Preparing tomorrow’s innovators and entrepreneurs, today.

From Fortune 500 firms and large corporations to start-ups and small businesses, innovative thinking and an entrepreneurial mindset are vital to success. At Simon, our students develop the skills and capabilities of an entrepreneurial mindset, so they can identify opportunities, mitigate risk, and bring new ideas to market—regardless of what field they enter.

Executive Professor Roberto Colangelo explains the entrepreneurial ecosystem and innovation mindset at Simon Business School

Inside Simon’s innovation & entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Nurturing innovation and fostering an entrepreneurial mindset are critical to equipping students for professional success. The Simon community includes a network of industry partners, alumni, local businesses, and non-profit organizations. These resources enable us to offer students curricular and co-curricular opportunities to support entrepreneurial and innovative activities.

Full-Time MBA students working together outside the University of Rochester Commons.

Experiential Learning

Simon Venture Fund

The purpose of the Simon School Venture Fund is to create a unique experiential learning opportunity for students with respect to venture capital, private equity, and entrepreneurship. This philanthropically endowed fund provides hands-on due diligence, interaction with entrepreneurs, presentations to advisory board members, direct participation in investment decisions, and ongoing monitoring and analysis of investments. The objective is to make sound investment decisions based on comprehensive due diligence and investment analysis with the intent to perpetuate the life of the fund.

Simon Vision Consulting

Simon Vision Consulting (Vision) is a professionally-managed, student-led organization at the University of Rochester’s Simon Business School. We leverage unique work experiences and the analytical, innovative minds at Simon Business School to solve complex business problems throughout the Greater Rochester Area and beyond. Vision ultimately strives to foster professionals adept in framing ambiguous situations, collaborating with diverse colleagues, and developing concise, actionable solutions for firms, regardless of their size, structure, or industry.

Simon Innovation and Entrepreneurship Club

A merger of the Simon Entrepreneurs Association (SEA) and the Real Estate at Simon (REAS) clubs, the Simon Innovation and Entrepreneurship Club engages Simon alumni in the start-up world to assist in entrepreneurial endeavors. Through entrepreneurial based workshops, the club exposes students to the start-up world—from ideation, business plans, strategy, funding, launch, and more. The club stays involved with the Rochester real-estate and development scene and also organizes panels and downtown development tours.


In partnership with the Rochester City School District and through the leadership of Simon Volunteers, the Simon community participates annually in the P.I.E.C.E.S. educational equity program. Since Spring of 2017, Simon students have volunteered to teach 6th graders growth mindset, finance, and entrepreneurship. Through the entrepreneurship module, students are taught about ideation and idea generating, funding, and business plan development.  At the end of the module, the RCSD students are invited to Simon for the day to deliver business plan presentations and celebrate their completion of the PIECES program.

Project-based learning
Critical thinking
Social Justice

Resources & Opportunities

Ain Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation

The Ain Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation is an interdisciplinary center that educates the University and Rochester communities on developing and applying an entrepreneurial mindset. The Ain Center serves to identify and create new partnerships with students, alumni, local businesses, and non-profit organizations; coordinates and publicizes school-based experiences, including courses and signature programming; informs faculty of grant and bridging fellowship opportunities; and encourages collaboration among the schools engaged in entrepreneurship education at the University of Rochester

UR Ventures

UR Ventures works with University of Rochester faculty and staff to protect, develop and commercialize the University’s intellectual property. Additionally, URVentures is involved in compliance, revenue distribution of licensing income and contract negotiation.

The Biomedical Engineering Senior Design Program

The Biomedical Engineering Senior Design program introduces students to a systematic, customer-driven design and problem-solving approach to developing prototypes of medical devices and research instruments. The program includes a two-semester sequence of courses that starts with students benchmarking and analyzing existing medical devices. They then break into teams to solve a problem posed by Rochester faculty members, clinicians from our medical center, the local community, or local industry during the remainder of the year. Student teams are supervised by biomedical engineering faculty, who provide both technical and project management guidance. Seniors work directly with the graduate students in our CMTI program.

Health Labs (URMC)

Within the UR Health Lab, providers and researchers work alongside data analysts, computer scientists, engineers, business professionals, and more. We devise breakthrough systems that incorporate the most advanced machine learning models, virtual and augmented realities, 3D imaging modalities, and wearable multifunction sensors. The Lab is a multidisciplinary collaboration that brings together the teams, expertise and resources needed to develop precision medicine that improves the lives of all involved.

Barbara J. Burger iZone

iZone is a space, community and program dedicated to the exploration of ideas. We believe that all students have the power to solve the problems that keep them up at night. We offer a variety of programs, workshops, and services to support students as they grow and explore their ability to make their unique impact on the world.

