“Pathways to Entrepreneurship” Launches in the College of Fine Arts

Pathways to Entrepreneurship


This spring, the College of Fine Arts and the School of Design and Creative Technologies are launching “Pathways to Entrepreneurship,” a new program designed to build community and bring together like-minded entrepreneurs, creative students and faculty through events, programming and mentorship.

“The era of the starving artist is over,” said Jan Ryan, Director of Creative Entrepreneurship and Innovation. “We want to empower and inspire Longhorn creatives to turn their passion for arts and culture into viable, sustainable enterprises.”

Pathways to Entrepreneurship will launch with two signature event series in the spring, and is open to the broader UT community: 

  • Monthly Speaker Series: The program features successful entrepreneurs and creative leaders from different industries who share their stories to empower more creatives to find their own pathways to a successful future. The speaker series events take place 6 to 7:30 p.m. in The Foundry on the third floor of DFA in the Fine Arts Library. 
    • Feb. 22: Featuring Mass Relevance Founder Sam Decker and Chez Boom Audio Founder Shayna Brown, husband and wife entrepreneurs in Austin. Emmy-nominated Brown is founder of Chez Boom Audio, an Austin-based post-production sound studio. She has worked on more than a hundred Hollywood movies and TV shows, and she was part of the sound team that won the Academy Award for Best Sound for the movie Gravity. Decker is an industry-recognized digital technologist and serial entrepreneur. His company Mass Relevance merged with Spredfast, and as CMO of BazaarVoice, he grew the company to 500 clients and $50 million before going public. Earlier in his career he led Dell’s consumer website and built Dell.com into the largest consumer eCommerce site with $3.5 billion in annual sales.
    • March 22: Randy Hunt, Chief Design Officer of Artsy and previously head of Design at Etsy
    • April 24: Steve Vassallo, Partner at Foundation Capital, author of The Way to Design and a former entrepreneur and IDEO engineer.


  • Lunch & Learn Series: These lunchtime events will be held periodically throughout the spring semester, bringing together smaller groups of students and faculty around entrepreneurial topics for design, the arts and creative technologies.
    • Lunch & Learn will launch March 7, from 11:30 to 1:00 p.m., with Liz Deering, founder of Impact Haven and co-founder of The Un.Incubator. Deering will cover the topic “Originals: The Creative Entrepreneur” and host an interactive discussion of what it’s like to launch a company in a creative industry. An experienced entrepreneur, Deering currently runs an incubator for creative professionals who desire to launch companies around their craft.
    • Future topics and dates for future Lunch & Learn events will be announced soon.

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Jan. 29, 2018