Program Overview

Are you a change-maker with a new innovative idea? A later-stage startup working on your Series-B? An investor hoping to quickly access promising startups or a startup advocate wanting to get engaged in the entrepreneurial community? The Rice Alliance is your resource and connector. Through various programs and events, we provide curriculum, support and connections for the entrepreneurial community.

People Networking

A community of entrepreneurs, go-getters and leaders

The Rice Alliance believes that an open and giving community is the way to grow great startups that move our world forward. We’re looking forward to supporting you on your entrepreneurial journey.

Proudly located at Rice University, a leading research institution that cares about innovation and entrepreneurship, we are housed within Rice Business, the university’s small and selective business school.  Its challenging and supportive learning culture has contributed to back-to-back #1 rankings in entrepreneurship. Resources, such as events, pitch competitions, mentoring and workshops, are offered to current students, alumni and startups from around the world not affiliated with Rice. Ready to get involved and get engaged, check out the programs below! 

Idea Stage Entrepreneurs

  • For thinkers and doers who are ready to solve problems and turn ideas into potential businesses, IdeaLaunch is a learn by doing startup bootcamp offered twice a year that helps teams examine their idea, research, or innovation for market fit. Learn more about IdeaLaunch.

  • Programs facilitate the commercial evaluation of academic research and innovation, and develop potentially eligible teams for the National NSF I-Corps™ Program and a $50,000 I-Corps™ team grant. Rice Alliance is the home for the Southwest I-Corps node. Learn more about SWICorps

Early Stage Entrepreneurs

  • 12-week accelerator that provides hands-on entrepreneurship experiences and a roadmap from innovation to commercialization for technology startups and small businesses. The OwlSpark Startup Accelerator combines two tracks of customized programming for either a high-growth tech startup or a small business from any industry (formerly called the BlueLaunch Small Business Accelerator). Learn more about OwlSpark

  • Provides access to a network and curriculum to prepare startups to quickly accelerate their business, launch pilots and fundraise. Learn more about the Rice Alliance Clean Energy Accelerator.

  • The largest and richest student startup competition providing access to $1M in prizes and mentorship. Learn more about RBPC.

Any Stage Entrepreneurs

  • An immersive entrepreneurship experience with a trip to Silicon Valley and meetings with startups, investors and the entrepreneurial community. Learn more about Ignite Trek.

  • In partnership with the University of Oslo, each spring the Rice Alliance hosts a group of graduate students that are pursuing a masters in entrepreneurship at various universities in Norway.  These curious and ambitious young scholars take an entrepreneurship course at Rice and are placed in startups throughout Houston for a 10-week internship, living the ins-and-outs of the startup life.  Norwegian students must apply and be accepted to this program.

For Investors, Partners and the Community

  • Send us an email at and we’ll reach out to you. All of our judges are hand-picked, so we’ll want to know more about your background and interest to find a fit at the competition. Startups benefit from judges who are entrepreneurs and investors, providing them real-world experience. 

  • A membership to the Rice Alliance secures your ability to have access to exciting new businesses and technologies in the areas of life science, energy and clean technology, and information technology. This is an opportunity to show your support of our community of entrepreneurs and network with investors, entrepreneurs, business leaders and leading researchers. Become a member today

  • Support from the community is essential to enable the Rice Alliance to continue to assist early stage technology companies and support our technology entrepreneurship programs. Sponsors benefit from elevated brand awareness and intentional connections to an expansive, but tight-knit entrepreneurial community. Become a sponsor

  • The GCEC is the premier academic organization addressing the emerging topics of importance to the nation’s university-based entrepreneurship programs. It has become the vehicle by which the top, established entrepreneurship programs, as well as emerging programs, can work together to share best practices, develop programs and initiatives, and collaborate and assist each other in advancing, strengthening, and celebrating the role of universities in teaching the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. Rice Alliance is the management home for GCEC. 

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Rice Alliance unveils new office

Join us at an event!

In addition to our programs that provide more dedicated, longer-term support for startups and our community, we have numerous events that can quickly connect you to a new network. Through pitch opportunities, curated networking and top speakers, our events can help capitalize your ideas.