The State of Entrepreneurship in Michigan

Shannon Beeman
December 10, 2013

Michigan is fast becoming a hot place for entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, and U-M is playing a significant role is this fact. Michigan’s venture capital investment has spiked from $84.8 million to $232.3 million just from 2011-2012 and the number of venture capital firms has risen from seven firms in 2001 to 20 in 2012. Compared to the national landscape which contracted from 2008-2012, the venture capital community in Michigan has had steady growth.

Part of this can be attributed to the Ross School of Business  which focuses on business development—how to take an idea or invention and make it into a viable company. This started to take flight in 1971 when the school offered its first entrepreneurial management course and then added a suite of classes by 1975.

In 1979, Professor David Brophy founded the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium, a national event that brings in financers to meet new businesses and technologies (this year it will be held from June 17-18).

Later, U-M developed the first student-led venture fund, The Wolverine Venture Fund in 1997. Soon after the Frankel Commercialization Venture Fund and the Social Venture Funds were created to help give students the tools they need to start their own businesses.

Finally with the creation of the Zell Lurie Institute by Sam Zell and Ann Lurie, the school has been able to better aid their students through  a wide variety of competitive challenges, workshops and courses such as Dare to Dream, Michigan Business Challenge and TechArb. Due to this emphasis on creating business the Ross School of Business and the Zell Lurie Institute were recently ranked number one nationally for graduate entrepreneurial education by the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine.

For the complete article on Michigan’s growing entrepreneurial and venture capital scene, please see: