Guidelines

OVERVIEW

The SMU Incubator is a dedicated business workspace in the Expressway Towers, located in Mockingbird Station.  The SMU Incubator exists to encourage and facilitate the formation and growth of new businesses by SMU students, faculty and staff.  The space provides a collaborative environment ideal for interaction with customers, mentors, and entrepreneurs.

Whether for profit or not-for-profit, technology-based, products or services, all types of entrepreneurial enterprises are welcome.

 

ELIGIBILITY

The SMU Incubator is a launch pad to advance companies in early development and start-up phases of a business.  This typically means that the company is pre-revenue.

The SMU Incubator is open to:

  • All interested graduate and undergraduate student-, faculty- and staff-run businesses comprised of a majority of enrolled SMU students and/or employed SMU faculty or staff.

There are a few student groups who, upon completion of an application, are automatically eligible to join the SMU Incubator.  They are team members who have won or placed in the annual:

  • Big iDeas Pitch and Business Plan Competitions
  • MBA Business Plan Competition

 

APPLICATION

To gain admission to the incubator, all interested prospective businesses must complete an application.  The application includes a description of the business, requested duration of time for residency in the SMU Incubator (year terms), and milestones to be achieved during the residency (quarterly updates).   SMU reviews and accepts businesses on a rolling basis, with decisions made within two weeks of submission.

Approved applicants participate in an orientation to receive general information, sign the SMU Incubator Use Agreement to confirm participation, and receive swipe access to the space.

Note:  SMU Incubator companies in good standing at the end of their residency may reapply for an extension of their right to use the SMU Incubator.

 

BENEFITS

The SMU Incubator provides a professional work environment for budding and seasoned SMU entrepreneurs with:

  • Furnished, secured space, open 24/7, with high speed internet, shared office equipment, and parking.
  • Mentorship: Each SMU Incubator company has potential access to mentors who can provide company-specific coaching and guidance, and help teams establish and achieve milestone targets.
  • Business, Law, Social Impact, Design Thinking, and Creative Support, Tech…support from the entire SMU entrepreneurship ecosystem.
  • SMU membership also includes the use of the Expressway Towers address.
  • Services may also include, access to expertise from the regional business community via the networking relationships of SMU and Expressway Towers, and inclusion in SMU Incubator and Expressway Towers press releases and social media postings.

 

USING THE SPACE

The Big iDeas program manages the SMU Incubator.  The Big iDeas Director is the point of contact for any administrative issues that arise by SMU students, faculty and staff.

SMU Incubator members and their guests are expected at all times to conduct themselves in a business-like, professional manner, and to comply with terms stated in the SMU Incubator Guidelines, SMU Incubator Use Agreement, SMU Student Handbook, SMU Faculty Handbook and SMU University Policy Manual. See online versions.

With regards to incubator work expectations, companies agree to:

  • Use the space only for the purpose described and for the duration approved in the company’s application;
  • Team members will not share exclusive privileges to URLs allow for scheduling meeting rooms, events and other activities that will benefit their companies;
  • Teams will limit scheduling to 3 hours.  All requests for 3+ hours must be confirmed by the Big iDeas Administrator.
  • Regularly report on progress; and
  • Respect the management of the space, SMU Incubator, Expressway Towers Station building personnel, and the Expressway Towers businesses and entrepreneurs.

Failure to comply with any of the above may result in early termination from the incubator.

 

Accessing the SMU Incubator:

SMU Incubator members gain access through Expressway Towers access cards and passcodes.

  • Access cards are limited, up to 2 cards per SMU Incubator member’s company and passcodes are confidential. Cards and codes may not be shared with others.  SMU Incubator members may escort guests in for business purposes providing the guest signs in with SMU Incubator management.

Team members of a start-up may change over time.  Some may leave the company and new ones join.  Should this happen, the SMU Incubator company is required to provide a written notice to the SMU Incubator manager.  New team members are required to meet with the manager, and review and sign the SMU Incubator Use Agreement.

 

Discontinuing Use of the SMU Incubator:

SMU Incubator companies may discontinue their use of the SMU Incubator and their Expressway Towers membership at any time.  This could happen when a SMU Incubator company:

  • Comes to the end their residency and it does not want to renew, all that is needed is a short exit interview with the SMU Incubator manager and removal of all personal property from the premises.
  • Wants to discontinue membership prior to the end of its residency, the company must inform the SMU Incubator manager in person and provide a written notice of their departure.
  • Is in breach of its obligations, the company no longer qualifies for SMU Incubator use or Expressway Towers membership. The SMU Incubator manager will terminate the SMU Incubator Use Agreement and the SMU Incubator member’s company must remove all personal property and leave the premises immediately.

In all cases, SMU Incubator members, upon terminating their residency in the SMU Incubator, are required to return their access cards to have the initial set up fee returned.