US$60M Lift for Entrepreneurship at Michigan Ross |

US$60M Lift for Entrepreneurship at Michigan Ross

By Tim Dhoul

Updated June 25, 2019 Updated June 25, 2019

Entrepreneurship programs at Michigan Ross look set for a boost after it was revealed that Sam Zell has pledged US$60 million to the school’s dedicated institute.

A previous donation of US$10 million from the Zell Family Foundation helped establish Michigan Ross’ entrepreneurship institute, officially known as the Samuel Zell and Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, back in 1999. This latest gift will now be used to develop its offerings, with US$10 million set aside to support student ventures at their inception.

Michigan Ross dean speaks of students’ entrepreneurial appetite

“It takes entrepreneurship education to a broader level. It allows us to invest and create new programs,” Alison Davis-Blake, dean at Michigan Ross, said of Zell's pledge, adding that student interest in entrepreneurship meant that they were “absorbing these programs as fast we can put them up”.

New initiatives look set to include a seed fund and entrepreneurship challenge as well as the aforementioned support fund for early-stage ventures, according to a report for The Detroit News.

Sam Zell, a JD graduate of the University of Michigan (UM), owes his wealth to real estate and private equity. He is currently chairman of Equity Group Investments (EGI), a private investment firm he founded in the 1960s. With this new US$60 million gift to Michigan Ross, the Zell Family Foundation now places third on UM’s list of biggest donors, behind Alfred Taubman, who passed away earlier this year, and Stephen Ross for whom the UM business school is named.

“Entrepreneurs have always been a primary driver of growth for this country. I believe that fostering entrepreneurial education is an investment in the future,” Zell said

This article was originally published in July 2015 . It was last updated in June 2019

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Tim is a writer with a background in consumer journalism and charity communications. He trained as a journalist in the UK and holds degrees in history (BA) and Latin American studies (MA).


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