The Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Lilie) is the home of experiential learning and co-curricular activities in entrepreneurship and innovation at Rice University. Our mission is to equip Rice students with both entrepreneurial skills and the entrepreneurial mindset to prepare them to be entrepreneurs and innovators in whatever industry they choose, be it a technology startup, government, civic group, non-profit, small business, or large corporation. Lilie is comprised of experiential courses, co-curricular opportunities, a state-of-the-art on-campus lab space, and an array of resources to support student learning.
Since its inception in 2015 with a generous gift from Houston entrepreneur and alumnus Frank Liu and his family, through their private foundation, Lilie has been working to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem at Rice. Through our work with students and alumni, Lilie’s offerings compliment our entrepreneurial partners at the university, such as OwlSpark, the student startup accelerator, and Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, which hosts of the annual Rice Business Plan Competition and provides the broader Houston community with exceptional startup events.
At the curricular level, Lilie has launched eight interdisciplinary undergraduate courses and as well as a suite of graduate courses that have been met with lively student demand. Most recently, Lilie has announced a new minor in entrepreneurship at Rice, which is designed and executed in collaboration with Rice Business, George R. Brown School of Engineering, and the School of Social Sciences.
In addition to its curricular offerings, Lilie has developed robust co-curricular offerings that foster a growing university wide entrepreneurship community. Lilie offers a variety of opportunities to link diverse students together and engage them in a broader entrepreneurial community on campus – a community that bridges disciplines, colleges, and years.
To continue to serve our talented students post-graduation and foster a Rice entrepreneurial ecosystem that spans beyond the borders of Houston, Lilie launched the Rice Alumni | Entrepreneurs + Innovators (RAEI) network in coordination with Rice’s Alumni office. The network operates through a regional hub model, and launched in Houston in and the Bay Area in May 2020. We anticipate expanding into other cities as the program grows. RAEI offers facilitated workshops, networking events, lecture series, digital educational content, and other resources that continues to engage our exceptional Rice talent after they depart campus.
We are housed in a beautiful 5,000 square foot flexible coworking space in the Cambridge Office Building, but our programming spans beyond those walls, bringing together all disciplines at Rice. And to accommodate our Rice Business students, we opened a Lilie Outpost at McNair Hall early 2020. We invite you to come stop on by and introduce yourself. We welcome you to join us as a student or alumni in developing the next generation of leaders that will impact change in Houston and beyond.
Ralph S. O’Connor Professor in Entrepreneurship – Finance
Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship
Program Manager, Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship