RampCorp launches women
By Mary Kincy
Sue Leininger was already the owner of an Austin-based management consulting business when she had the idea for a startup company whose solutions, she thought, would attract a major client in the trade association field.
She was wrong — and a course that has evolved into what is now known as RampCorp, a program of Texas State’s Office of Commercialization and Industry Relations, helped her to see that.
“I realized by the time I finished the year that it wasn’t such a great idea and that I needed to kind of rethink,” Leininger recalls.
Fueled by an entrepreneurial spirit, Leininger re-enrolled in the program in 2010 after it was reconceived as RampCorp, hoping instead to launch a materials, science and engineering company.
Less than a year later, she’s moving forward, filing paperwork for a provisional patent to protect her related intellectual property.
Entrepreneurs and their aspiring counterparts are the focus of RampCorp, an intensive, collaborative course of study that coaches its participants on the steps to selecting, launching and growing a scalable business. It also provides networking opportunities and specialized training based on individual business ideas. And it is designed specifically for women.
Terry Chase Hazell is the director of RampCorp. She says the program fits with the Office of Commercialization and Industry Relations’ goal to increase entrepreneurship in underrepresented groups.
Herself an entrepreneur whose roots in startups stretch back to her teenage years, Hazell is a staunch advocate of RampCorp and, most importantly, its results.
“By the end of the program, they will have greatly increased their personal networking for access to capital and, eventually, have launched a new business,” Hazell says.
RampCorp, which is launching its newest 30-week program soon, is currently accepting applicants. To qualify, women should be interested in entrepreneurship or in the early stages of an entrepreneurial effort, have a college degree, have significant work experience, and have been upwardly mobile leaders in that work experience. The cost of the program is $3,000, although some financial aid is available. Programs are offered in various cities.
Leininger likens the experience of RampCorp to that of a two-year MBA program, only “way more practical” in terms of its personal coaching.
“It’s been an amazing process for me,” she says.