Priorities:Prairie View A&M University Student Priorities

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Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) is a historically black university located in Prairie View, Texas, and is a member of the Texas A&M University System. Prairie View has a small innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem. There is a gap in the undergraduate involvement because of the lack of awareness of the resources that are readily available to them as well as the lack of opportunities to all of the various disciplines offered. The best way to fill this gap is to increase awareness and advocacy for other majors outside the College of Business, establishing an entrepreneurship residency program, and partnering with key contributors to the startup ecosystems in Austin and Houston, Texas. 

Strategy #1: To increase the financial literacy of the student community

Tactic #1: Develop and Launch F.U.N.D

F.U.N.D. is short for Finances Under New Direction, a program Prairie View A&M University Innovation Fellows developed to bring change to the generational debt and mishandled finances within the minority population. Although F.U.N.D. was created to help individuals that fall under the minority population, it will also help those that do not, alongside Prairie View A&M students and aspiring financial advisors, accountants, and future tax professionals. F.U.N.D. will increase financial literacy and knowledge across the board at Prairie View and spread not only amongst the school but across the city. F.U.N.D. will help address the lack of financial knowledge in the student and regional community, while also helping the university budget our money and help students understand where their money goes.

Strategy #2: Develop and reinforce student interest in Innovation and Entrepreneurship   

For communities where innovation and entrepreneurship aren't words you hear frequently and aren't the frequently trodden paths, it requires dedicated and concerted strategies in order to foster a community of individuals that value social impact through innovation.  

Tactic #1: Create exposure to opportunities in innovation at all student levels 

Through collaborative workshops and exercises such as 3 Day Startup, Design Thinking workshops, Freshman Introduction to Innovation and programs hosted by PV Wire, the University Innovation Fellows will inculcate groups within the student population with skills related to innovation and entrepreneurship and expose them to opportunities to create and support ventures beyond these programs. 

Tactic #2: Create a cyclical and sustainable innovation community and ecosystem 

Programs in Tactic #1 will create a long-standing dynamic within the innovation ecosystem to ensure that nascent students are learning and being mentored by experienced students and entrepreneurs. By doing this we will not only engage students but also faculty (who will assist with decision making and administration advocacy), entrepreneurs and players within the Houston & Austin VC & startup community to create a fully functioning and self-supporting ecosystem. 

Strategy #3: Increase matriculation into the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Academic Program 

Currently, Prairie View under the vision of Dr. Mcneil has established an Innovation and Entrepreneurship program (heretofore referred to as IEP) within the College of Business that provides students with the opportunity to obtain a minor and a certificate if the requirements are fulfilled. This is the university's main academic foray into innovation and entrepreneurship from a curriculum standpoint. This exists in a unique place within the nebula of the university's innovation ecosystem. The programs sponsored by PV Wire and UIF develops a seed of interest within the students while the academic program gives an open access to attitudes and skills in innovation backed by the governing body of the university. 

Tactic #1: Increased advocacy and pitching to disciplines outside of the College of Business 

This will give students outside of the business department an opportunity to learn about innovation and entrepreneurship. If the activities sponsored by the University Innovation Fellows such as the freshman Introduction to Innovation are paired with the curriculum then students of all disciplines are given an outlet to follow up on their interests. In order for the ecosystem to be self-sustaining, it requires students of all disciplines to be working in tandem, which requires advocacy by the different colleges especially those that might not inject free thinking and collaborative exercises within their course loads. This also exists as a unique opportunity to improve critical thinking abilities and receive academic credit which will make students well rounded problem solvers regardless of field or passion. 

Tactic #2: Restructure STEM Courses to Incorporate Discussion Groups

The purpose of this tactic is to help foster innovation curriculum in the classrooms. The discussion groups will convene and discuss current innovation processes and services in the field related to their courses. The professors will discuss innovations related to the curriculum being taught and as a result, the students can think of ideas to create solutions to current problems or improve upon existing projects. The discussion groups can be graded based on participation or completion of a related project.

Strategy #4: Establish an Entrepreneurship Residency program to provide resources that aid in growth and support for student founders

Tactic #1: Identify budding entrepreneurs that have established ventures, but need support 

By identifying entrepreneurs who have ideated and taken the first steps to bring their ideas to fruition, our responsibility then is to provide resources such as a workspace for prototyping so that they have the tools within the university to iterate and reach the full potential of their ventures. The university providing resources to create lowers some hesitation and risk within entrepreneurship and student ventures will be supported by the knowledge that floods the IEP program and the ecosystem. Ecosystem support will result in the realization of more successful ventures thereby contributing to the ecosystem by establishing proof of concept for the program hosted by UIF and knowledge taught through IEP thereby inspiring more founders. 

Tactic #2: Partnering players within the startup ecosystem in Austin and Houston to provide mentorship and learnings 

Tactic #2 will be accomplished by tactic #2 in strategy #1. The goal with this tactic is to provide budding entrepreneurs with the context and expertise of entrepreneurs that are in their local communities. This will also create exit outcomes beyond the university for founders who want to follow through with their startup visions and eventually enter accelerators, other incubator programs, or continue bootstrapping their ventures. One major objective is to have a demo day where student founders can pitch their ventures to the campus and other forces in the innovation ecosystem.  

Tactic #3: Collaborate with the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program to create an in-house senior design capstone project 

We can create a feeder for the Entrepreneur in Residence by collaborating with the IEP program to create a capstone project for students pursuing the minor or certificate program. This will ensure that the Entrepreneurship in Residence program has continuity and that students who aren't established entrepreneurs can vie for entry into the program with an idea created as the capstone project and still receive support, resources and mentorship after the fact. 

Prairie View A&M University Landscape Canvas

Prairie View A&M University Landscape Canvas:

Mapping the assets of the Innovation & Entrepreneurship (I&E) ecosystem of Prairie View is a vital first step before determining what strategies will make a positive impact. The landscape canvas is a map of all of the resources available already existing on the campus. Below is a link to Prairie View's landscape canvas.

Related Links

Prairie View A&M Campus Overview:

Prairie View A&M University Student Priorities:

Change Story - L.I.V.E at Prairie View A&M University :


Nia Scott

Romaine Knight

Tiara Johnson

Olumide Longe


Jordan King


Ashley S. Kelsey


Kehlin Swain

Rebecca Faison

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