The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, located in Hyde Park, draws students from all over the world. The atmosphere is heady with innovation, and the potential to start a business after attending the University of Chicago is bolstered by the connections a student entrepreneur can make at the Booth School. The school was ranked No. 2 for Graduate School Entrepreneurial Studies in 2010 by Entrepreneur Magazine and the Princeton Review (http://www.entrepreneur.com/topcolleges/grad/0.html).
More than 900 U. of Chicago students applied last year to programs run by the Booth School of Business’ Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship. The school offers 25 entrepreneurship-related courses and 48 percent of Booth students concentrate in entrepreneurship. The school sponsors eight student entrepreneur groups; most of them focus on raising capital for start-ups within the Chicago Booth community, but some groups also tackle issues such as energy, family business, technology, business and social welfare issues (http://www.chicagobooth.edu/entrepreneurship/resources/groups.aspx).
Students interested in private equity and venture capital at Chicago Booth have access to VC competitions, connections with the Chicago Private Equity Network, and the Hyde Park Angels (venture capital organizations composed of of University of Chicago alumni, investors, local entrepreneurs, and business leaders).
A graduate of Chicago Booth could exit with a diploma in one hand and his or her own small business in the other. The Edward L. Kaplan New Venture Challenge (NVC) is one of the most lucrative student business competitions, having financed and launched 60 student start-ups with over $675,000 in capital. Those businesses, in turn, have gone on to raise over $100 million in capital (http://www.chicagobooth.edu/entrepreneurship/competitions/index.aspx).
The Polsky Center currently does not offer small business advising services to the public, although it does provide those resources for student and alumni. However, a website is in the works that will be geared toward local small businesses and entrepreneurs. That site will provide basic information on starting a business, as well as a platform for networking. The Polsky Center along with several student organizations also run seminars and events that are open to the public: Private Equity, Entrepreneurship, and Venture Capital Workshops, Innovation Workshop Series, and Exploring Entrepreneurship Series.
Check http://www.chicagobooth.edu/entrepreneurship/conferences/series.aspx for more info on Chicago Booth’s conferences, or our events calendar for upcoming conferences (http://www.smallbizchicago.com/category/events/month).
In addition, the Polsky Center manages an internship program that places Booth entrepreneurship students in qualifying local small businesses. Check http://www.chicagobooth.edu/entrepreneurship/docs/BusinessAssistance.pdf for a list of available resources for Chicago small businesses.
Chicago Booth’s Social Venture Forum provides connections between socially-minded businesses and non-profits with potential investors. There are several student clubs, such as Net Impact and Local Optima, which are focused on creating positive social impact through businesses as well as nonprofit organizations (http://www.chicagobooth.edu/entrepreneurship/docs/SocialVenture-Assistance.pdf).
Chicago Booth has over 70 student-run organizations geared toward promoting diversity and social connections between students in the business school. In order to promote women and minority entrepreneurs, the Herman Family Fellowship offers an annual scholarship to an incoming entrepreneurial-focused female Booth student. The scholarship pays for two years of tuition in the MBA program, in addition to admittance in the Herman Family Fellows, a network of Herman Family Fellowship Alumni.