In a world where getting up and going to a weekday job from 9-5 is no longer an option for the majority of job seekers out there, there’s no doubt that learning how to become financially stable is important here in H-town.
That is why here at Bold Patents, we created this list of the top 23 essential resources for inventors and entrepreneurs in Houston from Houston’s very own SCORE small business administration to its world-renowned small business development center!
So whether or not you consider yourself an “innovator”, definitely give this article a read if you want to learn more about why and how Houston is a popular place for Fortune 1000 companies to thrive in.
Rated as one of the top 5 consecutive private universities and international universities in America, Rice University has garnished a reputation for being a school of innovation for students residing in Houston, TX.
Founded on May 18, 1891, Rice University is the home of the Owl Spark Accelerator and the Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Together, these facilities are created to help students understand that there is more to life than studying textbooks and writing 5-page academic essays.
Not too long ago, the students at Rice University transformed an old Sears building into a business and technology-based learning center called, “The Ion.” Here, participants could partake in educational events, demonstrations, hack-a-thons and programming classes while utilizing The Ion’s many restaurants and entertainment amenities.
For those looking for an institution that truly promotes entrepreneurial learning, Rice University is considered a top choice by most students and staff members.
While some people would see graduate schools and medical schools as the ultimate places to learn how to become a self-sustaining entrepreneur, here at the University of Houston, anyone can become so with a bit of hard work, dedication, and of course, some networking and luck combined.
Founded on March 7, 1927, the University of Houston has since been rated #1 for being the nation’s top royalty earning institution without a medical school and #2 for having the nation’s top 10 entrepreneurship programs.
According to Ed Blair, chairman of the Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship at the university, “Students who have taken entrepreneurship classes at UH within the past decade have started 1,006 businesses, with identified funding of just over $238 million.”
Founded in 1984 to give independent business owners the chance to learn how to stand out from the crowd, the Small Business Development Center in Houston, Texas, has since been a proud partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the University of Houston Bauer College of Business.
Since its founding, the center has served over 32 countries in Southeast Texas and has provided reasonable accommodations for those with disabilities looking to start a business.
Here, visitors can take advantage of an assortment of free business resources such as counseling and classes such as how to use Quickbooks and how to write a business plan.
We mentioned this organization in our business resources in Seattle and guide, but for those of you who don’t know, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is a non-profit organization created in 1953, to help small business owners “pursue the American dream” by providing them with counseling, capital, and contracting expertise.
Since its founding, it has since been the only cabinet-level federal agency to date to provide these free resources.
In addition to providing free business resources, the SBA also pairs local businesses with mentors from organizations such as SCORE and the Small Business Development Center. They also give businesses the chance to pitch to a variety of banks, certified development companies, and alternative lending sources one-on-one.
At this time, for those looking to practice their pitching skills, the SBA will be hosting a Lender Matchmaking Event on October 1st, 2019 from 9:30 am to 12:00 pm CDT.
The Houston Inventors Association is an organization geared to helping inventors in Houston get their ideas to market from hosting guest speakers to speak about their first-hand knowledge and experiences with patenting their ideas and inventions to offering networking sessions so that “inventors could help inventors” for many years to come such as understanding the differences between design and utility patents.
In the meantime, for those who wish to take advantage of Houston’s one and only inventor’s group, the next presentation will take place on Wednesday, September 11, 2019, [7:00]-[9:00] P.M. CDT starring Mike Gillespie of Brite Ideas. For this presentation, he will be discussing product design, graphics, and invention development. Especially in relation to toys and lawn and garden products.
Serving as one of Houston’s only food-centered marketing groups, the Food & Restaurant Entrepreneurship Society of Houston (FRESH) is for entrepreneurs, investors, developers, marketers, designers, strategists, researchers, and engineers looking to, “ grow existing ventures, brainstorm new ideas, learn from industry experts, and get connected with others in the area.”
Founded on Apr 18, 2016, the group hosts a series of speakers, panels, workshops, and many others every two months to help those looking to bring their food-related ideas to market. Although the group primarily focuses on product development (e.g., software, consumer packaged goods, supply chain, agritech), all are welcome to attend.
For those looking to get more involved with this group, FRESH will be hosting a Texas Singles Mixer 2019 on Thursday, September 12, 2019, from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm CDT.
