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Emmanuelle Schuler on Bauer Business Focus, July 1, 2011

Posted June 28th, 2011 - No Comments

Emmanuelle Schuler, director of the UH Center for Industrial Partnerships, dropped by Bauer Business Focus to discuss bringing research and innovation to market.

On Bauer Business Focus — A conversation on bringing research and innovation to market with Andrew Schneider, business reporter for KUHF 88.7 FM.

The University of Houston is breaking new ground in research, with its Center for Industrial Partnerships playing a vital role in pairing researchers with businesses to bring new technologies to market.

The goal of the center is to unite UH with start-ups, midsize companies, large corporations and non-profit organizations, all from various industries, including health, biotech, energy, cleantech, nanotech and bioimaging.

Industry partners can take advantage of the university’s powerful centers of creativity and innovation that house teams of renowned researchers from a wide range of disciplines, said Emmanuelle Schuler, director of the UH Center for Industrial Partnerships, during a recent visit to Bauer Business Focus.

“The way we like to work with our researchers is for them to contact us as soon as they think they have invented something with commercial potential,” Schuler said. “Not all research can be commercialized, but some of the research they are engaged in may have some value.”

Industry partners frequently approach the center to find out more about the latest technologies being developed on campus, she added.

“We have large companies come to campus and scout research that we have, and they try to identify what’s hot and what’s new,” Schuler said. “They have come to realize that there’s great potential in university research.”

Having a dedicated center to bring together researchers with businesses is integral to the success of a research university, she said.

“Researchers can’t do it alone, and universities can’t do it alone either.  In the business of innovation, companies need universities as much as universities need companies.”

Click here to hear the full interview.

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Kevin Barber on Bauer Business Focus, June 24, 2011

Posted June 22nd, 2011 - No Comments

Helping veteran-owned small businesses will alleviate the high unemployment rate for returning veterans, says Kevin Barber, CEO and founder of Veteran Energy.

On Bauer Business Focus — A conversation on how returning veterans can easily transition back into the workforce or own their own business with Andrew Schneider, business reporter for KUHF 88.7 FM.

While the job market has proved taxing for the general population, returning veterans are having an even tougher time getting their foot in the door.

Kevin Barber, CEO and founder of Veteran Energy, a Houston-area natural gas wholesale company that is transitioning into the retail electricity market, stopped by Bauer Business Focus to discuss giving veterans the resources to find their place in the workforce.

“The unemployment rate for veterans is quite a bit higher than it is out there for the general population,” Barber said. “It’s a problem, and if we can start and help veteran-owned small businesses to hire veterans, than we’ll help alleviate a lot of that situation.”

Barber, who spent three years in the U.S. Army in the Military Police Corps, said he understands the importance of being involved with organizations geared to help veterans in the job search.

“There’s getting to be a lot more resources available for returning veterans that want to start their own business,” he added. “There are many things that veterans can do to give them that edge in the marketplace, like getting involved in the different associations where you can start to see that daily flow of jobs, and build camaraderie, where you realize there are other guys out there that have gone through what you went through.”

With approximately 20,000 veterans living in the city of Houston, Barber is striving to give back to those who have served their country through his business and outreach.

“I think at the end of the day, Americans want to reward and thank these young men and women and veterans across the board for their service. It’s a feel-good thing to be able to support veterans and their businesses.”

Click here to hear the full interview.

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Robert Hormats on Bauer Business Focus, June 17, 2011

Posted June 14th, 2011 - No Comments

One way to create new job opportunities is for American companies to increase exports, says Robert Hormats, Under Secretary for Economic, Energy and Agriculture Affairs.

On Bauer Business Focus — A conversation on the U.S. trade agenda and how the U.S. Department of State is working to spur growth at home with Andrew Schneider, business reporter for KUHF 88.7 FM.

Although the United States has fallen slightly behind in the last decade in free trade agreements, the U.S. Department of State is working to strengthen the country’s export initiative.

