What Drives Innovation?


Kurt Ahlm“Artists evolve culture, scholars evolve knowledge, and entrepreneurs evolve the marketplace through their idea.” - Matt Maloney ’10, Founder of Grub Hub

This is a great quote that I pulled from an equally great video recently created by the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation here at Booth. Booth has long been a school that embraces entrepreneurs, but more importantly the entrepreneurial mindset. With the most flexible curriculum on the planet and eleven electives, six of which can be taken anywhere at the University of Chicago, Booth supports those students who really want to explore passions and pursue innovative ideas. Since the end of the nineteenth century, the University of Chicago has been at the forefront of cultural, intellectual and entrepreneurial evolution, and the work being done at the Polsky Center is just another extension of our innovative culture at work.

A few weeks ago the Polsky Center completed the 17th Annual Edward Kaplan New Venture Challenge (NVC). The NVC is a competition the spans the full academic year and helps students launch and run new businesses. Over 100 teams apply to the program, but only a few make it to the finals. The select few are competing for their share of cash prizes and support services such as legal support, professional consulting and office space in the ARCH Venture Partners New Business Incubator housed within the Polsky Center. You can read about this year’s competitors and winner here.

The success of the NVC led to the more recent creation of the Social New Venture Challenge, the Global New Venture Challenge and the College New Venture Challenge which also completed their business plan competitions last month.

Take a minute to look at how the Polsky Center, through the NVC in particular, brings entrepreneurship to life at Booth by helping to evolve the art of business ideas, in particular the pitch, with the knowledge of commercializing that idea and eventually bringing that idea to the market.