Our Mission

Our Mission

The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is bridging the gap between knowledge and practice, idea and action, and research and impact through education, partnerships, and new venture creation.


The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation drives venture creation and technology commercialization within the University of Chicago and the surrounding community. Through education, partnerships, and new venture support, the Polsky Center advances the knowledge and practice of entrepreneurship and accelerates the commercialization of research. The Polsky Center helps students, faculty, staff, alumni, researchers and local entrepreneurs navigate the complex process of creating and growing a startup.

It’s resources include a 34,000 square-foot, multi-disciplinary co-working space called the Polsky Exchange; a $20 million Innovation Fund that invests in early-stage ventures; and a state-of-the-art Fabrication Lab for prototyping new products.

Polsky's Evolution

Our Timeline


University of Chicago Business School founded.


No entrepreneurship concentration.

3 classes taught by practitioners.

Dean Hamada decides Chicago needs a strong entrepreneurship program.

Program aims:

  • Mix of research and practitioner faculty.
  • Mix of classroom/experiential learning.
  • Student facing.


  • Entrepreneurship concentration introduced.
  • Kauffman Foundation gives Booth $1M grant to start entrepreneurship center.
  • Ellen Rudnick, ’73, hired as Executive Director.


  • Michael Polsky, ’87, leading energy entrepreneur, endows center.
  • Staff, faculty, and programming increase dramatically.
Michael Polsky
Our Benefactor

Michael Polsky

Michael Polsky, MBA ’87, is the founder, President, and CEO of Invenergy which specializes in developing and owning various power generation reserves with an emphasis on renewable resources. With nearly 30 years of experience in the energy industry, he is widely recognized as a pioneer and an industry leader in the cogeneration and independent power industry in North America.

In 2002, Polsky endowed the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, which is named after him. After an additional $50M gift in 2016, Michael Polsky expanded the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, unifying and enhancing UChicago’s leading venture creation initiatives.

#PolskyProud to have supported

20 Startups Accepted into Phase II of the 2024 Alumni New Venture Challenge

The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is pleased to announce the 20 startups accepted into the 2024 Alumni New Venture Challenge (ANVC), a global competition dedicated to supporting…

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