Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Terry Chase Hazell Talks about RampCorp

Terry Chase Hazell Talks about RampCorp

Where are you from originally?

I’m originally from Pottstown Pennsylvania, then home of Mrs. Smith’s pies. We used to throw plastic army men into the pumpkin trucks as they went under the climbing tree in the front of our house. I still look for those men in pumpkin pies. I moved to Maryland in High School and lived in Maryland until I moved to Georgetown Texas in 2008.

What university did you go to?

I went to the University of Maryland College Park (UMCP). I almost became a life-time Terp!

My internship in High School was with Martek Biosciences Corporation and they did work at the scale-up facility at UMCP. I went to UMCP as an undergrad, then managed their scale-up facility through graduate school, then started a spin-out company from UMCP, married a professor of UMCP (not one of mine!), moved my company into the incubator at UMCP, became a UMCP CCLS Board of visitor member, my kids went to the UMCP preschool, I spoke at commencement, I started a second company at UMCP….finally decided 20 years was enough and moved to Texas.

What brought you to Austin?

We wanted to relocate within Maryland, but I met some Texans at NIH and they told me of the “magical” entrepreneurial environment in Texas. I didn’t think “entrepreneurship” when I thought of Texas, so I visited to check it out. I loved Austin, but wanted to be a little bit out of town. My husband pointed at the map and said “check out this Georgetown”. I did and loved Georgetown’s mixture of small town feel but high-tech spirit. So we moved to Georgetown.

What is your group’s mission?

We aim to increase the number of women-led growth companies through-out Texas. Texas State RampCorp Austin provides training and coaching for women who are or who want to be running a scalable business.

What need does it fulfill?

Texas State RampCorp provides women with specialized coaching, and an access to network of men and women to learn knowledge and skills to more successfully scale their businesses. Also, we offer women the opportunity to gain support from other women building big businesses but starting small. Often women find themselves to be the only one in a group for scalable or technology entrepreneurship—we provide dozens of peers.

What exactly does it bring to startups?

Often our members have not started a business and they launch in the program. Start-ups that have already launched learn methods to lead, connect, fund and scale their business.

We teach 16 “Ramps” toward scaling your business. These Ramps include 8 knowledge and 8 skills that all entrepreneurs, especially women need to be successful. Check out our list of resources for one of our Ramps at

We offer lots of one-on one coaching and access to our expanded networking. Check out the team of investors, inventors and entrepreneurs providing help…

We offer women “sponsorship”—meaning we get them connected with people and organizations they need to know and we advocate for them. Once such organization is Springboard Enterprises that has helped women raise $5 Billion.

See some of the quotes from women helped by our team…

What type of startup would benefit from your group?

We’re looking for startups led by a CEO with the determination to grow the company beyond her own labor, to serve a national or international market, to choose a scalable business model and to generate economic value for her and her company’s stakeholders.

What was the most challenging aspect of starting up the initiative?

The most challenging aspect of launching in Texas was finding a University brave enough to bet on training for women entrepreneurs to launch scalable and emerging technology ventures. It was also challenging to branch away from the ACTiVATE program. Although challenging, both items worked out great.
RampCorp is a program of Texas State University and I don’t think we could have found a better place to grow. Texas State funded the program and not only continues to support it, but has expanded all commercialization efforts. Texas State is agile, hungry for connection with companies and forward thinking. I may like the Bobcats better than my Terps now—but don’t tell.

I came to Texas with the idea to run the ACTiVATE program just like the University of Maryland Baltimore County program where I taught. I led the first expansion out of Maryland and used the name with permission from UMBC. I found we needed to make so many changes to fit Texas that what is now RampCorp didn’t fit the vision of the ACTiVATE program—so we branched away. ACTiVATE is a great program and continues in Texas and is now expanding in many other locations outside of Maryland.

What advice do you have for entrepreneurs?

For women, to realize that we do often think and learn differently and to seek entrepreneurship training and support to understand those differences, optimize differences that are strengths and improve where differences hurt competitiveness. At the same time, remember your network is your greatest asset and spend the time to build and maintain it.

What Austin-based resource have you found to be the most helpful and why?

Number 1 is certainly Texas State!

Coining Austin as the Human Capital is very apt. I found the people to be the best resource. Robin Curle, the “Galaxy of Entrepreneurship” has been a change agent, leading instructor and champion for our program. The Austin Chamber was immensely helpful and introduced me to resources, connected me and helped find a “home” for the training program. Terapio and Curt Bilby helped me get connected and provided some temporary employment as I transitioned. The entrepreneurship scene stewards group and Bijoy’s great map of entrepreneurship scene is a model for many cities. So I guess those Texans at NIH were right—“magical”.

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