Coleman Entrepreneurship Center — The entrepreneurial hub for students, faculty, staff, and alumni of DePaul University in Chicago

DePaul’s Coleman Entrepreneurship Center is a partner to the university’s nationally ranked academic entrepreneurship program in the Driehaus College of Business. The Center serves as an entrepreneurial hub for DePaul students, faculty and alumni, as well as the broader Chicago business community.

2018 Purpose Pitch Competition

2018 Purpose Pitch Competition

2018 Purpose Pitch Competition – The Coleman Entrepreneurship Center held the Second Purpose Pitch Competition, a  new venture competition on May 3, 2018.

This competition sets itself apart from others because we are promoting entrepreneurs to build what they believe with a purpose-driven business idea.

We believe the purpose is innate wishing any company and has to be accessed to reach its full potential.

Current DePaul University undergraduate and graduate students, as well as alumni, were eligible to compete.

After a competitive process, 4 startups were accepted to do a 5-minute pitch their business and purpose.

Startups focused their presentations not only on the business model but the overarching purpose and problem they are solving in society.

A total of $25,000 in prize money was awarded to contestants.

This year’s purpose pitch winner was Ann Foley, Founder of 10th Avenue Tea.

The first runner-up was Adero Knott, Founder of AK Prosthetics, followed by Estaban Perez, Founder of Universala Esports.

The finalists were rounded out by Savy Leiser, Founder of the Furever Home Friends.

Pictures by Kathy Hillegonds/ DePaul University:

Special thank you to all of the sponsors that made the Purpose Pitch possible: Cedar Hill and Sheikh Faisal Center for Entrepreneurship in the Middle East.…

Startup Intern Profile: Sharon Lavin

Startup Intern Profile: Sharon Lavin

Startup Intern Profile: Sharon Lavin – Sharon Lavin is a Public Relations and Advertising & IO Psychology student interning with Evolve, a member organization that helps entrepreneurs transition from business owners to their next phase.

Sharon has been working on email campaigns for Evolve’s late summer and fall events, and learning the ropes of Salesforce as a customer relationship management tool.

When asked about her favorite part of the ongoing internship, Sharon said “I appreciate getting the one-on-one experience of guidance and mentorship.

I have found that I get to know more about how the company was started, why it is important to the industry, and where my roll is in assisting.”…

Are You Up for the Challenge?

Are You Up for the Challenge?

Are You Up for the Challenge? – If you’re a member of the DePaul community, Launch DePaul is your opportunity to submit and pitch a new business idea.

Win cash prizes and in-kind services to help you launch your new venture!

A series of workshops will assist participants in preparation for the submission deadline on April 21, 2014.

Current DePaul University undergraduate and graduate students, as well as alumni of 2013 are eligible to compete.

To participate, a team must have at least two and no more than six members.

Fifty percent of the team must consist of current DePaul students or 2013 graduates.

Teams will compete for a pool of $10,000 in cash and additional awards of in-kind services.

The prize pool will be distributed among finalist teams based on evaluations from our team of judges, as well as audience votes, at the Launch DePaul Awards Ceremony on May 21, 2014.

Launch DePaul is a major event of the Center in Spring 2014, and we are looking for individuals to be involved in many ways–

as participants, sponsors, judges, and more.

Please keep updated with more information as it becomes available.…

Launch DePaul Awards Night 2014

Launch DePaul Awards Night 2014

Launch DePaul Awards Night 2014 – At the Launch DePaul Awards Event on May 21, six final teams pitched their new, creative ventures to a judging panel comprised of four distinguished entrepreneurs from the Chicago business community.

They were competing for a prize pool of $10,000. Audience members also contributed to the final team scores by casting their votes with blue chips in the respective teams’ boxes.

Joining us as VIP judges were Michael Arndt, Editor of Crain’s Chicago Business; John Hoesley, Managing Director of Silicon Valley Bank;

Suzanne Reade, President of Chicago ArchAngels; and Shawn Riegsecker, Founder and CEO of Centro. Jason Jacobsohn, Chicago Director of Founder Institute, served as our Honorary Emcee.

