“Altogether these six interrelated foundational skills create an impactful, holistic approach to entrepreneurship education at Michigan and provide our students with a solid platform for entrepreneurial success,” Faley says. “The Institute and other entrepreneurial centers on campus are teaching students how to launch multiple businesses rather than simply guiding them through the formation of a single business. This ‘learn-do, learn-do’ repetition is ultimately what differentiates our programmatic approach from others in the higher-education field.”
Mary Lemmer, BBA ’10, Co-founder, Iorio’s; Analyst, RPM Ventures
At age 15, Mary Lemmer, BBA ’10, savored the taste of entrepreneurial success when she co-founded her first company, Iorio’s, a family run Italian ice catering business that later opened retail gelato shops in Lansing and Ann Arbor. As a high-school senior, Lemmer mingled with venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and financiers at the 2006 Michigan Growth Capital Symposium, an annual venture-investing event sponsored by the Zell Lurie Institute. “The Institute became my entry point into the entrepreneurial ecosystem at Michigan, and I used it to craft my educational pathway and experiences on campus,” she explains. At the Ross School of Business, Lemmer thrived on entrepreneurship courses, such as Adjunct Professor Len Middleton’s BBA Entrepreneurial Management and Finance Professor David Brophy’s Financing Research Commercialization. “I liked the action-based aspect of those classes, where I got my hands dirty working on real projects with real entrepreneurs,” she says. Competing in the Michigan Business Challenge three times on three different company teams sharpened Lemmer’s ability to explore a business opportunity, make a pitch, validate a market and build a new venture at different stages. Through Dare to Dream, she assessed new ideas for a sustainable food service and a Clean-Tech venture. Lemmer gained a different perspective on entrepreneurship and earned a Certificate in Entrepreneurship at the College of Engineering’s Center for Entrepreneurship. There, she met Marc Weiser, BSE ’95, MBA ’00, the managing director of RPM Ventures in Ann Arbor, who taught a two-week Venture Business Development course. In fall 2010, Lemmer joined his early stage venture-capital firm as a full-time analyst. “The Zell Lurie Institute positioned me for this work by helping me build my entrepreneurial skill set and network while exposing me to different opportunities in the entrepreneurial space,” she concludes.