Short for Finance Astute Capital Entrepreneurship, F.A.C.E is a financial planning organization that hosts free workshops 2-3 times a month for those looking to build both their financial literacy skills and their Chinese language learning skills all at the same time!
According to their Meetup page, F.A.C.E., “trains all skill levels on how money works, reduce taxes, how compounding interest works to increase your personal wealth and protecting those things most valuable to you and your family.” This way, even the most novice business owner can get a head start getting out of the rat race.
For those who wish to attend any of their sessions, F.A.C.E. meets every Wednesday at 7 PM CDT, Saturday at 10 AM CDT, and Saturday [1:30] PM for those who want all of their instructions in Mandarin Chinese.
An affiliate of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance (WBEA) is a non-profit organization that serves to help women-led businesses succeed in today’s competitive market by offering them scholarships, mentoring programs, networking activities, and educational opportunities.
Headquartered in Houston, the Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance has served over 94 counties in Texas since its inception in 1995.
On the first Fridays of every month, the WBEA hosts a training session on How To Get WBENC/WBE Certified. For those looking to get their business certified, the next training session will take place on Friday, October 4, 2019, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.
While most female-centered spaces revolve around motherhood (i.e.Stroller Strides) or leisure-based activities (i.e. the salon or BYOB painting studios), here at Sesh Coworking, women of all different backgrounds can have the opportunity to build up their inventor and/or entrepreneurial skills while enjoying some relaxation time from graphic designers to lawyers.
Once a month, the group meets up at a local coffee shop to network and collaborate with one another as is the case with their Coffee and Coworking event.
According to their FAQ, “The only prerequisite to joining is a supportive and open attitude.” For those looking for a supportive network of professional women-led business owners, Sesh Coworking is a good starting place!
At this time, they are in the middle of creating their female-focused coworking space. For those who wish to partake in it, the group is currently holding a waiting list.
Founded in 1992 in Silicon Valley by a group of successful entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and senior professionals, The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) in Houston, TX has since devoted their time to helping entrepreneurs of all industries succeed in today’s competitive.
Since its initial inception, the group has provided entrepreneurs with mentoring, networking, education, funding, and incubation in the area by hosting a variety of programs such as Special Interest Groups (SIGs), TiE Institute, Deal Flow Meetings, TiE Young Entrepreneurs, and, most recently, TiE Women’s Forum and CEO Forum. They are also the proud leaders of TiECon, which is considered “the largest professional conference for entrepreneurs” across America.
At this time, the group contains approximately 11,000 members, including over 2,500 charter members in 60 chapters across 17 countries. So there’s no question as to how influential this group is.
Houston Exponential (HX) is a non-profit organization created to help local companies and other businesses grow at a reasonable pace and educate kids in grades K-12 to understand the fundamentals of starting a business, being financially literate, and coding.
HX also offers open pitch practice dates for those who want to practice their pitching skills.
Meanwhile, for those who are interested in touring the facility, Houston Exponential will be hosting an open house event on Friday, September 6th at 7:00 pm
We mentioned SCORE a number of times on our previous resource articles, but for those of you who don’t know, SCORE is a non-profit organization geared to provide entrepreneurs with an assortment of free to reduced cost resources such as confidential business mentoring (in person or via email) and speakers to help groups tailor their presentations to the right groups.
The Houston Chapter was established in 1965. Since then, they have more than 130+ volunteers covering the 9-county Greater Houston Area.
For those of you who want to take advantage of any of their resources, SCORE Houston will be hosting a small business TAX workshop on September 25, 2019, at 10:00 am CDT.
Also, just recently, one of the Houston Chapter members, Justin Patterson, bought a food truck and reserved a business name, Tastee Buddies.
GEM is a group of scientific startup mentors geared to provide technical & commercial guidance to early-stage startups for those who are interested in catering to those who wish to focus on helping those in the energy industry.
Since 2017, the group has helped startups pitch to Angel or Series A investors.
For those who want to receive help from any of these mentors, each group must already have their piece of energy-efficient technology in place as either a process, equipment or software.
Located in the TMC Innovation Institute, TMCx is huge healthcare and biomedical accelerator that focuses itself on, “advancing the development of health and medical technology companies by connecting visionary entrepreneurs to the abundant resources of the Texas Medical Center.”
