Center for Creative Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneur and designer Kendra Scott with students in the Women in Entrepreneurship class.

The mission of COFA’s newly created Center for Creative Entrepreneurship (CCE) couldn’t be more focused. We exist to empower our students with the mindset, skillset and the practice necessary to transform your passions into a sustainable business or career. We are focused on bringing forth students' innate entrepreneurial abilities toward the development of their future. 

Our rich diversity of students includes not only studio artists, sculptors, musicians and product designers, but also gaming developers, designers for 3D projection mapping, sound, artificial intelligence, augmented reality and immersive experiences, as well as Integrated Design students from other disciplines across UT campuses.

Within the College of Fine Arts, we are focused on developing students who are able to move within the nexus of their artistic skills, technology and with an entrepreneurial mindset, so they can look at innovative solutions to address old and new problems.

What Students Will Learn

  • Build a new entrepreneurial identity
  • Develop a mindset which can turn ideas into action
  • Learn through experiential components how to create and grow a company.
  • Understand how to market to audience and customers
  • Demonstrate increased confidence in their ability to take calculated risks
  • Gain prototyping experience for testing ideas
  • How technology enables new creative tools
  • Networking to develop connections

Recent Speakers

Kendra Scott

Kendra Scott
CEO, Kendra Scott

Stephanie Breedlove

Preston James II
CEO & Co-Founder

Dan Graham
Notley Ventures

Lisa Graham
Notley Ventures

Shakeel Rashed
Director & Advisor
Accelerator Capital Factory

Mike Cronin
Austin Business Journal

Oksana Malysheva
Managing Partner & CEO

Monica Landers
CEO & Co-Founder

Amber Allen
CEO, Founder
Double A Labs

Beth Goff-McMillan
CEO & Principal

Genevieve Gilbreath
Co-Founder & General Partner
Springdale Ventures

Kim Barnes
Communications Expert

Isis Ashford
Co-Founder & COO
Xplosion Technology

Gay Gaddis
CEO, Founder

Hayley Netherton
Venture Associate
Capital Factory

Annie Hardy
Senior Experience Design Visioneer

Aimy Steadman

Autumn Manning
CEO, Founder
Kazoo (fka YouEarnedIt)

Richard Garriott de Cayeux
Video Game Entrepreneur
Computing Gaming Hall of Fame

Randy Hunt

Randy Hunt
Creative Director
Artsy, formerly of Etsy

Shayna Brown; CEO, Founder Chez Boom Audio

Shayna Brown
CEO, Founder
Chez Boom Audio

Sam Decker; CEO, Founder Mass Relevance; Chairman, Fair Worlds VR/AR

Sam Decker
CEO, Founder Mass Relevance
Chairman, Fair Worlds VR/AR

Adelle Archer

Adelle Archer
CEO, Founder of Eterneva

Theo Rossi

Theo Rossi
Actor and Netflix Star

James Gurney

James Gurney
Celebrated Author, Teacher, and Artist
Creator of Dinotopia

Upcoming Classes

ITD 115: Creative Entrepreneurship

Designed to introduce an entrepreneurial mindset and skillset to creative thinkers.

ITD 350: Women in Entrepreneurship

Designed with the female perspective of the journey, including strategies to overcome common obstacles.


Designer Randy Hunt with Jan Ryan at a Pathways to Entrepreneurship event.

Every entrepreneur’s journey is unique, and that is why I view my role as bringing students a compass and not a map. There are no handrails. The most powerful way to know what you are made of is to learn as much as you can, try new things and believe in yourself.

— Jan Ryan, Executive Director of the Center for Creative Entrepreneurship


New Programming for 2019-2020

COFA Creative Cup brain icon

Ideas Lab

Every Monday
DFA 1.102

New this year, the College of Fine Arts Ideas Lab is a weekly meetup on Mondays from 5 to 6 p.m. for creative thinkers to develop and nurture their ideas. A great opportunity to talk with mentors, creators and artists.

Pathways to Entrepreneurship compass icon

Pathways to Entrepreneurship

Fall and Spring
DFA Foundry

The Pathways to Entrepreneurship Speaker Series hosts conversations with creative leaders, artists, and business owners to share their success and challenges. Food, fun, inspiration and community.

3 Day Startup rocket icon

3Day Startup for Creatives

Nov. 1 – 3, 2019
DFA 4.112

A first in the College of Fine Arts! This is a facilitated 72-hour learn-by-doing FREE workshop where students will learn how to launch a business over a weekend. No experience necessary. 

It was very much “learn-by-doing,” incredibly collaborative and team-driven, and really useful in terms of bringing my original idea to life. Jan gave us the right background information, straightforward things in terms of the mindset of an entrepreneur and examples we could understand. She brought in guest speakers who talked about their own experiences and about how to bring a company to market and getting it to flourish. It was an amazingly well-orchestrated introduction to entrepreneurship.
—Cole Godvin, M.A. in Art Education candidate

Creative Entrepreneurship Photo Gallery

If you would like to know more about the Center for Creative Entrepreneurship in the College of Fine Arts or how to participate as a mentor, speaker or as a donor, please email us at Students can email Jan Ryan to request Office Hours by appointment. 

UT Ecosystem


The Mom Test – How to Talk to Customers and Learn if Your Business is a Good Idea When Everyone is Lying to You (2014) by Bob Fitzpatrick

Grit : The Power of Passion and Perseverance (2016) by Angela Duckworth

Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers (2010) by Alexander Osterwalder 

General Resources

Crowdfunding Options for Creatives

For artists with an audience or fan-based support model, check out these creative crowdfunding services:

  • Patreon is used by artists working in different media such as drawing and painting, podcasts, photography and theater. Comic artist Jeph Jacques, who makes the strip "Questionable Content," makes at least $7,000 per month from the site.
  • PledgeMusic funds musicians working under a variety of genres, from hip hop to rock.
  • AppsFunder is for funding app development, including games and productivity tools.
  • Apart from Kickstarter, there are many crowdfunding sites that feature projects under a wide variety of different fields, such as Indiegogo and RocketHub.

Grants for Creatives






  • Arts funding
  • Arts grants
  • Cultural funding
  • Arts resources

Broad searches like those above are great, but also take time to be specific. There are hundreds of websites with general information on funding opportunities, but the more targeted your searches, the more likely you will find the right opportunity for you.

Center for Creative Entrepreneurship Sponsors

We are profoundly grateful for the generosity of our sponsors.

Texas Mutual, Workers Compensation Insurance

For more information on how you can support the Center of Creative Entrepreneurship and its mission to foster and support an entrepreneurial mindset amongst creative thinkers, please contact Jan Ryan.

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