Strong Collegiate Ecosystem
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 carefully enhancing the inherent energy, intelligence, passion, and faculty mentorship of 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 very center 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, including LaunchTown and IdeaLabs, that allow students to test their concepts and compete for funding to execute their ideas
- Funding a range of internship opportunities—including with Entrepreneurs Edge, Summer on the Cuyahoga and the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education--that connect students to potent experiential learning
We also support dynamic programs such as the Northeast Ohio Student Venture Fund and NEOLaunchNet. The former is a student-run investment fund that gives students the opportunity to take pre-seed ventures through a due-diligence process and ultimately provide recommendations for actual pre-seed funding. NEOLaunchNet is a network of four universities—Baldwin Wallace University, Case Western Reserve University, Kent State University and Lorain County Community College—that connects students to the skills and mentors necessary to launch new ventures.
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 innovations.
- 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