Robert Hormats, Under Secretary for Economic, Energy and Agriculture Affairs, visited Bauer Business Focus recently to discuss the department’s National Export Initiative, which has a goal of doubling U.S. exports over the next five years and support 2 million new jobs.

“We have specifically designated officers in each embassy to work with American companies, both large and small, to help them navigate through the regulations of other countries and also to promote their exports,” Hormats said. “At home we’re working very actively with American companies to identify markets and potential export opportunities.”

The department is not only working on expanding our export horizons, he said, but they are fervently working to increase employment in a dire job market.

“As we know, the unemployment rate in this country is very high, and one of the opportunities for boosting job creation in the U.S. is to enable American companies to export more, particularly to the rapidly growing markets in East Asia and other parts of the world,” Hormats added.

In the last year, American exports increased 15-16 percent through the National Export Initiative, he said, adding that the department is hoping to double its numbers by increasing exports substantially.

“We’re really working hard to get two very important agreements through in Latin America, which are Colombia and Panama, and a very important agreement with Korea. By doing that, we will improve access for American companies in those markets that can boost exports substantially, and that has very beneficial effects on jobs.”

Click here to hear the full interview.

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Ryan Soroka on Bauer Business Focus, June 10, 2011

Posted June 6th, 2011 - 1 Comment

Ryan Soroka, co-founder of Eatsie Boys, a mobile restaurant and catering company, dropped by Bauer Business Focus to discuss marketing a niche business using social media.

On Bauer Business Focus — A conversation on using social media to market a niche business with Andrew Schneider, business reporter for KUHF 88.7 FM.

The phenomenon of food trucks as a hip, convenient way to grab a bite has spread throughout the country in recent years, making Houston one of its most recent pit stops. Once considered a less than savory option for dining, the food truck industry has undergone a transformation, now serving gourmet goods ranging from cupcakes to crepes.

The popularity of food trucks can be tied to the rise in use of social media, says Ryan Soroka, co-founder of Eatsie Boys, a mobile restaurant and catering company. Soroka graduated from the University of Houston with a joint master’s degree from the C. T. Bauer College of Business and the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management.

He visited Bauer Business Focus recently to discuss his marketing plan for the business and what’s next for him. Businesses of all kinds are using social media to connect to customers like never before, says Soroka.

“Social media is a great way to market and advertise your company, your brand, your events,” he adds. “It’s a great way to connect directly to your target customer — you can poll them, ask direct questions and reach out to them.”

Soroka uses Facebook, Twitter and an online blog to keep Eatsie Boys customers in-the-know about the truck’s schedule and location as well as special menu items of the day. He’s taking a similar approach as he plans to launch a craft brewery in the area, building connections with the community even before the business formally opens.

Although Soroka had the concept for his mobile restaurant early on, he refined the idea and learned how to turn it into a profitable business during his time at UH Bauer, where he studied entrepreneurship.

“Eatsie Boys came about through some friends of mine, but it really got fine-tuned and tangible in one of my entrepreneurship classes at the Bauer program,” he says. “We created a business plan for it, did a lot of market research. I had a very strong group who assisted me and helped make this dream — this concept — a reality.”

Soroka is no stranger to the food industry. Having spent his undergraduate years at Tulane University in New Orleans and interning at the Schmaltz Brewing Company in New York, Soroka has been able to experience many outlets of the food and beverage industry.

“I spent my summer with (Schmaltz Brewing Company) in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, doing everything from marketing to sales, off premise and on premise, and administrative tasks. I had my hands in everything, it was a great experience,” Soroka says.

The experience working in a brewery and in the hospitality management program at the Hilton College gave Soroka the tools he needed to launch a second project, a hand-crafted brewery that will open soon near the UH Campus.

“It originally started as a business plan for a brew pub which is a brewery and a restaurant, but through my research over the three years here at the University of Houston it evolved strictly to a craft brewery which is production and distribution of hand-crafted beer,” Soroka adds.

Click here to hear the full interview.

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