October 18-20 | Tucson, AZ

The Research Institution GAP Fund and Accelerator Program Summit

Poets&Quants – Carlson School At The Center Of Entrepreneurship

Get our GAP Insights Newsletter

Join Upcoming Events

October 18-20, 2023 / Tucson, AZ
The annual summit for research institution gap fund and accelerator programs, including proof of concept programs, startup accelerators, and university venture funds

The Story

Steven Kutz made the most of his MBA experience to help launch his business, Common Good Investments LLC.

His goal with the venture is to create a non-profit, public, and private partnership to produce built-to-suit housing for the homeless and other vulnerable populations.

At the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, Kutz took classes designed to help new startups, enrolled in the experiential learning track designed for budding entrepreneurs, and won a coveted Sands Fellowship, which provided funding for his idea.

Ultimately, it led his business to be named one of the 2022 most disruptive MBA startups by Poets&Quants.

Kutz is one example of the hundreds of students who have made their entrepreneurial dreams a reality thanks to the Carlson School.

“The MBA gave me the time to recognize what was important to me in my future career: flexibility, service to others, and long-term wealth-building potential,” he told Poets&Quants in December.

A Hub for Entrepreneurs

Over the years, the Carlson School has become a hub for entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial thinking. From mentorship from world-class faculty and experienced entrepreneurs to support through our dedicated center for entrepreneurship, the Carlson School is there to help students at every step.

One of the most important ways the Carlson School helps aspiring entrepreneurs is through programming and coursework. The Carlson School is home to the Gary S. Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship, which inspires, educates, and connects the next generation of Minnesota’s entrepreneurs. The center mobilizes the community and provides support for emerging entrepreneurs, both within and outside the university, through experiential courses and outreach programs.

The Holmes Center hosts MN Cup, the largest statewide startup competition in the country. Through that competition, Carlson School students have been connected with education, mentorship, and support to launch and accelerate the development of their new ventures.

Experiences in the Classroom

In the classroom, Carlson School MBA students can choose between four experiential learning paths. One of them is the Carlson Ventures Enterprise, dedicated to students interested in learning and practicing entrepreneurial frameworks, tools, and mindsets. Through a combination of coursework and real-world expertise, students in the Ventures Enterprise research, validate, and implement new business concepts using entrepreneurial best practices and methodologies.

There are also fellowships along the way to help fund ventures started by MBA students. Two of these are the DePodesta and Sands Fellowships, which provide $15,000 and $5,000 respectively in funding for their startups.

Along the way, students can take part in the New Product Design & Business Development course, where they receive hands-on experience on all issues related to the development and implementation of the design of new products. The Carlson School also offers STARTUP: Customer Development and Testing, a course for students looking to launch a venture to test business model assumptions and receive frequent feedback from instructors and mentors.

New in 2023, the Carlson School will be one of four business schools nationwide to host 20 minority-owned businesses through the ASCEND National Cohort business growth program.  MBA students will work with minority-owned businesses to enhance their growth and work through business challenges. The Carlson School will also provide a curriculum to business owners to support their growth and development.

While in these classes, students learn from faculty members who are world-renowned in their field and receive mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs.

After graduation, student-led ventures go on to make a significant impact throughout the state, the region, and the world.

Current Carlson School MBA student and undergraduate alum Morgan Kerfeld and a group of University of Minnesota students recently founded Telo. The company, which took shape in the STARTUP: Customer Development and Testing course, rethought the rollator walker by putting the user in front, which could benefit millions of mobility-compromised people.

What started as an idea in a Carlson School course is one of the most promising startups in Minnesota.


Full story: Poets&Quants – Carlson School At The Center Of Entrepreneurship

Get the Report

More GAP News