“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.”
Ben Lewis, BSE ’01, MBA ’05, Tapjoy, Karma Science
Ben Lewis, BSE ’01, MBA ’05, is nothing short of an entrepreneurial whiz kid. He and his partner, Lee Linden, BSE, ’02, used a $10,000 Dare to Dream grant from the Zell Lurie Institute as seed money to build their first business, Tapjoy, in 2008. Over the course of several years and business-model modifications, the two Michigan-minted entrepreneurs powered their fledgling start-up to meteoric success. Today, Tapjoy claims to be the nation’s largest source of distribution for mobile-application use, generating $10 million a month in revenue. With one blockbuster under their belts, Lewis and Linden raised several million dollars from two West Coast venture-capital investment firms to fire up their latest business, Karma Science, a mobile e-commerce app platform for smartphones. “I came to the University of Michigan with a plan to be an entrepreneur,” recalls Lewis, who now is based in San Francisco. “It’s a great school with a great history of helping entrepreneurs. I was impressed by the entrepreneurship curriculum and programs.” At the Ross School, Lewis learned the nuts and bolts of entrepreneurship, including how to design and grow a business, put together a topnotch management team and procure funding. Business-plan competitions gave him a chance to test his entrepreneurial mettle before panels of judges. The connections and resume Lewis built at Ross later helped him land a job at Google, build a network of industry contacts and raise venture capital.