This was a banner year for the Samuel Zell and Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. We expanded and enriched the entrepreneurial ecosystem at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and throughout the University of Michigan. We increased our efforts to draw together the diverse expertise and multidisciplinary skills on campus that are central to business formation. We were ranked third in the nation for the excellence of our innovative courses and programs in entrepreneurship education by the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine. In addition, we laid the groundwork for several exciting initiatives that will extend opportunities for entrepreneurial engagement to more students at Michigan’s 19 schools and colleges during every stage of their University careers.
Our collaborative interface with the College of Engineering continued to gain traction over the past year. Since our initial involvement in the founding of the college’s Center for Entrepreneurship in 2007, we have partnered on the development of several programs and courses. The TechArb business accelerator for student start-up companies opened in May 2009 with sponsorship from the Institute, the College of Engineering and the Vice President for Research. TechArb is a new incarnation of a business accelerator the Institute created in 2002.
In fall 2012, the Ross School of Business and College of Engineering will unveil the first master’s degree in entrepreneurship that will be taught by engineering and business faculty, pending approval by the Presidents Counc il, State Universities of Michigan. This first-of-its- kind joint degree will open a cross-disciplinary entrepreneurial conduit to new venture creation driven by technological innovation.
We worked closely with faculty and administrators in 2011 to help in the creation of a new entrepreneurial center in the Law School. The recently announced Zell Entrepreneurship and Law Program envisions entrepreneurial law clinics where law students will furnish legal advice to student start-up companies. The program is funded by a $5 million gift from Sam Zell, the Institute’s co-benefactor and a 1966 Law School graduate. It will serve as a valuable resource for new business ventures while affording law students an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the practice of entrepreneurship law.
In 2011, the Institute’s faculty and professional staff ramped up their activities at the School of Medicine’s Medical Innovation Center. They provided coaching and business advice to teams of Ph.D.s, M.D.s and MBAs that are commercializing research discoveries and advancing new ideas for cutting-edge medical diagnostics, tools and devices.
The Zell Lurie Institute also aided in the fueling of innovation and economic revitalization in the state during 2011. This year, we observed the 30th anniversary of the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium, founded by Finance Professor David Brophy. The symposium is one of the largest, most effective forums for connecting venture capitalists from Michigan and other states with emerging high-potential companies seeking venture-capital investments. Individually and collectively, we also continued to play a formative role in several statewide economic-development initiatives. These include the Michigan Pre-Seed Fund, which invests in early stage companies, the Invest Michigan Fund, which invests directly in start-up companies, and the Venture Michigan Fund, which invests in venture-capital funds.
The main beneficiaries of this year’s success, of course, are the University students and graduates who will deploy their entrepreneurship skills, knowledge and experience to launch new companies, drive venture-capital investment, and forge innovative career pathways at major corporations.