Merging Innovation and Education
SURE℠ Program receives Inspiring Programs in Business Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine
Published on April 20, 2023
The Stimulating Urban Renewal Through Entrepreneurship (SURE℠) Program at the C. T. Bauer College of Business has earned the 2023 Inspiring Programs in Business Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, which recognizes programs that improve access to business education for underrepresented groups.
Part of the college’s Musa and Khaleda Dakri Center for Economic Inclusion , SURE℠ launched in 2012 and provides innovative and experiential education for our students to develop the human-centered skills while empowering under-resourced entrepreneurs with a societal impact.
INSIGHT’s Inspiring Programs in Business Award winners are selected based on their ability to create proven successful business strategies, provide mentorship and support to working professionals and serve as a model for other institutions and corporate fields.
Saleha Khumawala, Robert Grinaker Professor of Accounting, Executive Director of the Dakri Center for Economic Inclusion and Founding Director of the SURE™ Program
I’m proud of the SURE Program’s work in empowering local entrepreneurs.
We flip the traditional learning model ... rather than simply memorizing concepts from a textbook.
“It’s an honor to be recognized by INSIGHT magazine, and I’m proud of the SURE℠ Program’s work in empowering local entrepreneurs,” said Saleha Khumawala, the Robert Grinaker Professor of Accounting at Bauer, who also serves as executive director of the Dakri Center for Economic Inclusion and is the founding director of SURE℠. “We flip the traditional learning model, ensuring students are actively engaged and applying their knowledge, rather than simply memorizing concepts from a textbook.”
The program’s goal is to develop key soft skills our students need for the future of work and to provide economic stimulation and education to underserved communities through free consultations and strategies, which have helped a variety of businesses, including CATAPULT Gallery Academy in Richmond, which showcases artwork from local artists and offers classes to kids focusing on skill development that advances their art.
“When I started the program, my business was only an idea for a modest art studio, but Freddy (Bauer student and SURE Consultant) believed in my project, motivated and empowered me to do more,” said Carmen Flores, a SURE℠ entrepreneur and owner of CATAPULT. “Now a year later, I have my creative ability and the confidence to plan, run and grow my business.”
Students rely on classroom instruction for that confidence to be a consultant, in addition to guidance received by nearly 80 professional mentors each semester. Industry experts from the Houston area volunteer their time to provide direction to Bauer students and their respective SURE℠ entrepreneurs.
“This experience helps bridge the skills gap and prepares them for success in their careers that require real-world experience,” Khumawala said. “Students are taken out of their comfort zone and challenged to think creatively. I’ve seen them become more confident, adaptable, and effective in their roles as advisors to local entrepreneurs.”
Over the last decade, SURE℠ has assisted in launching or growing more than 700 businesses across the greater Houston area, impacting over 1,800 entrepreneurs.