Stop us when this sounds familiar:
Brilliant entrepreneur heads to college. Brilliant entrepreneur creates a startup. Brilliant entrepreneur drops out of college early to become a multi-millionaire.
But this script doesn’t belong to Silicon Valley or Mark Zuckerberg: it’s one that a couple of Tigers wrote back in the 1870s.
Meet brothers Robert Sylvester Munger and and Stephen Ingram Munger, Trinity entrepreneurship’s pair of patron saints. The Munger boys were thrown a curveball early on in their lives, as their father became incapacitated during their college days and their family needed them to come home and care for the farm and cotton gin operation.
So, Robert and Stephen dropped out of Trinity, and revolutionized the cotton industry. They created a new cotton gin machine that required no manual labor. Ridiculed for the idea by their neighbors, the pair spent decades pitching their idea to cotton companies to no avail. So, they started their own company in 1885, which would eventually become the Continental Gin company, the largest cotton gin manufacturing operation in the U.S.
Flash forward to the present day, and Trinity entrepreneurship has carried forward in this same daring spirit, with one twist: our entrepreneurs don’t have to wait to leave school to launch their startups.
Right now, Tigers are creating ingenious medical devices to tackle America’s opioid crisis, building powerful data models to improve international agriculture, and their digital, 21st-century skills are driving San Antonio’s booming tech and startup scene.
Entrepreneurship has grown from a small individual class offered in 1996 to a full-fledged minor in 2007, and has flourished with the creation of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in 2010. Now, the department offers a major and is housed in the state-of-the-art Center for the Sciences and Innovation. Trinity sees more than 200 students, representing 44 out of the University’s 47 majors, take entrepreneurship courses each year.
The department launched the Stumberg Venture Competition in 2015, which has since handed out more than $215,000 dollars in seed money to more than 20 startups. In total, Trinity entrepreneurs have founded 44 startups, with 29 still active.
At Trinity, we’ve recognized that entrepreneurship takes toughness and tenacity from day one. Here, concepts like creativity, opportunity identification and evaluation, design and innovation, financing, strategy, marketing, and new venture development aren’t just words on a whiteboard.
So if you missed the Mungers’ story, don’t worry:
You’ll be here for the next big Trinity startup, because our entrepreneurs are already embarking on their next adventure.