Since its initial founding, the accelerator has since provided startup companies with shared workspace, a curriculum tailored to the needs of health care entrepreneurs and the guidance of over 200 advisors ranging from software patent attorneys to HIPAA experts without having to pay membership fees or equity sharing.
In order to qualify for any of the programs, each group must have at least one working prototype and one founder located in Houston during the duration of the program (generally speaking).
OwlSpark Accelerator is a Rice University summer accelerator that was founded in 2012 designed to teach tech students the fundamentals of entrepreneurship by pairing them with mentors and having them present their startups during the Bayou Startup Showcase, alongside RED Labs.
Since 2013, 125 founders have launched 47 startups through OwlSpark including, but not limited to Dash innovations and Lily Spec.
For those looking for a challenging program to help them understand the fundamentals of entrepreneurship, definitely join this program!
RED Labs is the University of Houston’s very own leading coworking space, startup accelerator, and technology entrepreneurship program. Supported by the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship, this organization works with UH-affiliated founders (faculty, students, and recent alumni of the past 6 months) to turn their startup ideas into reality so that they too can have a shot at changing the world for the better.
According to the website, “Every Winter and Summer the group offers short courses to students and faculty. These courses consist of two workshops: an opening workshop and a closing workshop. At the opening workshop, members learn about the methodology of start-ups. At the closing workshop, they present their findings from their customer interviews.”
In other words, rather than learning about business and entrepreneurship in the sanctity of closed-minded professors, the accelerator instead encourages its members to go above and beyond.
For those looking to take their experience even further, students and staff can also participate in Side Hustle panels and pitch competitions offered by RED Labs accelerator.
Founded by two passionate women-led business owners while taking a backpacking trip in Malaysia, Monarq Incubator is an incubator for women-led business owners looking to gather funding while improving upon their entrepreneurship skills.
Here at the incubator, owners can take advantage of the incubator’s multiple amenities, including but not limited to free SendGrid’s email marketing, free up to $100K AWS credits, and 90% off HubSpot marketing & sales.
Best of all, members do NOT have to pay for equity for participating in any of the incubator’s programs!
At this time, they are accepting applications for their Cohort IV session so if you would like to practice your pitch skills, check out their sample video down below!
Launch Effect Houston is a hip and lively incubator based in uptown Houston that offers fellow innovators affordable cleaning services, in-house meals, mentors and many other amenities necessary in helping them stand out from the crowd!
Popular amongst engineers, developers, and researchers, Launch Effect offers a vast network of mentors to utilize. It also offers a variety of opportunities and classes for fellow entrepreneurs to take advantage of such as entrepreneurship competitions, hackathons, culture classes, and much more!
At this time, their application portal isn’t open. Nevertheless, for those who are interested in learning more about Launch Effect Houston, definitely check back on the site at least once a month.
Founded in 2009 to give fellow innovators the skills and opportunities to succeed in and outside of the incubator, the Innovation Underground (IU) is a privately-owned business incubator located in historic downtown Bryan, TX that caters to all local businesses of different backgrounds.
This incubator was started by the Advent GX team in order to, “establish a network for rural revitalization” that benefits all businesses as opposed to just the big Fortune 500 companies.
To do so, they’ve provided entrepreneurs with classes on…
Utilizing social media
Understanding intellectual property protection (aka. Patents, trademarks, and so on)
Creating effective business strategies such as utilizing business model canvas
Building fundraising models
Implementing design thinking strategies
And much more!
At this time, fellow freelancers can take advantage of the IU’s Creative Space coworking space so that they too can succeed in today’s competitive market.
A newcomer to the innovator scene, Cannon Ventures is a local Houston seed funding group that offers its members free workspace, fractional executives on contract, and a series of programs designed to help fellow entrepreneurs connect with customers, mentors, institutional funding, partners, and other resources once they are accepted in the program.
Rather than simply “giving successful unicorns free unicorns”, investors at Cannon Ventures work tirelessly with each and every single qualified company so that once they’re out of the program, they too can succeed in today’s competitive market.
For those who wish to become an investor for Cannon Ventures, investors can pay up to $1,500 a year to do so.
