Fueling the State of Entrepreneurship

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In today’s continually changing and competitive world, much of the economy’s growth is coming from forward-thinking entrepreneurs. The skills to bring innovative products to market quickly and reliably are in high demand, whether applied in a dynamic startup or a new business venture within a larger corporation. Moreover, students are increasingly expressing a desire to make a positive difference with their careers, and many see entrepreneurship as the vehicle to do just that.

Here at Ross, remaining at the forefront of entrepreneurship education is one of our most important goals. Excellence in entrepreneurship has long been an integral part of our world-class business education and a key component of the Ross experience for students.

As you’ll read in our latest edition of Dividend Magazine, Ross is having a significant impact on developing highly successful individual students’ careers in this domain and in spurring new economic growth.

The state of Michigan is steadily becoming one of the go-to places for entrepreneurship, and Ross has played a key role in shaping this advancement. Michigan jumped from 25 to 15 in the nation for venture capital investment, according to the Michigan Venture Capital Association. Additionally, the number of venture capital firms in Michigan grew from seven in 2001 to 20 in 2012. Perhaps most compelling for Ross students is the fact that, since 1996, graduates of the Michigan University Research Corridor (University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Wayne State University) have acquired businesses at double the national average rate among college graduates.

These figures may surprise some but not those of us at Ross. We have created a culture at Ross where entrepreneurship is a major focus of our curriculum. In 1999, as a result of a generous donation from Sam Zell and Ann Lurie, Ross created the Samuel Zell and Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies (ZLI), putting Ross squarely on the map as a leader in entrepreneurship education. Through the programs offered at ZLI, we strengthened our focus on entrepreneurship. We were one of the first schools in the nation to have entrepreneurship offerings, were the first to offer a student-managed venture fund, and are the only school to run three student-managed funds. In 2012, we launched the Master of Entrepreneurship program, a joint degree offered by Ross and the U-M College of Engineering.

In addition to leading-edge thinking by faculty, ZLI programs, and a tremendous breadth of resources for students at Ross, our location within the University of Michigan also gives students unprecedented access to advanced breakthroughs and entrepreneurial activities across professions and disciplines. Collaborations with the College of Engineering, Law School, Health System, and centers for life and natural sciences, for example, play a key role in our entrepreneurial environment and embody the Ross philosophy of boundaryless education.

While many institutions around the globe are providing education in entrepreneurship, it is the combined caliber of Ross and the University of Michigan that sets our comprehensive offerings apart. Something that is evidenced in Ross’ recent No. 1 ranking in graduate entrepreneurship programs from Entrepreneur and Princeton Review.

Ross students and alumni have the imagination, acumen, and resilience to realize positive change while charting the unnavigated waters that successful entrepreneurship requires. Today, we are more committed than ever to continue to offer the world’s leading educational setting for entrepreneurship, and initiatives related to entrepreneurship span multiple elements of our strategic plan. We are pleased to see the impact of our efforts taking root here in the state of Michigan and beyond.

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