University Entrepreneur Program Spotlight: Depaul University

DePaul University

Depaul University, located in Chicago, was ranked #20 in the nation’s Top 25 Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Programs. In the last five years, DU graduates ave started 133 companies and have collectively raised over $70 million in funding.

The Coleman Entrepreneur Center (CEC)

Depaul University has offered courses in entrepreneurship since the 1980’s, but with the help of the Coleman Foundation, Depaul was able to expand their program exponentially. The foundation gifted the university with a million-plus grant, which in turn helped Depaul to build their own center for entrepreneurship.

Established in 2003, the Coleman Entrepreneur Center is an institution that takes pride in empowering students, prepping alumni for success, and aiding the community in building sustainable businesses that do good and do well in Chicago.

The CEC’s goal for its students is to “connect, advise, and inspire” through experiential programs in diverse ecosystems. After nearly 20 years, the CEC has consistently maintained a reputation of excellence not only academically, but also through its dedication to strengthening the Chicago community.

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Courses & Cost

The cost to attend Depaul University is an estimated ,369 per year, with a requirement of a minimum ACT score of 22, and SAT score of 1080. There are multiple financial aid opportunities such as grants, scholarships, and student loans. The average total of undergraduate need-based gift aid at the university is ,085.

Students can pursue a BBA in Management, with a concentration in Entrepreneurship. The university also offers graduate programs and courses in entrepreneurship. In order to obtain a concentration in entrepreneurship, students must take a minimum of 16 credit hours in entrepreneurship courses. Courses include, but are not limited to:

  • MGT 370 Business Plan Development
  • MGT 373 Creativity and Entrepreneurship
  • MGT 340 Leadership in Sports: Lessons in Coaching in the Workplace\
  • MGT 354 Global Human Resource Management

Faculty & Mentoring Opportunities

There are over 50 mentors readily available to assist students within the CEC.

Coleman Center mentors provide advice, consultation, financial support and networking connections to the center. Our mentors represent a range of expertise and include distinguished entrepreneurs, established business executives and professional advisors. –CEC, Depaul University

Bruce Leech

The Executive Director of the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center, Bruce Leech maintains a reputation of entrepreneurial excellence through his involvement in the communities of both Depaul and the city that it resides in, Chicago. Leech has been recognized on multiple occasions for his contributions. In 2009 Leech was awarded the Catalyst Award from The Coleman Foundation at Depaul and in 2010 was inducted into the Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame.

In addition to these contributions and accreditations, Leech is also involved in several nonprofit organizations. He is a member of the Solidarity Bridge board, an organization that provides medical aid to Bolivian communities, and is also an active supporter of Living Water, which provides fresh water well programs in developing countries.

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Programs & Resources

Global Entrepreneur in Residence Program

DePaul University and the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center (CEC) have chosen to participate in the city of Chicago’s Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence (GEIR) Program. Through the program, DePaul will aid international alumni company founders and essential personnel to remain in the U.S. through the H-1B visa pathway to retain much needed and highly technical talent in Chicago. –CEC, Depaul University

Resident activity is separated into five different dimensions, each dimension with its own set targeted groups, performance indicators, and objectives that are customized based on the needs of the resident and the universities entrepreneurial needs.

The five different dimensions include:

  • Learning
    This dimension requires the resident to contribute to and assist in the development of Depaul’s entrepreneurial interests.
  • Thought Leadership
    Residents will assist the Coleman Center in the marketing aspect of entrepreneurial activities.
  • Networking
    Involves residents in improvements that will help Depaul and the Coleman Center to better utilize the universities entrepreneurial assets.
  • Program Longevity
    This aspect of the program is oriented around maintaining continuous growth and expansion of the GEIR program.

This program only accentuates how much the university invests in the Chicago community. Depaul University is proud of its city and has proved time and again that the institution is dedicated to improving and maintaining it.

Women in Entrepreneurship Institute

An especially unique and budding resource offered by Depaul University is the Women in Entrepreneurship Institute (WEI), an established facility that is dedicated to maintaining the growth rates of female entrepreneurs in the U.S.

“The Women in Entrepreneurship Institute is the nation’s first comprehensive Institute for women founders that integrates academic learning, research, incubation, funding and public policy. Launching in July 2018, the Institute supports women entrepreneurs through academic research and programs as well as initiatives that invest in the success and sustainability of women-owned businesses.” –WEI, Coleman Entrepreneur Center 

The rate of growth for women-owned businesses in the nation is 114%, and 38% of businesses currently in the U.S. are owned by women.

In spite of these statistics, only 2% of venture capital funding was awarded to these companies. Depaul University is well known for its inclusive and diverse community, this reputation is only cemented by the WEI initiative.

The program is divided into two phases:

Phase One:

  • Entrepreneurial Education
    Academic courses that are part of DePaul’s highly ranked entrepreneurship program, beginning with the proposed new course, Women Entrepreneurs, under development by Alyssa Westring, associate professor of management and entrepreneurship.
  • Business Pitch Competition
    An annual pitch competition that awards merit-based funding to student businesses involved in the institute.
  • Startup Incubator Workspace
    The incubator serves DePaul students through a shared workspace within the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center.
  • Fellow in Women and Entrepreneurship
    The annual fellowship will offer support research in entrepreneurship and gender at DePaul.

Phase Two:

  • Endowed Chair in Women and Entrepreneurship
    The chair will offer research leadership, student engagement and curricular support for entrepreneurship and gender within the university.

This program offers a special opportunity for a marginalized group of budding professionals that will make all the difference for their entrepreneurial future.

“The support I received from the DePaul community while developing EarlyVention was, and continues to be, invaluable. The center connected me to different networks of entrepreneurs and experts that helped boost my confidence to keep going. Today, I still feel that DePaul has my back.” Elizabeth (MBA ’15) Co-Founder and CEO, EarlyVention

Successful Alumni

The median reported yearly income for 2016 MBA graduates was ,000. In the last five years, DU graduates ave started 133 companies and have collectively raised over million in funding.

An example of one of the numerous success stories of a Depaul Entrepreneurship Alumni is Joanna M. Bauza, who graduated from DU in 2001 with her MBA. Following her graduation, Bauza and her husband co-founded their now multinational, multi-million-dollar business The Cervantes Group, a technology talent acquisition, and services company.

The Cervantes Group has been ranked #1,465 on the Inc. 5,000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States. It is also ranked as one of the top Hispanic companies, as Bauza is a third generation entrepreneur that was originally raised in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico.

Bauza encourages students at DePaul, where she teaches a class in leadership, to emulate this practice. “I tell students, ‘Where you are right now will be very different from where you will be in five years.’” She advises them to bring their special experiences and accomplishments forward to apply them in a fresh context. –Business Exchange, Depaul University

The CEC endeavors to expose its students to the numerous viable career opportunities in entrepreneurship while also providing them with the necessary knowledge and skills to execute their raw ideas into legitimate and prosperous business ventures. Depaul University is an institution that only grows in excellence through its experiential education approach and its focus on the importance of community and leadership.

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Dave Clark