Entrepreneurship has always been the formula for success in any kind of economy. That’s what prompted me to endow and grow the Zell Lurie Institute at University of Michigan. The basic tenets of entrepreneurship — thinking outside the box, risk taking, testing limits, and understanding what it takes to put a new enterprise together and make it work effectively — are all elements that ultimately lead to growth. And if there’s anything this country needs today, it’s growth.
Our world is driven by entrepreneurial activities. The United States emerged as the most-powerful global economy, because it unleashed the entrepreneurial ability that came from an immigrant base. The immigrants who came here were risk takers with aspiration, and they were empowered to drive our country forward. Today, America faces growing competition from abroad. We’ve witnessed an explosion of entrepreneurs in emerging markets, such as India, China and Brazil, who are launching new companies and creating growth for their countries. To remain competitive, we need to promote and foster the kind of entrepreneurial skills that the Institute offers to students at the Ross School of Business and throughout the University.
At Michigan, the entrepreneurial-studies curriculum is engaging other disciplines on campus, including law, medicine and engineering, to expose students to value-added practices of entrepreneurship, thereby creating a 1+1=3 scenario. Osmosis is a wonderful concept.
The new Zell Entrepreneurship and Law Program will establish a curriculum specifically designed to prepare law students either to advise business entrepreneurs or to launch their own enterprises. The program will include a new legal clinic in entrepreneurial businessas well as curricular and co-curricular initiatives designed to expand entrepreneurship business law offerings. It also will establish a new live-client clinic to provide legal services for student entrepreneurs in other University programs.
I’m very pleased with the progress we’ve made in facilitating the spread of entrepreneurship at Michigan. During the last 12 years, we’ve educated and motivated a whole generation of entrepreneurs. We’ve also influenced “intrapreneurs” who can take the lessons learned about idea generation and problem solving and apply them to careers in the corporate world.
My objective with the entrepreneurial endeavors at the University has always been to create a robust curriculum that gives young people a reason to choose Michigan over other schools. I believe we’re doing just that.