Entrepreneurs Pay-It-Forward at U-M College of Engineering


ANN ARBOR — Seven entrepreneurs from two different venture capital firms have designated a percentage of their future individual profits to the University of Michigan College of Engineering’s Center for Entrepreneurship.

The gifting method is a first for the Center for Entrepreneurship, which provides certificate programs in entrepreneurial business.

The funding is a show of appreciation from the donors who say they owe their personal success to the center’s educational opportunities. All of the managing directors of Michigan eLab designated five percent of their future individual profits, while two more donors from Pinnacle Ventures contributed a significant percentage to the center.

“The ‘pay-it-forward’ approach has at its core a fundamental and shared value of entrepreneurship,” says dean of engineering David C. Munson Jr. “Its effects will bring students and faculty into that fold, and significantly impact the future of entrepreneurship education at our college long-term.”

All of the donors are closely engaged with the U-M either as alumni or participants in committees and boards.

“These donors have a long track record of entrepreneurial and philanthropic leadership and experience, and we appreciate their vote of confidence in our world-class programs and future growth,” says Tom Frank, executive director of the center. “The funding will be instrumental as we continue to engage students in experimental, action-based learning and teach them how to apply entrepreneurial thinking to any career path they choose. We are looking forward to providing more opportunities and resources to tomorrow’s innovators.”