Lab Collaboration Students

Rochester bridge

Off-Campus Experiential Learning (University of Rochester Affiliates)

Excell Partners

Excell is a seed and early-stage venture fund that invests in high potential companies emerging from the communities and universities across upstate New York. We are usually the first institutional money in and we frequently lead the round.  In 2013, Excell was chosen to be the only fund manager of New York State’s MWBE Fund. The average investment for Excell is $250,000 to $500,000.


NextCorps is a non-profit helping innovative technology companies launch and grow. Located in Sibley Square, we’re at the epicenter of the region’s Innovation Zone, serving as a launchpad for startups and emerging technologies. Explore all our facility has to offer — from open coworking space, private and group meeting areas, and offices of all sizes, to fully equipped labs where you can further develop your innovation.

U.S. National Science Foundation's Innovation Corps

The U.S. National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps™) program is an immersive, entrepreneurial training program that facilitates the transformation of invention to impact. This immersive, seven-week experiential training program prepares scientists and engineers to extend their focus beyond the university laboratory — accelerating the economic and societal benefits of NSF-funded and other basic research projects that are ready to move toward commercialization. The University of Rochester is a partner in the newly awarded NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps™) Hub: Interior Northeast Region (IN I-Corps).

Center for Emerging & Innovative Science

The mission of the Center for Emerging and Innovative Science (CEIS) is to promote economic development in New York State by bringing together companies and university researchers who have areas of common interest and encouraging collaboration through funding and outreach. Over the past ten years, CEIS funding has been leveraged to generate over $702 million in economic impact and the creation of 239 new jobs. By bringing together multiple universities, companies, government agencies, and economic development organizations in a collaborative environment, we provide leadership in the identification and realization of technology-driven economic development in the Finger Lakes region. Our primary technology focus is on optics, photonics, and imaging in support of the regional cluster of companies in those industries.


Mark Ain Business Model Competition

The Mark Ain Business Model Competition provides aspiring student entrepreneurs at the University of Rochester an opportunity to present their business idea (in any industry) and compete for cash prizes. The competition is preceded by a series of workshops on the subjects of articulation of concept, sizing up market dynamics, development of business and operational models, and exposure to startup implementation issues.

Learn More

Simon MS students collaborating in a lab on campus.

Innovation & entrepreneurship in practice.


Meet some alumni entrepreneurs.

Joe Abrams

Simon provided me a solid foundation of principles in marketing, finance, and operations. I used many of the lessons learned in all aspects of starting, managing, and exiting high-growth companies.

  • Joe Abrams ’74S (MBA)
  • Co-Founder, The Software Toolworks 1983-1994
  • Co-Founder, Intermix Media 1994-2005

Read Joe's Entrepreneurial Journey

Saima Rathor

The education I received at the Simon School provided me with the foundation I needed to be able to start a company—from the analytical and research skills to the importance of building relationships with your peers and professors in business school and with colleagues in the workforce.

  • Saima Rathor ’95S (MBA)
  • Co-Founder, EpicLight Beauty

Read Saima's Entrepreneurial Journey

Rameet Kohli

At Simon I received a well-rounded education covering key aspects of entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, operations and strategy that prepared me to start and run a successful business. I don't think I would be where I am today without my Simon MBA and the help of the Simon alumni network.

  • Rameet Kohli ’05S (MBA)
  • Co-Founder/President & COO
  • Metrical, Inc.

Read Rameet's Entrepreneurial Journey

Iveth Reynolds

Simon changed my perspective on leadership and running a business. I gained a greater understanding of streamlining processes and utilizing data to guide and support these processes, resulting in decision making that is both intentional and strategic.

  • Iveth Reynolds ’12S (MBA)
  • CEO, Tri-Mar Consulting Inc

Read Iveth's Entrepreneurial Journey

Sharpen your skills to develop an innovation and entrepreneurial mindset.

The program curriculum for Simon’s Innovation & Entrepreneurial minor is designed to help you strengthen your ability to think with an innovative and entrepreneurial mindset. 

Click on each tile for a brief course description (note: this chart is subject to change).

ENT 422

Generating and Screening Entrepreneurial Ideas

ENT 423

New Venture Development

ENT 425

Technical Entrepreneurship

ENT 432

Basic Business Law

ENT 442C

Special Topics in Entrepreneurship: Practicum in Urban Entrepreneurship


Entrepreneurial Finance

FIN 441A

Special Topics in Finance: Real Estate

ENT 435

Negotiation Theory and Practice: Bargaining for Value

GBA 442A

Deal Making


Innovation Strategy

STR 442G

Leading a Culture of Innovation

MKT 432

New Product Strategy