Collegiate Entrepreneurship

Perhaps at no other point in a person’s entrepreneurial journey are they as amenable to the message of the power of entrepreneurship as during their college years. By harnessing the inherent energy, intelligence, passion, and faculty mentorship on a college campus, we can play a key part in helping launch students, and the entire regional economy, on a more promising trajectory. 

Building a strong regional collegiate entrepreneurial ecosystem is at the core of our work.  That is why we’re proud to be involved with 22 colleges and universities throughout Northeast Ohio, supporting and connecting them into a thriving peer network of continuous learning and innovation. 

Wide Range of Support

The Foundation provides direct assistance to collegiate programs through a number of avenues, including:

  • Developing world-class entrepreneurship curricula
  • Supporting on-campus business plan competitions and hackathons
  • Funding a range of internship opportunities that connect students to potent experiential learning

We also support NEOLaunchNET, a regional signature initiative that seeks to inspire a culture of innovation on college and university campuses, building upon the unique assets and strengths of each school and sparking the entrepreneurial mindset in enterprising students.  The network currently includes programs at Baldwin Wallace University, Case Western Reserve University, John Carroll University, Kent State University, and Lorain County Community College, where colleagues closely collaborate in a cross-campus peer learning environment.

Northeast Ohio Collegiate Entrepreneurship Landscape Assessment

In early 2020, Burton D. Morgan Foundation embarked upon a comprehensive assessment of the collegiate entrepreneurship ecosystem in Northeast Ohio. After more than a decade of work to bolster Northeast Ohio’s collegiate entrepreneurship ecosystem, the Foundation and its partners have made great strides in increasing collaboration among the more than 20 colleges and universities in the region. The Foundation is regarded by many as an influential convener in this space. This is a responsibility not taken lightly, and as we entered 2020 and the next decade of our work, we sought to do so with renewed intention. Through a series of interviews and electronic surveys that comprised Phase 1 of the assessment, we turned to the faculty, staff, students, founders, and partners who operate in the collegiate ecosystem day in and day out to understand how to bridge the gap between where we are and where we need to go.  

Read Summary of Phase 1

Foundation Values - Collegiate Entrepreneurship Programming

Excellence in collegiate entrepreneurship takes many shapes and forms—there is no single formula or roadmap to igniting entrepreneurial energy.  Burton D. Morgan Foundation supports organizations whose senior leadership embraces entrepreneurship. We believe the most vibrant collegiate entrepreneurship programs seek to…

  • Grow from the essence of institutional culture
    Sustainable integration of entrepreneurship into collegiate programs is best accomplished by building upon existing cultural strengths and values.
  • Draw influence from the organization's senior leadership
    Vocal champions in the highest offices of the organization help build programs that gain traction, develop long-term sustainability, and best serve student needs.
  • Exhibit interdisciplinary reach
    Forward-thinking leaders break down barriers and encourage interaction among students and faculty from seemingly unrelated areas of study, breeding innovation and sparking connections.
  • Build the entrepreneurial mindset 
    Impactful programs allow students to marshal their talents and take informed risks while exploring ventures that foster the critical entrepreneurial skills of ideating, problem solving, pivoting, and pitching.
  • Engage underserved populations 
    Robust inclusion of diverse ideas, voices, and perspectives enriches students’ entrepreneurial experiences and inspires innovation. 
  • Embed mentorship and coaching 
    Balanced programs enlist qualified mentors and coaches who help steer venture progress while maintaining a primary focus on the student's academic experiences and personal growth
  • Collaborate with ecosystem partners 
    Dynamic campuses reach beyond their institutions, facilitating opportunities for students to connect with entrepreneurial ecosystem resources and promoting pathways for students to pursue ideas that require increasingly sophisticated support. 
  • Evaluate their effectiveness 
    Continuous learning requires more than just basic data – progressive programs employ third party evaluators and scrutinize evaluation results to inform practices and modify components.
  • Pivot to meet changing needs 
    Responsive programs adapt to shifting entrepreneurial landscapes to take full advantage of new opportunities.
  • Share lessons learned 
    Dedicated ecosystem partners prioritize the regular exchange of lessons learned across campus and through peer-to-peer entrepreneurship learning communities. 
  • Demonstrate fiscal responsibility

Collegiate Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Diagram

Collegiate Entrepreneurship Values Poster