University Economic Development Association


SURE-Stimulating Urban Renewal through Entrepreneurship

Award Category: Innovation + Talent
Project Site: SURE-Stimulating Urban Renewal through Entrepreneurship
Submitted By: University of Houston
Contact: Saleha Khumawala, Professor of Accounting and Founding Director, SURE Program, 713.743.4829


SURE™ – Stimulating Urban Renewal through Entrepreneurship is a program at the Bauer College of Business, University of Houston. It provides an educational platform which facilitates a value-added partnership between UH students, experts from industry, and entrepreneurs from under-resourced communities. The way SURE™ works is complex but intuitive: approximately 30 students are trained for three weeks on how to consult, then on the fourth week, each student is assigned five current or aspiring entrepreneurs. SURE™ invites subject matter experts to lecture over their fields of business expertise, including accounting, personal finance, supply chain, marketing, business financing, and law. The students and entrepreneurs form synergistic partnerships, as each student engages in one-on-one consulting to help their entrepreneurs develop a business plan and pitch. Through this process, SURE™ Program works to serve Houston area entrepreneurs from under-resourced communities. What defines these communities is underrepresentation or lacking in educational services, financial services, and the informal networks that make it easier to start a business. To date, nearly 200 businesses have been launched through SURE™, and over 1,000 people have been trained in financial literacy, business basics, and entrepreneurships. A 2016 impact study (currently being updated in partnership with JPMorgan Chase) validated the hypothesis that most SURE™ entrepreneur participants are under-resourced and receive huge benefits from participating. The success of and demand for SURE™ is evidenced by the fact that each cohort of entrepreneurs is over 90% alumni referrals. Similarly, over half of each cohort returns to the program to lecture and volunteer.