The winners of the competition placed as follows:

First Place ($5,000): PlanMatcher (online healthcare exchange), Christian Wells
Second Place ($2,500): Making Connections (autism therapy toolkits), Elizabeth Ames
Third Place ($1,000): Bbands (non-slip headband production), Bianca Perry

Honorable Mentions ($500 each):
Felicks, (student-to-student online exchange), Shaza Loutfi
Hashtagr (hashtag search engine), Khoa Nguyen
Jam City, (online platform for musical instruction and collaboration), Ian Stellmach

All winners also received Elance credits to hire freelance talent for their new companies.

Click here to see photos from the Launch DePaul Awards Night 2014. (Photos taken by Kathy Hillegonds.)

Thank You!

We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of the many individuals and organizations who have made Launch DePaul 2014 possible.

From those who contributed their time and efforts in the months leading up to the competition, to those who played active roles in the Awards Night event, our efforts would not have been possible without their support.

Launch DePaul Sponsors

Kutchins, Robbins & Diamond, Ltd. and Allen Kutchins
QUEsocial and Greg Silich
Elance and Kyle Joseph

Reception Wine

CaliVista Wines and David Kalainoff

Launch DePaul Judges

Our thanks to these individuals who served as our first-round judges for Launch DePaul 2014. They reviewed dozens of submissions, and offered valuable feedback to every team that entered the competition.

Bob Achettu
Brian Bauer
G. Deon Bradley
Mason Cole
Tim Cole
Neil Feuling
Glenn Gottfried
Bill Griffin
Aksh Gupta
Marc Grens
Lori Igleski
Jason Jacobsohn
Greg Jaros
Kyle Joseph
Teddy Kekstadt
Ron Kirschner
April Lane
John Lump
Tricia Meyer
Tony Mirchandani
RJ Pahura
Mona Pearl
Matt Ragas
Brian Rosen
Greg Silich
Jared Steffes
Kevin Turner
Alex White
Drew Whiting

Launch DePaul Coaching Workshop Leaders

Rania El-Sorrogy, Executive Director, Hatch Valley
Leo Friedman, CEO & Founder, iPromo
Scott Issen, President and CEO, Future Founders Foundation
Brian Bauer, Startup Leadership Program Chicago
Sion Owen, PitchCircus
Libo (Bob) Hou, School of Accountancy, DePaul University

DePaul Entrepreneurship Faculty

Raman Chadha
Daniel Gillespie, JD
Lisa Gundry, PhD
Laurie LaMantia
Terri Lonier, PhD
John Lump
Javier Monllor, PhD
Patrick J. Murphy, PhD
Edward Papabathini
Remo Picchietti
Sondra Simpson, EdD
Harold Welsch, PhD…

Launch DePaul 2014 Sponsors

Launch DePaul 2014 Sponsors

Launch DePaul 2014 Sponsors – We would like to extend a sincere thank you to our Launch DePaul 2014 sponsors:

Kutchins Robbins & Diamond, LTD

Helping Our Clients Achieve Financial Success
Through Sound Financial Advice

Kutchins, Robbins & Diamond, Ltd. (KRD) is a Chicago-based public accounting firm. We have been servicing clients for over two decades.  We take a proactive approach to the accounting and financial services we offer, which includes accounting, auditing, taxes, consulting and financial planning.  We focus on creating long-term relationships, emphasizing integrity and personal service.


QUEsocial is a premier social talent acquisition solution for recruiters and employee ambassadors to reach, engage and convert quality talent in the social media channel. Our social solution uniquely blends content distribution to employee fingertips for one-touch sharing, gamification, and powerful analytics into a scalable, easy-to-use SaaS platform.

New Startup Lab to Grow Student Businesses

New Startup Lab to Grow Student Businesses – As we look to the future of entrepreneurship at DePaul, the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center is pleased to announce a fundraising effort to support the creation of a highly visible suite of offices and open workspaces on the seventh floor of the DePaul Center on Depaul’s Loop Campus.

This 4,038-sq.ft. space will serve as a physical hub of entrepreneurial activity for the university, and will include a Startup Lab for students to work on new business ventures.

Located in the heart of downtown Chicago, the space will bring together co-working space, the Center’s administrative offices, advisors and training to support student entrepreneurs, recent alumni, faculty and staff.

The Startup Lab will also host dynamic programs with members of the greater Chicago business community, many of whom will serve as advisors, mentors and entrepreneurs-in-residence.

