Leadership in Action

Entrepreneurship

Wharton’s spirit is entrepreneurial at all levels – active, innovative, and engaging. Our depth of resources gives you the means to translate your ideas into action. Wharton, together with Penn, provides resources to develop entrepreneurial skills and start entrepreneurial ventures. Tapping into these opportunities, students develop an adaptive management style that will lead to successful entrepreneurial careers, whether building businesses, working at high-growth companies or leading innovation in emerging markets.

Entrepreneurial Resources:

Wharton Entrepreneurship

In 1973, The Wharton School became the first school to develop a fully integrated curriculum of entrepreneurial studies. Today,  Wharton Entrepreneurship is one of the most influential hubs of entrepreneurship in the world, and the driving force behind the entrepreneurial resources at Wharton and Penn.More than 20 professors and practitioners bring cutting-edge research and years of entrepreneurial experience to the classroom setting and help guide individuals’ entrepreneurial initiatives. Outside the classroom, co-curricular programs support students in venture development and entrepreneurial career paths

Get up-to-date information on entrepreneurial activity around Wharton and Penn: Follow Wharton Entrepreneurship on Twitter (@whartonentrep) and Facebook (Group: WhartonEntrep)

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Wharton Business Plan Competition

Nearly 400 students from across the University of Pennsylvania take part in the Wharton Business Plan Competition (Wharton BPC)each year. Participants shape their business ideas through the competition’s workshop series, judge feedback and one-on-one mentoring. The competition culminates in the spring with the Venture Finals, where more than $100,000 in cash and prizes is at stake. In front of the Philadelphia entrepreneurial community, the "Great Eight" finalists pitch their companies before the judges, and a Grand Prize winner is announced. The Venture Finals also includes the People's Choice Award, an elevator pitch competition that allows the audience to vote for its favorite team.

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Venture Initiation Program

At the Wharton Venture Initiation Program (VIP), University of Pennsylvania students build and launch their startup ventures. An educational business incubator managed by Wharton Entrepreneurship, VIP is a competitive program with participants receiving office space, professional advising, educational events, and on- and off-campus networking opportunities. While in VIP, students become part of an entrepreneurial community that provides an invaluable support system of fellow student entrepreneurs.

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Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program

The Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program (EIR) allows Wharton and Penn students the opportunity to tap the brainpower and expertise of successful entrepreneurs. Students enjoy one-on-one, 30-minute sessions with the visiting Entrepreneur in Residence, drawing on his or her insight and experience. EIR consists of the Robert Haft Fall Series and the Spring Series. Each academic year, 15 to 18 entrepreneurs come to campus to participate in this program, exposing students to a variety of industries and entrepreneurial stages of progress.

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Entrepreneurial Intern Program

Working at a startup not only provides an excellent environment for learning; it can also spur the development of one’s own venture or offer an entrepreneurial career path in its own right. In collaboration with the MBA Career Management Office, Wharton Entrepreneurship offers programs, activities and resources for students with a passion for working — as interns or full-time — at an early-stage company. Resources to facilitate the placement of students in early-stage companies include: fellowships for students interning at startups; workshops focused on networking tactics; how to develop a creative, compelling personal pitch that will appeal to a start-up; peer-to-peer advising on best practices for the startup job search; and outreach programs to engage venture-backed companies that had not previously considered hiring MBA interns.

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Wharton Small Business Development Center (WSBDC)

Wharton students can gain real-world consulting skills while helping small businesses via the Wharton Small Business Development Center (Wharton SBDC). For more than three decades, Wharton SBDC has assisted thousands of small businesses in the Greater Philadelphia area as part of its dual mission: 1) to provide one-on-one management consulting; and 2) to enhance the educational experience of Wharton students. Working closely with SBDC’s senior management team, students learn how to apply marketing, financial, management, and operations frameworks to real problems, making a measurable impact on companies’ performance.

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Wharton | San Francisco

Wharton Entrepreneurship's Wharton | San Francisco activities span both academic and co-curricular programming and actively work to engage the alumni community across all programs. This integrated approach helps bridge Wharton’s two campuses and leverages the student and alumni communities in the Bay Area to the benefit of all Wharton students.

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Center for Technology Transfer (CTT)

Wharton Entrepreneurship has deep relationships with the Center for Technology Transfer Office (CTT) at Penn. CTT bears the responsibility for protecting and commercializing all the valuable intellectual property created through academic and translational research activities at Penn. While there are many paths to the commercialization of a new technology, CTT’s UPSTART program works with Penn faculty, staff, and students to develop a strategy around company formation as a means to increase the value of Penn-developed technology while giving it exposure in the marketplace.

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Wharton Entrepreneurial Alumni Network

Josh Kopelman, Jon Huntsman, Jack Abraham, Santo Politi, Elon Musk, Mark Pincus, Aydin Senkut, Fred Wilson, Rick Thompson, Yuri Milner, Michael Moritz, Jeff Fluhr, Amy Errett, Neil Blumenthal, Kunal Bahl: The list of accomplished entrepreneurs and venture capitalists who have studied at Wharton is long and impressive. In every conceivable industry, from technology-powered startups to large corporations to family businesses, Wharton alumni are building Wharton's reputation as a locus for entrepreneurship. Each year, hundreds of alumni volunteer their time to support students through Wharton Entrepreneurship’s programs, helping students build and leverage the tremendous and growing Wharton entrepreneurial network.

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Founders Retreat: Wharton MBA Students Meet with Entrepreneurial Community

 

Student Profile

Ty Meeks

“Wharton has tons of contests sponsored by the Entrepreneurship Club, the Technology Club, and Wharton Entrepreneurship Ventures.”

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