The Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship is an entrepreneurship program at Rice University in Houston, Texas, United States.[1] The mission of the Rice Alliance is to provide entrepreneurship education and support the commercialization of technology and non-technology innovations and the creation of new companies in Texas, specifically the Houston region.

The Rice Alliance was launched in 1999 as a strategic alliance of three schools at Rice University: the George R. Brown School of Engineering, the Wiess School of Natural Sciences, and the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management (Jones School).

Recent history

In 2007, the Rice Alliance was recognized as the Top Entrepreneurship Center in the U.S. for Enterprise Creation by the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers.[1]

Ernst & Young presented the Rice Alliance with the Entrepreneur of the Year Award for support of entrepreneurship in 2005.[citation needed] Small Times magazine (nanotechnology trade) ranked Rice University #1 in the U.S. among all universities in 2005 and #3 in 2006 in the commercialization of nanotechnology and creation of start-up technology companies.[citation needed]

In 2004, the Rice Alliance was awarded the Price Institute Innovation Entrepreneurship Educators Award by the Stanford Technology Ventures Program at Stanford University.[citation needed]

Outreach & economic development

Since inception in 1999, the Rice Alliance has assisted in the launch of more than 225 start-up technology companies that have raised more than $350 million in early stage funding. The Rice Alliance has conducted over 90 programs attended by over 22,000 individuals during the first six years.

The Rice Alliance assists companies in several ways, including:

  • Assessing the commercial potential of new technologies
  • Creating business plans
  • Developing venture presentations and elevator pitches
  • Obtaining funding
  • Building their management team

In total, more than 500 early-stage technology companies have been showcased at one of the Rice Alliance Technology Venture Forums. These companies include both Rice-affiliated and non-Rice affiliated ventures. Approximately 25 start-ups licensing Rice-developed technology innovations have been founded in the last eight years. These diverse companies stem from energy technology, life sciences, information technology, and nanotechnology. Four Rice University start-up companies were among the first six companies in Houston to receive grant funding from the Emerging Technology Fund from the state of Texas.

The Rice Alliance’s flagship program to encourage collaboration and networking among students, investors, entrepreneurs, mentors, and service providers is the Technology Venture Forum series. Each year, four venture capital forums are held in the following areas:

  • Energy and Clean Technology
  • Life Sciences
  • Nanotechnology
  • Information Technology

Non-credit courses

The Rice Alliance teaches several “non-credit” educational courses each year in technology entrepreneurship. For the last seven years, the Rice Alliance has held a “sold-out” two-day Technology Entrepreneurship Workshop course. This workshop provides a step-by-step approach to successfully launch and build a company.

In Fall 2007, in partnership with the Rice Executive Education program,[2] the Rice Alliance initiated a new intensive Life Science Entrepreneurship Certificate Program.


Rice University and the Jones School have nearly 20 entrepreneurship faculty members, including Dr. Ed Williams, ranked by Business Week as one of the top three entrepreneurship faculty in the United States.[citation needed] Williams and Dr. Al Napier published the recent book: Preparing an Entrepreneurial Business Plan. Napier received the 2008 national Acton Award for excellence in entrepreneurship education.[citation needed] The Jones School faculty also includes several venture capitalists and entrepreneurs including founders of Vanguard Ventures and DFJ Mercury (an affiliate of Draper Fisher Jurvetson).[citation needed]


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