“Capitalizing On The Proven Value Of Gender Diversity,” The Artemis Fund is a female-focused seed funding organization in Houston, Texas, that focuses on providing capital to successful unicorns led by female business owners.
Its leaders consist of…
Stephanie Campbell – The Managing Director of the Houston Angel Network, one of the most active angel networks in the country.
Leslie Goldman – She practiced as a corporate lawyer for over 25 years. And has invested in over 40 early-stage, high-growth companies, and venture funds.
Diana Murakhovskaya – The co-founder of the Monarq Incubator, the first national, funding focused incubator curated for women-led startups.
At this time, they are currently accepting applications for women-led business owners across America.
A longtime supporter of independent, local business owners, the Houston Public Library provides its members with books, conferences, and a digital creative space that offers its users…
3D Printers (Cura, Matter Control, Print Studios)
An embroidery machine (Creative DRAWINGS)
A virtual reality headset with iPod touch
And much more!
As of recently, the city made plans to create a “comprehensive library system with 7 Full-service Libraries, 17 TECHLinks, 23 Neighborhood Libraries, 7 HPL Express Locations,” and many other amenities created to give innovators of all different ages and generations a chance to stand out from the crowd.
When it comes to bringing ideas and inventions to market, there’s no question that the patent filing process can be so confusing to navigate.
That is why here at Bold Patents, we exist to help our clients through the legal processes of intellectual property in Houston. This way, they too can get their innovations to market as quickly, safely, and efficiently as possible.
Because they focus only on patents, they are able to find the lawyer(s) that best fit a certain company’s needs.If you would like to know more about what a patent is and what the steps for finding the patent that’s right for your invention, then check out this article on what is a patent.
There you have it! The top 23 resources for inventors and entrepreneurs in Houston:
Rice University – One of the nation’s top private universities for beginner entrepreneurs
University of Houston – A lifelong supporter of innovation in and outside of the classroom and top patent advocate
Offices for Small Businesses
Small Business Development Center, Houston, TX – Providing free resources to innovators such as free parking and virtual assisting since 1984
US Small Business Administration, Houston, TX – A proud supporter of SCORE and the Small Business Development Center in Houston, TX
Houston Inventors Association – “Inventors helping inventors” in Houston
FRESH – Perfect for the ultimate foodie looking to take their passions to the next level
F.A.C.E. – Great for practicing your Chinese while learning more about financial literacy
Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance (WBEA) – A non-profit organization that serves to help women-led businesses succeed in today’s competitive market by offering them scholarships, mentoring programs, and many other business educational opportunities
Sesh Coworking – A great way for female business owners to connect with one another
TiE Houston – Made in Silicon Valley to help Houston innovators connect and invest their time with one another
Houston Exponential – A great place to learn about financial literacy for any innovator out there in Houston
SCORE Houston – One of the nation’s top non-profit organizations that are run primarily by business volunteers
Global Energy Mentors (GEM) – A proud supporter of helping energy-efficient business owners save the planet
TMCx – A medical accelerator in Houston, TX
Owl Spark Accelerator – Rice University’s very own summer accelerator
Red LABS Accelerator – The University of Houston’s very own year-round accelerator
Monarq Incubators – The nation’s very first incubator for women-led business owners
Launch Effect Houston – A great place for engineers, designers, and researchers to combine business and technology in a safe, convenient setting
Innovation Underground – A huge supporter of independent business owners and freelancers looking to stand out from the Houston crowd!
Seed Funding And Venture Capital
Cannon Ventures – A seed funding group that does more than “throw money at problems in hopes they’d be fixed”
The Artemis Fund – Houston’s very first seed funding group for women-led businesses
Houston Public Library – A great place to find business resources and create the inventions of your dreams using the library’s own creative makerspace
Houston Patent Attorneys
Bold Patents – Your future go-to place for all of your patent needs!
Now tell us, what do you think of these resources? Are there any others that you recommend that we add to our list? Let us know in the comments below!
Legal Note: This blog article does not constitute legal advice. Although the article was written by a licensed USPTO patent attorney there are many factors and complexities that come into patenting an idea. We recommend you consult a lawyer if you want legal advice for your particular situation. No attorney-client or confidential relationship exists by simply reading and applying the steps stated in this blog article.