The Zell Lurie Institute brings together the resources, funds, mentors, and programs U-M students require to start a successful venture. Whether students are experimenting with entrepreneurship or looking to launch, these offerings will bring out your inner entrepreneur.
Five Ideas is a design thinking workshop focused on finding entrepreneurial solutions to common challenges women face. Explore human experiences, gain ideation skills to craft impactful solutions, and empower yourself and others to take action. Together we will make the world five ideas stronger.
Grants for Student Startups
The Zell Lurie Student Startup Grants program, composed of the Mayleben Venture Shaping grants and the Eugene Applebaum Dare to Dream grant program, moves University of Michigan students through the business creation process by offering startup workshops and awarding $300-$5,000 in grants to individuals and/or student teams.
Michigan Business Challenge (MBC)
The Michigan Business Challenge is a campus-wide, multi-round business plan competition where student teams have the opportunity to win cash prizes totaling over $100,000, gain feedback from leaders in the business community, and expand their business network.
Pinkert Healthcare Accelerator
The Pinkert Healthcare Accelerator provides grant funding and support from experienced faculty and mentors to help students realize their vision for reimagining healthcare. The program supports student ventures to create value by increasing healthcare quality and access, reducing costs, and making patient experiences better.
Zell Entrepreneurs is an elite program designed to support students dedicated to working on their businesses full-time upon graduation. Students selected to participate in this immersive, year-long program will receive support, mentorship, resources, and funding to get their ventures launch ready.
Zell Lab for Technologies
The Zell Lab for Technologies (ZLT) is the design and build studio for U-M student and alumni entrepreneurs. ZLT connects UI/UX design interns to startups to design, build, and test technology products through highly personalized coaching and mentorship.
Customer Acquisition Program
The Customer Acquisition Program (CAP) is a 12-week program designed to help student and alumni startups accelerate and optimize their customer growth and potential revenue drivers. Potential topics include website sales conversion, engaging influencers, pitching press, optimizing digital ads, and more. The techniques introduced in the program are designed to not require any cash expenditures, but rather your flexibility, creativity, and time.
Entrepreneurship through Acquisition
The Entrepreneurship through Acquisition program is designed to provide support to second-year MBA students who are seeking to search for and acquire a business upon graduation. This can be accomplished via the search fund model, as an independent sponsor, through a family office, or otherwise. Selected students will participate in regular meetings with the program director and other participants.
Michigan Investment Challenge
The Michigan Investment Challenge (MIC) is an investor competition where students play the role of venture capital firms. Student teams evaluate real startup investment options presented by motivated entrepreneurs. The Michigan Investment Challenge is a multi-round competition open to teams of graduate students and teams of undergraduate students from our 19 nationally recognized schools and colleges at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Social Venture Fund
The first student-run social venture fund in the country, the Social Venture Fund (SVF) provides an unparalleled action-based learning experience, which places equal importance on maximizing financial returns and socially-driven venture investing and entrepreneurship. In 2012, SVF was the first student social venture fund to invest in a socially-driven organization.
Wolverine Venture Fund
Innovation in entrepreneurial funding began in 1997 when Ross pioneered the first student-led venture fund in the nation, the Wolverine Venture Fund (WVF). Since its inception, over 300 MBA’s have participated in WVF and launched careers at top-tier venture capital firms, investment banks, consulting firms, tech startups, medical device, and life sciences companies. Currently, the fund has over $7 million in assets under management.
Zell Early Stage Fund (BBA)
The Zell Early Stage Fund was formed in 2015. Modeled on the Wolverine Venture Fund and the Commercialization Fund, the Early Stage Fund is a venture capital and pre-venture capital investment fund operated by Ross BBA students, under the supervision of the Fund's Faculty Managing Director. Mirroring the other funds, the Early-Stage Fund invests real money in real deals.
Zell Founders Fund
The Zell Founders Fund is a $10M seed fund, managed by the Zell Lurie Institute and an investment review advisory committee comprised of four Michigan Ross students – one student from each of the four remaining ZLI funds. The committee evaluates and invests in extraordinary student entrepreneurs whose business venture needs a helping hand to move from idea to profitability.
Zell Lurie Commercialization Fund
A pre-seed investment fund, that began as an endowment in 2005, the Zell Lurie Commercialization Fund (ZLCF) was created to accelerate the commercialization of ideas generated within the University community and the surrounding area. The ZLCF team adopts a hands-on approach to investing that leverages the talents and resources available at Michigan Ross to make a real impact on the entrepreneur and the university.