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“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.”

Turning New Ventures into Gold

Todd Sullivan, MBA ’05, Spirit Shop, CrowdZone, BuyFi

Todd Sullivan, MBA ’05, owes much of his success as a Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur to the rigorous entrepreneurship education and experience he received at the Ross School of Business and the Zell Lurie Institute, as well as the 24/7 connectivity of the world-wide Michigan network. “The Ross School gave me a means for evaluating businesses and market opportunities using a more analytical approach,” explains Sullivan, who says he benefited from courses such as New Venture Creation and Growth of New Ventures. On the student-led Wolverine Venture Fund, he vetted early stage venture-capital investments, gaining new insights from the perspective of the investor. “As a Ross School graduate, I’m able to tap into a highly intelligent, experienced alumni community engaged in every industry around the world,” Sullivan continues. “My phone calls are always taken, and Ross grads are continually willing to share ideas and resources.” Sullivan’s string of successful start-up companies includes Spirit Shop, an e-commerce portal for custom school products, CrowdZone, a mobile social network for crowds that was subsequently licensed to CBS Broadcasting Inc., and BuyFi, a mobile marketing and transactions company. His newest soon-to-be-announced venture will utilize mobile and Web technology to help put people back to work by harnessing their natural entrepreneurial talents to grow local businesses. “Most of my time is spent on business-model discovery,” Sullivan says. “I’m focused on getting ideas to market in front of paying customers quickly and then iterating until the customer response warrants launching the next venture.”

Related Platform for Entrepreneurial Success Stories:
   Matthew Neagle,
MBA ’11
   Lauren Miller,
MBA ’11
   Mary Lemmer,
BBA ’10
   Todd Sullivan,
MBA ’05
   Ben Lewis,
BSE ’01, MBA ’05
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