A Year in Review: Continued Leadership in Entrepreneurial Education through Robust Action-Based Learning Opportunities

Shannon Beeman
April 27, 2015

With commencement just days away, today the Zell Lurie Institute marked the close of another successful academic year, punctuated by the fact that nearly $350,000 in funding was disbursed to students to advance their entrepreneurial mindsets and endeavors. This funding supports students and student teams developing new ventures through the Dare to Dream and Venture Shaping Grants program and the Michigan Business Challenge; places interns at U.S. based high-growth startups through the Marcel Gani Internship program; is applied toward tuition for scholarship recipients; and recognizes leading entrepreneurial and private equity students for their drive and passion through the provision of Wesier Family, Valenti, Zell Lurie Institute and Gelband awards.

The Zell Lurie Institute has long been renowned as a global leader in entrepreneurship education. As continued proof of its pioneering vision and consistently high caliber of programs and action-based learning initiatives, the Institute was again named one of the top five institutions of its kind in the nation, for the fifth straight year. The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine ranked the Ross School and the Zell Lurie Institute the No. 3 Graduate Program in Entrepreneurship in the U.S. in 2014.

In addition to the top ranking, specific activity and achievements during the 2014-2015 academic year include:

  • Awarding $50,000 in grants to promising student ventures, including 29 Mayleben Venture Shaping grants, 13 Dare to Dream Assessment grants and 5 Dare to Dream Integration grants
  • Awarding $75,000 to student teams during the annual Michigan Business Challenge, including a new Social Impact track with the Center for Social Impact and Erb Institute that awarded a $15,000 prize
  • Placing 20 students at start-ups and VC firms through the Marcel Gani internship program
  • Giving more than 20 teams access to student-startup accelerator TechArb, a joint program offered with the College of Engineering’s Center for Entrepreneurship, and with support from the ZEAL (Zell Entrepreneurship and Law) and the School of Information
  • Providing 12 tuition-based scholarships to returning MBA students totaling $75,000
  • Enabling teams to complete in nine intercollegiate business plan and VC investment competitions; Elegus Technologies reached the Semi-Finals at the Rice Business Plan Competition, and the team that won Ross’ internal Venture Capital Investment Competition went on to win the Regional Competition and compete in the Global Finals
  • Participating in an investment in Detroit-based Loveland Technologies through the Social Venture Fund, one of three student-led funds

“Our highly effective action-based learning approach has made us the institute of choice for students who aspire to become successful entrepreneurs, venture investors or entrepreneurial employees in large corporations,” said Stewart Thornhill, executive director of the Institute. “We immerse students in real-world entrepreneurial and investment settings, so they can learn by doing and hone their skills with helpful feedback from experienced faculty and industry practitioners. It’s not surprising that many of our graduates have gone on to become serial entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial-minded leaders in the venture-investment and corporate-business sectors. We wish our graduating students all the best in their future endeavors.”

Student Entrepreneurs Honored with Nearly $20,000

At the Zell Lurie Institute’s recent annual Awards Luncheon student entrepreneurs were recognized for their entrepreneurial leadership, engagement in entrepreneurial-focused programs and for their drive in forwarding promising new ventures. They are:

  • Weiser Family BBA Entrepreneurs of the Year
    • Katie Reiner, BBA ’16, and Danny Freed, BBA ’15, the co-founders of Companion, which was the top winner of the 2015 Michigan Business Challenge
  • Weiser Family Social Entrepreneurship Leadership Award
    • Ben Rathi, BBA ’16, co-founder of Blueprints for Pangaea, which won the Michigan Business Challenge’s Social Impact Award, and a Marcel Gani intern for ArborMetrix
    • Perry Teicher, MBA ’16, who leads the Urban Revitalization circle of the Social Venture Fund and played a pivotal role in the Loveland Deal
  • Samuel Valenti Awards for Exceptional Entrepreneurial Development
    • Harinee Sampath, evening MBA, the founder of South Asian Flavors, which received a Dare to Dream Integration grant, Michigan Business Challenge Marketing Award winner and a Zell Scholar
    • Alex Pulst-Korenberg, MBA ’15, the founder of EasyIV and Women Who Launch, as well as being part of the Zell Lurie Commercialization Fund, Tech Arb and a Zell Scholar
  • Weiser Family MBA Entrepreneur of the Year
    • Bill Crane, evening MBA, the founder of Industry Star, a TechArb company and Dare to Dream grant recipient

The Institute’s 2014 Annual Report  has greater insight into the past year, including student stories and commentary from key leadership. For more on the Zell Lurie Institute’s complete programs and offerings, visit our website and follow @ZellLurie on Twitter.