Accenture (NYSE: ACN) and The University of Texas at Austin announced today that Accenture has awarded the university's Texas Venture Labs (TVL) a $600,000 grant to help provide graduate students the skills they need to launch a business. TVL is an interdisciplinary education and research initiative designed to give students real-world experience in starting and sustaining new ventures.
The award, Accenture Venture Partners program, reflects the company's global corporate citizenship initiative, Skills to Succeed, which will equip 250,000 people around the world by 2015 with the skills to obtain a job or build a business. The three-year grant will provide support for 10 "Accenture Venture Partners," who are recent graduate school alumni. They will spend one year mentoring TVL student entrepreneurs, while working with the startup community to identify new business opportunities.
Since its inception in September 2010, 63 students have participated in the TVL program. The Accenture funding is expected to help the program expand its enrollment to 100 students.
"Innovation is a critical component to creating and running a high performance business," said Steve Rohleder, group chief executive of Accenture's Health and Public Service operating group and a University of Texas at Austin alumnus. "Supporting TVL helps bring to life Accenture's commitment to building skills. This grant will enable young entrepreneurs to develop new ideas and technologies that may ultimately lead to new products, companies or jobs."
"Our record is undisputed," said Rob Adams, TVL director. "A recent Kauffman Foundation report recognized The University of Texas at Austin as one of the top 10 schools for producing founders of start-up companies. Accenture's involvement will help take us to the next level."
As part of Accenture's commitment, its employees will offer volunteer consulting and mentoring to students studying business, engineering, law and natural sciences. The company will also provide eight experts each year as judges at the university's annual Global Venture Labs Investment Competition, where up to 40 business start-up teams from schools around the world compete for investment dollars and technology incubation.
"Accenture employees are highly motivated and have a genuine passion for giving back to the community," said Andrew Vo, Accenture Senior Executive and a McCombs School of Business alumnus. "Through our sponsorship of the TVL program, we will be able to provide Accenture employees with rewarding opportunities to share relevant experiences and help young entrepreneurs confidently build the skills required to successfully develop, launch and run their own businesses."
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with about 236,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world's most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of $25.5 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2011.