Innovating Fort Worth by empowering local innovators and entrepreneurs
By Libby Maness
Cameron Cushman believes in the power of entrepreneurship and innovation. After all, without it, The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth wouldn’t exist. He has spent his entire career encouraging people to believe in big ideas, just as he does.
Cushman puts it simply: “If we don’t promote innovation, then we cannot continue to grow as a community.” This is why he jumped at the chance to join HSC in 2017.
“President Williams approached me and told me he thought there was a missing piece in entrepreneurial development at HSC and that he wanted to do something about it,” Cushman said.
Now as the Assistant Vice President, Innovation Ecosystems, he is a valuable member of HSC Next, a team dedicated to supporting the entrepreneurs and innovators on the HSC campus and in Fort Worth. HSC Next brings experience, knowledge, resources and connections to the brilliant minds of innovators and entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into reality.
HSC Next recently launched an Innovation Challenge initiative where anyone can submit ideas to the different challenges sponsored by HSC Next or affiliated partners. To participate, applicants can submit ideas to the different challenges posted at the Innovation Challenge website. Every applicant receives feedback, and semi-finalists are chosen based on the idea’s potential to become a new commercial product or business. Each semi-finalist will receive coaching on the next steps to prepare a pitch for their idea in hopes of receiving further mentorship, funding and other resources through HSC Next.
“We have begun to change the conversation around innovation and entrepreneurship as a growth strategy in Fort Worth,” Cushman said. “We have shown people the importance, value and power of big ideas.”
The Innovate Fort Worth podcast has been an irreplaceable tool to showcase the importance of innovation by featuring local innovators and entrepreneurs. It provides a platform for individuals to share their incredible stories and ideas with the community.
In addition to his podcast, Cushman established Global Entrepreneurship Week in Fort Worth. This weeklong event was created to allow entrepreneurs to come together to share their ideas and highlight local startups.
Through his work on the HSC Next team, Cushman consistently emphasizes the importance of supporting the people with the big ideas.
“The best part of my job is working with people who see the world in a different way”, Cushman said. “They are the ones who are changing the world.”