Institute. He then went to the Texas A&M School of Law, where he studied advanced topics in intellectual property and contract law, including as a member of the Patent Clinic. Prior to joining UNT’s Office of Innovation and Commercialization, he spent over three years within the UT System (including UT Southwestern and UT Arlington) working on research agreements and IP matters in their respective tech transfer offices.

About Jon McCarry

Jon McCarry worked in private equity for more than 15 years. Currently, he is senior director of UNT’s Murphy Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Prior to his current role, McCarry advised a number of institutional investors and funds throughout the Asia Pacific region. He worked as a senior group internal auditor at Nestlé, previously managed a venture capital portfolio in a Hong Kong UHNW family office and served in the U.S. Marine Corps. He has held board memberships and served in various committees, including the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan and the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute. McCarry earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering physics at UNT and an M.B.A. from Vlerick Management School in Belgium, and he completed the Oxford University – Peking University joint Private Equity Programme in China.

About Michael Rondelli

Michael Rondelli is UNT associate vice president for innovation and commercialization, having previously directed licensing and commercialization at the University of Southern California’s Stevens Center for Innovation and led technology transfer and commercialization efforts at San Diego State University. Prior to his work for universities, Rondelli worked as a venture capitalist and banking analyst. He earned a law degree from the University of San Diego, a master’s degree in business administration from Texas Christian University and a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Washington University in St. Louis.