The Startup Lab’s flexible structure — with movable worktables and chairs — will allow the space to be easily transformed from a co-working environment into an event space for workshops, seminars and other gatherings.

An 18-person training room, 10-person conference room and private advising room will also be housed in the space.…

Alumni Profile: Bob Achettu

Alumni Profile: Bob Achettu

Alumni Profile: Bob AchettuMost entrepreneurial journeys follow a winding path, and Bob Achettu’s route to Founder and Managing Partner of Accelerated Growth Advisors is no different. 

After spending the first decade of his career at some of the largest organizations in the world, a role in the world of private equity transformed his view of what he wanted to do with his life. 

Bob and his team now spend their days on the front lines of Chicago’s vibrant entrepreneurial scene, working to help companies manage through various stages of growth. 

A graduate of DePaul’s College of Commerce (now known as the Driehaus College of Business), he is a true believer in the servant leadership philosophy espoused by the University.

Can you explain what your business does?

Accelerated Growth Advisors (AGA) helps entrepreneurial companies build strategic, financial, and operational infrastructure to scale. 

We’ve found that early on (the first several million in revenue) startups often focus heavily on building products and driving sales. 

They often don’t spend the time and resources needed to build a strong foundation in other parts of their business. 

AGA works with companies as they move into their second stage of growth (typically $3-$100 million in revenue). 

We ensure that these organizations have the right foundation for long-term success.

What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur?

Entrepreneurship means different things to different people. 

For me, it means freedom of thought.  I have the ability to think through and execute any idea, and the flexibility to allow my team to do the same. 

I don’t believe you need to be the founder of a company to be entrepreneurial. 

It’s about having the courage to think freely, and to be OK with, and in fact embrace, failure. 

Having worked in organizations of many sizes, my perspective is that professional development tends to occur faster and deeper at smaller companies. 

You are constantly put in situations where you are challenged and must think creatively.  You spend most of your time outside your comfort zone. 

I know, because I do every day.  Having worked for several global “blue-chip” advisory firms in the past, it gives me great pride knowing AGA provides a better learning environment for my team than companies a thousand times our size. 

That’s a good feeling as an entrepreneur.

How did your DePaul experience impact your career?

Like many DePaul students, I was a commuter and worked quite a bit during my years at the University. 

At the time, it was frustrating that I was not able to have the “typical” college experience. 

I look back now, and am grateful for the path I took. 

The core relationships I built during my time at DePaul still last to this day. 

The time management skills I learned juggling priorities became a crucial component of managing both my professional and personal life. 

Interestingly, my relationship with DePaul actually got stronger after starting my company five years ago. 

I began connecting with the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center and have built many great, new DePaul connections along the way.

What advice do you have for student entrepreneurs?

At AGA, we partner with some of the most accomplished entrepreneurs and investors in Chicago. 

We are also a high-growth company ourselves. 

There is a lot of learning that happens in between, so it’s hard to crystalize those experiences into one piece of advice. 

That being said, I’ll try for two:  1) Things move fast in entrepreneurial environment and there are many highs and lows. 

You shouldn’t bask too much in your successes, or harp too much on your failures.  Learn, adapt, and move on quickly. 

2) No matter what your service or product, all organizations big and small are about people. 

Focus first and foremost on selecting and developing the right people.  If you’ve got that component right, everything else will fall into place.…

Free Access to for DePaul Community

Free Access to for DePaul Community – Effective this fall, DePaul is pleased to announce its partnership with to provide free access to its online training video library.

Whether you are looking to get up-to-speed with the latest software, creative, or business skills, offers hundreds of high-quality instructional videos and courses at all levels.

Lynda Campus is now available for all DePaul faculty, staff and students.

Lynda Campus provides unlimited access to a vast online library of instructional videos covering the latest software, creative, and business skills.

Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, social media, web design, animation, photography, audio and video production, project management, and a wide range of other topics are covered.

With Lynda campus, you can watch full courses or short segments of courses at your own pace.

For more information about Lynda Campus, please visit…

Alumni Profile: Miss Alex White

Alumni Profile: Miss Alex White

Alumni Profile: Miss Alex WhiteFrom booking agent to performer to manager, Miss Alex White is leading the way for musicians and entrepreneurs alike.

