Entrepreneurial Spirit at Michigan Ross

Entrepreneurship at RossEarlier this week, Michigan Ross School of Business  reported on the recent and rapid growth of entrepreneurship and the venture capital scene in Michigan, noting that UM Ross has played a pivotal role in this change of focus away from the troubled auto industry.

The University of Michigan recently finished #1 on the graduate program list of The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine’s annual survey of the top entrepreneurship programs in the nation.

Ross professor David Brophy, who founded the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium in 1979 and is the director of the Center for Venture Capital & Private Equity Finance, says that the university stepped up to be one of the leaders in the revitalization of Michigan. “There’s much more going on here entrepreneurially than the rest of the country realizes,” he says. “Images take a long time to change.”

The article notes that Ross launched the world’s first student-led venture fund, the Wolverine Venture Fund,  in 1997. Two other student-led funds—the Frankel Commercialization Fund and the Social Venture Fund—were the first student funds in those specialties.

Entrepreneurism is a strong focus across all departments, and the university announced this week that it plans to offer formal entrepreneurship education to all UM undergraduates within the next two years. At the Ross School, the focus is specifically on business development — taking an idea or invention and turning it into a viable company.

The Ross School and the College of Engineering recently graduated the first class of Master of Entrepreneurship candidates, now a joint degree between the two schools. “This new joint degree program gives students access to real-time technology and resources to turn a business idea into a market-ready venture within 12 months,” says Ross School Dean Alison Davis-Blake.

Praveen Suthrum, MBA ’04, is the co-founder of NextServices Inc., a healthcare technology and management company that he began as a student startup. “When I started at Ross, I felt that starting a business was a very difficult thing,” he says. “It was a big deal in my head. But having gone through so many experiences, both in school and with my own projects, I came away not thinking about the difficulties. I just did it.”

To read more about the history of entrepreneurship at Michigan Ross, as well as its recent exponential growth in the state, follow this link.


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