The university has a long tradition of entrepreneurship education dating back to 1927, but those early seeds have sprouted and grown into a lush garden of offerings during the last 12 years under President Mary Sue Coleman. As she wrote in a commentary published by Forbes in 2010:
“Entrepreneurs on today’s college campuses are no longer huddled together at the business school. They are emerging from the hallways in our music schools and our engineering programs. … The educational programs designed to draw out these radical thinkers must be welcoming to all students willing to take a risk on what some might call their ‘crazy ideas.'”
This entrepreneurial spirit on campus has been led by programs at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, where the Samuel Zell and Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies was established in 1999; and the College of Engineering, where the Center for Entrepreneurship was created in 2008.
Today, U-M has some 40 undergraduate entrepreneurship classes taught by professors from 17 different departments. There is TechArb, a business incubator for student startups; the Dare to Dream grant program; the annual 1,000 Pitches idea competition that this year generated more than 4,000 ideas.
Just a year ago, U-M awarded its first degrees earned through a master’s degree program in entrepreneurship, and last fall The Princeton Review and Entrepreneurship Magazine ranked U-M as the top university in the nation for graduate-level entrepreneurship programs.
The university is well positioned to offer entrepreneurship education to all undergraduates. In the fall of 2013, Thomas Zurbuchen, associate dean for entrepreneurship programs in the college of engineering, was named a senior adviser to the provost for entrepreneurial education. His goal: To offer formal entrepreneurship education to all U-M undergraduates within the next two years.