UHV associate professor brings academic research to SBDC
For more than a decade, the University of Houston-Victoria School of Business Administration and the Small Business Development Center have had an ongoing partnership combining academic business research with the practical side of running a business.
One of the SBDC's main goals is helping new businesses start and existing businesses expand through a combination of consulting and training. Under the umbrella of the UHV business school, the SBDC also provides outreach on behalf of the school.
David Summers, a UHV associate professor of entrepreneurship, is the person who bridges the gap between the academic side of the business school and the practical side of business the UHV SBDC deals with daily.
"One of my passions is entrepreneurship and its role in economic development," he said. "This falls squarely with the UHV SBDC because that is their primary role."
Summers has been at UHV since 2002 and has worked with the UHV SBDC just as long. He was the primary developer of the Master of Science in Economic Development and Entrepreneurship degree offered by the UHV School of Business Administration. Several of the UHV SBDC business advisers are graduates of the program.
His role behind the scenes at the SBDC is to bring academic research to the business advisers to help them be more effective and efficient with customers. Sometimes this involves a round table discussion in which the business advisers talk about what they see going on in the business world, and Summers discusses the research he has read and his experience, SBDC Director Joe Humphreys said.
"The business advisers are the ones in the field," Summers said. "So it's not my job to direct what they do with their customers but to integrate academic research into how they can better help their customers succeed."
A recent research project involved how to improve the life span and odds of success for a startup business. Summers met with the SBDC advisers in June to discuss using the business model as the first step with a new customer.