The Stimulating Urban Renewal through Entrepreneurship (SURESM) program in the Musa and Khaleda Dakri Center for Economic Inclusion at the C. T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston has received a $500,000 grant from the PNC Foundation to support the program’s growth and extend outreach into the Houston community.
“Special thanks to the PNC Foundation for creating this partnership to help our community and strengthen the University of Houston,” said Eloise Brice, vice president for the Division of Advancement and Alumni.
The grant from the PNC Foundation, in addition to supporting the SURE SM Program, will also provide support for the Houston Childcare Opportunity, Outreach and Growth System (COOGS) program, which provides training for entrepreneurs.
“I am pleased to see the PNC Foundation invest in the SURESM program given its impact on the Houston community,” Bauer College Dean Paul A. Pavlou said. “By committing to the future of the SURESM program, Bauer College’s impact on the community grows further, showing that everyone can start a business with the right support and guidance.”
The grant will help support operations for the SURESM program, and students will receive laptops for the semester as they work toward building their business plan.
Houston COOGS, a complementary SURESM education curriculum along with the College of Education and the Hobby School of Public Affairs that provides resources that are relevant to the childcare business will launch in Spring 2024 with additional funding from the Houston-Galveston Area Council and the Texas Workforce Commission.
“I’m proud of the impact that we have made with the SURESM program, and I’m excited to see where it continues to go,” Executive Director of the Dakri Center for Economic Inclusion and Founding Director of the SURESM Program Saleha Khumawala said. “With PNC Foundation’s support, we will be able to provide access to laptops to the entrepreneurs in the program so they can use technology to launch and scale their businesses, as well as further our support to Houston COOGS, which only helps grow our impact on the community.”
The multi-sided program gives students the opportunity to serve as consultants, and each student works with three to four local Houston business owners to manage the process of taking their business from idea to launch. Since 2012, the program has helped launch 800 businesses.
“Houston is a city with innovative ideas and promising entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds and economic levels. We want to see these ideas grow with effective execution and the SURESM program offers support with the right tools and knowledge,” PNC Regional President for Houston Julie Young Sudduth said. “This support can create meaningful change and contribute to the overall economic development in our community. Valuable ideas should not languish because there is a lack of support.”
The PNC Foundation supports a variety of nonprofits that support early childhood education and economic development and emphasizes support to organizations that work to achieve sustainability and touch a diverse population. Through PNC Grow Up Great®, its signature cause that began in 2004, PNC has created a bilingual $500 million, multiyear initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life.
“When we think about our commitment to the Houston community, we try to see the big picture. The role of entrepreneurship in economic development is very important,” Sudduth added. “Entrepreneurs don’t just build businesses, they also create new jobs and opportunities, drive innovation, and develop new products and services. They have the power to shape our future in a positive way and at PNC, we thrive when the Houston community prospers.”
For more information about the SURESM program, click here.