New Global Network for Alumni Entrepreneurs and Investors to Be Launched

Dean Madhav Rajan introduces a new forthcoming initiative called the UChicago Global Entrepreneurs Network (GEN) at an alumni event in Mexico City. Focused on connecting University of Chicago alumni entrepreneurs with investors and other resources, the UChicago GEN will launch later in 2020.

With more than 50,000 University of Chicago Booth School of Business alumni in over 120 countries who engage with the university through 92 clubs, many of them are or will become entrepreneurs in their careers. Entrepreneurship has become the number one concentration at Chicago Booth and is rapidly expanding throughout the University of Chicago with classes in the undergraduate college, the Harris School of Public Policy, and even the Divinity School. Additionally, it remains important for UChicago entrepreneurial alumni to have lifetime learning, support, and networking opportunities. Academic research shows that having a large and active alumni network increases the speed at which startups come to market and the economic value they create. UChicago alumni have been very active in building many offline and online networking groups including the University of Chicago Entrepreneurs Facebook group with over 1300 members, the Chicago Booth PE/VC Lab Alumni LinkedIn group with nearly 700 members, Booth Entrepreneurs – South East Asia on WhatsApp with 175 members, and the Chicago Booth Angels Network with over 100 participants and active investment groups in London, New York, and San Francisco and several more chapters in the organization phase.

To connect and support these alumni driven initiatives, in 2020 the University of Chicago, the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation are launching the UChicago Global Entrepreneurs Network (GEN). The UChicago GEN will leverage the premier networking tool alumni already use, LinkedIn, and offer a members only web portal to create connections with existing groups, a calendar of global events, and entrepreneurship education and content. To ensure that UChicago GEN creates real value for our alumni entrepreneurs and investors, nearly 100 alumni worldwide were interviewed and a survey of alumni entrepreneurs and investors worldwide was conducted that received 350 responses from 40 countries. Enthusiasm for this project was high with 68% of respondents saying they would be extremely likely to join the UChicago GEN. More insights from research and a review of academic research on the importance of the alumni network for entrepreneurs will be featured in an upcoming article in the Chicago Booth Review this spring.

If you are interested in receiving an invitation to the UChicago GEN when it launches please reach out to Cerise Miller at the Polsky Center.

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