DePaul University’s undergraduate program in entrepreneurship has been ranked among the 25 best in the nation by Entrepreneur magazine and The Princeton Review. Results of the “Top Colleges for Entrepreneurship 2013” survey are featured in the magazine’s October issue.
DePaul’s program at the Driehaus College of Business ranked 24th among more than 2,000 schools surveyed. The 60-question survey probed schools on their commitment to entrepreneurship inside and outside the classroom; the percentage of faculty, students and alumni actively and successfully involved in entrepreneurial endeavors; and the number and reach of mentorship programs. Schools also were asked about scholarships and grants for entrepreneurial studies and projects, and their support for school-sponsored business plan competitions. In all, over 30 data points were analyzed to tally the final list of top ranking programs and schools.
Harold P. Welsch, Coleman Chair in Entrepreneurship at DePaul, credits the recognition to an “active group of students and professionals who are highly committed to entrepreneurship.”
“This includes dedicated faculty, the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center staff, student groups and individual students who have a vision that entrepreneurship is the lifeblood of our economy and will spark the turnaround of the future growth of our country,” he says
Program nurtures student and alumni start-ups
The ranking came as no surprise to Ramzey Nassar (BUS ’13), who majored in entrepreneurship at Driehaus. DePaul’s entrepreneurship program, Nassar says, gave him “a shoulder to lean on” for the recent founding of his business, ThreadMeUp.com, a technology start-up that provides a platform for custom apparel merchandizing. “I started a clothing company called Habibtees.com while in the entrepreneurship program, which lead me to understand the inefficiencies between production and technology and how they interact in my industry,” he says. “So I set out to solve it. This solution is called ThreadMeUp.com.”
Nassar says he was led to his current career path by the program’s diverse group of professors, its connections to the local entrepreneur community and guidance provided by DePaul’s Coleman Entrepreneurship Center, which advises students on how to start and grow businesses. “The Coleman Entrepreneurship Center was a home away from home for me,” Nassar says. “It was a place to go when I hit a roadblock. It helped me stay persistent and push through the hurdles. It also helped me plan more strategically and forecast where I needed (my business) to be in certain time frames.”
“Being a student and running a company can be tough,” he says, “but finding that balance and having a place and mentors gave me the comfort to know I am not alone.”
DePaul business student Toni M. Di Silvestro says she also has found a nurturing community for young entrepreneurs at DePaul, especially at college events that bring successful and aspiring entrepreneurs together. Such opportunities inspired the DePaul senior to found Simply Me, a small but growing high-quality jewelry and handicrafts business.
“Hearing the stories of other entrepreneurs, the ones who came to DePaul to speak in the classrooms or appear at events sponsored by (the student entrepreneur club) DePaul CEO, gave me the courage to take that step and just do it,” she says. “A lot of times people just hold back because they are afraid of failure, but you learn from other entrepreneurs that failure just comes with the territory. You can’t let that hold you back from starting that company you have dreamed about.”
“We have a strong entrepreneurial community that is growing constantly,” says Di Silvestro “Being a part of that really helps you take your business to the next level.”