Rice University Entrepreneur Society. Ideas to Action Organization. Students. Visions. Results.


About Rice ITA

Vision / Mission / Organization Description / Services


We envision a Rice campus:


Our mission is to create, maintain, and expand a student entrepreneurial organization that coordinates programs aimed at students from all academic backgrounds, with all levels of experience, and demanding all types of business advice. More specifically, our programs should:

Organization Description


While Rice ITA Entrepreneurship Organization has in recent years introduced a wealth of new programs to the Rice community, the organization itself extends back to the late 90s, when engineering students first came together to found a club that helped them transform their technology ideas into businesses. Rice ITA Entrepreneurship Organization has retained this goal, but has broadened its target audience to include students from all academic disciplines, and has expanded its services to better account for every aspect of implementing a business idea.

The Rice ITA Entrepreneurship Organization of today originated two years ago, with John Varghese as president. At this point, the club had not established the programs it is known for now, but it had brought together many of the students who shape Rice ITA Entrepreneurship Organization into its present form. In particular, Taylor Johnson handled IT matters, and Sawyer Bonsib took responsibility of the clubs finances.

Taylor and Sawyer continued their solid commitment to the club through the 2005-2006 academic year as IT and financial advisors, while John Varghese graduated in the Spring of 2005 and selected James Rapore and Sahil Gujral to lead ITA as president and vice president, respectively. Many more new officers would join them to work on the ambitious projects undertaken that year.

In the fall semester, Rice ITA Entrepreneurship Organization rolled out its first new program of the year, Events, which hosts speaking events much as other student organizations do, but on an unprecedented scale. The club put on its two fall events, Journeys in Consulting and Rice to Riches, in the Shell Auditorium, making Rice ITA Entrepreneurship Organization the first undergraduate organization to ever use this impressive facility. The club also accompanied each event with a catered reception where attendees could meet and converse with speakers. For both of these events, over 200 undergraduates, graduate students, and professionals from the Houston area came to hear the speakers.

During the spring, Rice ITA Entrepreneurship Organization hosted two more speaking events, The Business of Beer and Wine and Entrepreneurship and Social Change, both met with similar success. In addition, the club launched two new programs: Dinners with Business Gurus and Mentorship for Entrepreneurship, giving students a wide variety of services and opportunities related to business and entrepreneurship. Finally, the club reached out beyond its own goals and programs by giving birth to an auxiliary organization, Ideas to Investing, and helping promote E on Fire!, another undergraduate social entrepreneurship organization. Ideas to Investing caters to students interested stocks and investing, and E on Fire! focuses on creating new colleges clubs oriented towards specific projects in social entrepreneurship.

Current Status

For the 2006-2007 academic year Tony Lieu and Kevin Daly will lead Rice ITA Entrepreneurship Organization as co-presidents, and Cleo Sham will serve as vice-president. James Rapore will continue to be involved with the club, but as a senior advisor. In addition, many officers will step up to chair our various programs. In light of how successful its programs were last year, the club will continue to expand Events, Dinners with Business Gurus and Mentorship for Entrepreneurship.

In particular, Rice ITA Entrepreneurship Organization plans to develop Mentorship for Entrepreneurship to focus its image on entrepreneurship and become more involved in starting student businesses. To further its commitment to entrepreneurship, the club will also launch a new program: The Student Entrepreneur Forum and Exchange, which will organize a series of roundtable discussions on entrepreneurship, and will culminate in an undergraduate business competition in the spring of 2007.

Future Goals

To make the organization sustainable and ensure its growth in the years to come, Rice ITA Entrepreneurship Organization is always thinking far into the future as well as in the present. First and foremost, it wishes to maintain all of its programs and to only increase the services it offers to the Rice community. The club also wants to connect and collaborate with other student entrepreneurial clubs in Houston and around the country. In particular, it foresees the business plan competition one day including teams from other schools, and offering prizes that are proportional to its large scale. Finally, Rice ITA Entrepreneurship Organization would like to retain more of its former officers as senior advisors, eventually creating a board of directors consisting of students and alumni.


To fully realize its vision, Rice ITA Entrepreneurship Organization runs programs that give students all types of advice in a diverse array of environments.


Beginning in 2005, Rice ITA Entrepreneurship Organization has hosted one to two major public speaking events every semester that typically draw over two hundred students and professionals. Following each event, the club holds catered receptions where attendees can mingle with speakers. The club intends each of the events to touch and inspire a maximum amount of students, and to give them opportunity for brief personal interaction with renowned entrepreneurs and business luminaries.

Dinners with Business Gurus

In the spring of 2006, Rice ITA Entrepreneurship Organization launched its Dinners with Business Gurus program, in which it hosted several small banquets a semester with capped attendance. For each banquet, the club invites one to two speakers to give a short presentation, after which speakers answer a few questions, and then sit down to have dinner with the attendees. The club created the Dinners program to complement the events program by permitting attendees more personal interaction with speakers, and allowing speakers to give presentations with a more niche appeal.

Mentorship for Entrepreneurship

Last semester, Rice ITA Entrepreneurship Organization recruited several accomplished professionals in the Houston area to serve as mentors for Rice students with developed businesses. Students coming into the program usually seek solutions to very specific business needs, so the club pairs them up with mentors from relevant fields. Mentors are often all too happy to oblige and assist budding entrepreneurs, and students receive free consultation on issues they otherwise would have to plod through themselves.

This coming semester, Rice ITA Entrepreneurship Organization will expand the program to involve students with less developed businesses and less experience in entrepreneurship. The club plans to hold a series of seminars on topics in entrepreneurship at the end of the fall, and possibly an entrepreneurship college course in the spring.

The Student Entrepreneur Forum and Exchange

This year, Rice ITA Entrepreneurship Organization has decided to launch a new program that aims to foster collaboration and promote healthy competition among students interested in entrepreneurship. To that end, the club will host a series of roundtable discussions where students and possibly professionals can discuss business ideas and bring their own ideas to the table for review. At the end of the year, students can develop their ideas into business plans and submit them for a much more formal review in front of a panel of judges in an undergraduate business plan competition. The club will award the top business plans with cash prizes.

Mission Statement

The Rice University Ideas to Action (ITA) entrepreneurial society was founded in 1997 and is today Houston's largest student entrepreneur organization.

Our core objectives are to deliver practical and timely resources to students at Rice University and throughout Houston interested in entrepreneurship, while remaining a sounding board for enterprise idea sharing and constructive collaboration.

Specific member benefits include:

Finally -- covering topics as diverse as social enterprise, healthcare, and patent law -- our quarterly Forum Events (held in cooperation with the Jones School of Business) continue to be some of the most innovative of their kind.