By educating students, colleges are investing in the future. Now four universities are investing in small business by establishing venture capital funds to make equity investments in businesses started by students, alumni, faculty or staff.
- The $1 million Eugene Lang Entrepreneurial Initiative Fund at Columbia Business School enables MBA students to submit a business plan for funding consideration. Those approved can obtain seed grants ranging from $50,000 to $250,000 per project in the form of debt, equity or a combination of the two.
- The Hal S. Goldman Fund at Northwestern University's J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management invests up to $50,000 per year in a company owned by a current student or recent graduate. The business can be a start-up or ongoing concern, but the applicant must operate the company full time. The university takes a small equity position in the firm.
- The New Venture Fund, operated through The Anderson School at University of California, Los Angeles, is open to graduating students and recent alumni seeking start-up or early-stage financing.
- The Wolverine Venture Fund at the University of Michigan Business School is available to alumni, students, staff and faculty. The fund lends to any type of business but is primarily interested in technology firms and ideas that leverage the university's research strengths. Applications can be submitted any time but are reviewed twice annually; the next review will be in November. The amount invested varies, but no one company will receive more than 10 percent of the $1 million fund. Those companies funded are also required to raise an equal amount from other sources.