In June 2007, Alex graduated from DePaul University’s College of Commerce (now Driehaus College of Business) with a degree in Business Management and focus in Entrepreneurship.

Immediately after graduation, Alex began working hard as the Operations Manager for Busy Beaver Button Company while managing and touring the world with her band, White Mystery.

Alex’s passion for music and creativity are what continue to drive her entrepreneurial spirit every day.

Looking back, who is one professor or staff member who had a significant impact on your DePaul experience?

One DePaul staff member who had a significant impact on my experience at DePaul is Raman Chadha.

During my freshman year, Raman learned from one of my other DePaul professors that I started my own record label after I had used it as a case study for a class project.

After Raman heard about this, he sought me out, introduced himself, and invited me to come talk to him.

Raman quickly became my mentor; he guided me as I began to explore entrepreneurship, introduced me to the William G. McGowan scholarship, which I won my senior year,

and invited me to become an Advisory Board Member of the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center.

Raman and I continued to work with one another on the direction and outreach of the Coleman Center after I graduated from DePaul.

What was your first job out of college?

My first job out of college was very cool!

I was the Operations Manager for Busy Beaver Button Company.

Busy Beaver is a woman-owned, independent business in Chicago that makes custom buttons for bands, companies like IBM, Microsoft, and more.

I remember that I was on a plane to Europe with my band on Graduation Day, and the day I returned, I started working as the Operations Manager.

During my time at Busy Beaver, I was profiled in DePaul Magazine for my work and for contributing to the growth of the company from a small business to a profitable company.

That sounds like a great entrepreneurial experience! What is your current job, and is it related to entrepreneurship as well?

Yes, I call myself a Musician Entrepreneur.

I play guitar and sing in a band, White Mystery, with my brother, Francis White.

I also manage the licensing of music, movies, and commercials, booking tours world-wide, social media outreach, finances, accounting, and marketing for the band.

I get to play the part of the performer and the entrepreneur!

How did you get the idea to expand your band into a business?

I played in bands for many years – since high school – and at the time major record labels were pursuing me.

Although that sounds cool, I decided it would be a lot cooler to start my own label.

That way, I would have control over the music and the image, rather than having a major label dictate the direction of creativity for me.

So, in 2002, I started a record label in reaction to the changing music industry, which was being majorly affected by technology and the Internet at the time.

The way that I manage my label’s consistency is through releasing vinyl and making desirable releases that are musical and artistic.

Do you have any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

One very important piece of advice is to act on impulse.

If you have an idea and a plan, there is no use in waiting.

Pursue your idea, run with it, and don’t wait!

If you are in the workforce, and you have an idea for a new software or product, and you are the kind of person who can develop it – go for it!

Don’t wait for someone else to do it for you. As an entrepreneur, you must live in the moment.

Another piece of advice that I have is to follow up and always say thank you.

Following up is a key to success. Someone who rejects you today might have a willing ear in 6 months – or less!

People who have ideas, advice, or money are people you should always continue to follow up with.

It is very important to develop relationships with people who can help your idea prosper.

Thanking is another very important key to success.

This idea really follows the DePaul philosophy of Vincentian Service, being a good citizen, and being ethical.

I believe that in finding success in entrepreneurship, it is essential to be thankful for everything.

For example, my band, White Mystery, is currently the face of a new Levi’s campaign, which we are really enjoying!

This opportunity did not come out of the blue, however; it was the result of many conversations—many of which were following up and thanking.…

Do You Have a $2,000 Idea?

Do You Have a $2,000 Idea?

Do You Have a $2,000 Idea? – Put on your creativity caps, DePaul students, and get ready to submit your innovative ideas to the 5th Annual Student Innovation Awards competition.

DePaul’s Center for Creativity and Innovation and the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center are partnering with the Chicago Innovation Awards to host the annual competition at DePaul.

This program recognizes students’ creativity, originality, problem-solving abilities, and opportunity recognition skills.

The competition is open to currently enrolled undergrad and graduate students, working individually or in teams of two.

First place in each division (undergraduate and graduate) receives a $2,000 scholarship; second place, a $1,000 scholarship; and third place, a $500 scholarship.

Our online application system is ready to accept your nominations until 11:59pm on January 9, 2015.

Finalists will present their ideas at our Innovation Awards Ceremony on February 12, 2015. For details and to submit, visit…

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