The Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Furman University has been recognized as an Outstanding Emerging Entrepreneurship Center by the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers.
The consortium is made up of more than 250 universities. Boston University, Eastern Washington University and Smith College were also recipients of this year’s award.
To qualify for the award, the centers had to have been nominated within five years of their launch. Other factors included early success, engagement with stakeholders on and off campus, an established management team, novel or unique approaches and clearly established goals and objectives, according to a release.
“This recognition is a testament to Furman’s commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship and the unparalleled support by the campus community, alumni, parents, community members, administration and Board of Trustees,” said Anthony Herrera, executive director of Furman Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “In just two short years, we have built a globally recognized institute and paved a way for Furman to lead nationally among liberal arts and sciences universities in the space of innovation and entrepreneurship.”
Previous winners include Dartmouth College, Brown University, Vanderbilt University, Virginia Tech and Babson College.
Herrera said that three strengths set Furman up to win the award: “Our engaged faculty and students from across disciplines; strong ties with the community, including city and state government organizations as well as local venture capital groups; and a core group of alumni and parents who provide financial support, make the effort self-sustaining.”
The center has been behind several notable events and programs including a pitch competition that attracted over 80 student competitors, a virtual boot camp for business and innovation, a virtual academy for high schoolers, the Class E Podcast that covers entrepreneurship and various partnerships with companies in the Greenville area.
Furman’s president Elizabeth Davis said that the award is evidence that a liberal arts and sciences education can be an inspiration for innovation.
“We are grateful that the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers recognized Furman’s role in creating an ecosystem of entrepreneurship for our students, faculty and the community,” Davis said.
Furman Innovation and Entrepreneurship launched in August 2018. According to the release, the center is seeking to expand its programming and partnerships across the Upstate. Those plans will be announced in the coming months.