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U-M launches Venture Shaping Program to turn ideas into startups

Business ideas don't always make profitable businesses. A new program at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business hopes to make that transition more commonplace in Ann Arbor.

U-M is launching the Mayleben Family Venture Shaping Program through the Zell-Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. The new program is being funded by a gift from Aastrom Biosciences president & CEO Tim Mayleben (a U-M graduate) and his wife, Dawn Mayleben. The grant program will teach student teams from across the University how to transform identified opportunities into businesses.

"It takes an idea and transforms it into a business structure," says Tim Faley, managing director of the Zell-Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. "We see a lot of ideas."

The U-M Venture Shaping Program will provide teams of student entrepreneurs with guidance from faculty while going through a three-part process. That process includes directed discovery, value system synthesis, and profiting from capabilities framework evaluation. The idea is to prove that the startup meets a validated market need and will provide a cash prize so they can take the business to the next level.

Breaking through that key wall of building a business (taking it from an idea to a reality) is the major constraint that has been identified by U-M officials. The Venture Shaping Program hopes to help 25 student-led business each year.

"We see it as the big bottleneck in the process," Faley says. "We're happy to have a program to handle that program."

Source: Tim Faley, managing director of the Zell-Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business
Writer: Jon Zemke
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