We made it to Cougar 100

The University of Houston Alumni Association has launched a new program to identify and rank the top 100 fastest growing companies that are Cougar-owned or -led.

“Our strength is … how many CEOs and business leaders we have that are Cougars,” said Bob Leaumont, the University of Houston Alumni Association’s director of corporate sponsorship and revenue. “I’m not sure that a lot of people — other than Cougars — really know that we’re that dominant in the business world.”

The Cougar 100 program, which kicked off this summer, will rank companies based on their compounded annual growth rate. There are only three criteria to apply for the list: Be Cougar-owned or -led; have generated $250,000 or more of verifiable revenue; and have operated for at least five years as.

Those who have completed at least one semester of passing grades at the University will be considered for the list. UH defines a business leader as a CEO, president, managing partner or chair of a company. Companies founded by Cougars who are still active at a senior level can also qualify. To be considered Cougar-owned, the company must be 51 percent owned by a Cougar or cumulatively by a group of Cougars.

The program is going to be the foundation of a future business-to-business Cougar Network, which is a directory that can be used to search for and conduct business with Cougar-owned or -led companies. By creating this program, Vice Chancellor and Vice President of University Advancement Eloise Dunn Stuhr said she hopes to build bridges with the private sector.
“We’re hoping to gain broader recognition that the University of Houston is a major force and driver in the Houston economy. Even beyond the economic impact of the university, our alumni have a huge leadership impact,” Stuhr said.
Approximately 70 percent of UH graduates stay in the greater Houston area, Stuhr said, and 14 percent of Houstonians have earned their bachelor’s degree at UH, according to the UH 2013 President’s report.

With UH’s Tier One initiative, $1 billion dollar building program, Cullen Boulevard renovations and increased attention on long-term growth, Stuhr said the Cougar 100 will be another way to get alumni reengaged with the University and, hopefully, “lead to more significant financial support.”
The Cougar 100 list is printed in a special section of the Houston Business Journal.