University of Michigan Launches Michigan Academy for the Development of Entrepreneurs to Foster Entrepreneurship in Developing Economies

Shannon Beeman
December 7, 2017

Nonprofit institute to combine U-M institutional expertise with proven local knowledge to support innovation economies in developing countries

The Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, in partnership with the William Davidson Institute and Aparajitha Foundations, today announced the launch of the Michigan Academy for the Development of Entrepreneurs (MADE), a nonprofit institute that works with entrepreneurship development organizations (EDOs) in developing countries to give individuals operating businesses in these environments the knowledge and best practices they need to thrive. Serial entrepreneur Mike Pape will serve as executive director.

In a developing economy, entrepreneurs and small business owners are key to creating a vibrant, sustainable business climate, but can face unique challenges getting the support they need to succeed. Rather than lean on a theoretical or conceptual framework, MADE collects the practical lessons learned from partner organizations around the world and networks created from years of University of Michigan startup consulting projects in economies such as India, Vietnam, Kosovo and Morocco to help entrepreneurs make important decisions that will add value to their companies. MADE is currently focused on India, but is also building on past work conducted by the William Davidson Institute and Zell Lurie in Vietnam and Kosovo, with plans for further expansion.

“Whether they’re in Silicon Valley or Africa, entrepreneurs bring the energy and vitality that every economy needs to succeed, and the Zell Lurie Institute is committed to supporting them wherever they may be–but what works for a startup in one part of the world doesn’t necessarily work for others,” said Stewart Thornhill, executive director of the Zell Lurie Institute. “At Michigan Ross, we champion the value of learning business through action. Together with Aparajitha and the William Davidson Institute, we want to learn what works for entrepreneurs in different environments based on their experiences, teach what we’ve learned and work with our partner organizations to spread those lessons. We’re looking forward to combining the entrepreneurial know-how of the Zell Lurie Institute with the global business expertise of the William Davidson Institute and the on-the-ground experiences of Aparajitha Foundations to empower local small businesses and economic development around the world.”

“In developing countries like India, ‘learned’ entrepreneurship can go a long way in ensuring the socio-economic development of the country,” said Bharath Krishna, chairman of Aparajitha. “Entrepreneurs not only create value economically but also add to the social fabric of the locality where they have their business. Entrepreneurship that is not just romanticized but done with the understanding of some basic nuances can make a tremendous impact in creating a sustainable ecosystem both locally and nationally. We’re committed to MADE as a true ‘nation-building’ exercise.”

“At the William Davidson Institute, we’re dedicated to helping developing economies find and create sustainable growth solutions,” said Paul Clyde, president of the William Davidson Institute. “A key part of our mission is partnering with businesses, including entrepreneurs, in developing economies to cultivate profitable business models. MADE is a cooperative arrangement that combines the expertise across the University of Michigan with that of successful businesses in these countries. We see MADE as a powerful way to realize our goals as an institute.”

Successful Serial Entrepreneur Mike Pape Named Executive Director
As the executive director of MADE, Pape will provide leadership to a team of MBA students, who are themselves participating in a new program that the Ross School of Business at University of Michigan sees as the next level of action-based learning.  The students will not just work on projects but are, in a real sense, running MADE, with Pape providing the continuity from year to year.  

Pape has co-founded several life sciences companies, including Esperion Therapeutics, which was acquired by Pfizer for $1.3 billion in 2004; Akebia Therapeutics, which successfully IPOed in 2014; Orchard Venture Partners, a life science venture capital firm; and Nymirum, a drug discovery firm based in North Carolina. Before he became an entrepreneur, Pape was instrumental in the success of numerous cardiovascular drug discovery and development programs, including Lipitor at Upjohn and Parke-Davis/Warner-Lambert (now Pfizer). He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan.

“Mike has been a fixture in the Ann Arbor entrepreneurial ecosystem for years—and his track record of founding and scaling successful startups speaks for itself,” said Thornhill. “When it came time to choose the right person to launch and scale MADE—and guide others through the process of getting their own ventures off the ground—there was no question in our minds that Mike was up to the challenge.”

“I know firsthand the challenges entrepreneurs face in getting their ventures off the ground—and I know how valuable their contributions are both as a vehicle for innovation and as a participant in the local economy,” said Pape. “I’m looking forward to working with the full breadth of resources the University of Michigan has to offer—from the MBAs who will be managing all of MADE’s operations and the alumni worldwide who will serve as coaches and local resources to the knowledge resource and institutes housed here. We have the ability to create some really great outcomes, and we’re all looking forward to the challenges ahead.”

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