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Celebrating entrepreneurship at UMSI

Tuesday, 11/17/2020

The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine announced their 2021 university rankings naming the top higher education institutions for entrepreneurial studies. The University of Michigan is #4 for undergraduate and #5 for graduate entrepreneurship on their list.

The rankings reflect the dedication of students across U-M, including at the School of Information. The data used to determine the ranking analyzes both alumni and current student achievement.

Avantika Bagri's business headshot featuring her smiling in a black suit

Avantika Bagri is one of the many UMSI alumni who’ve pursued an entrepreneurial project. Bagri graduated last spring as a dual Bachelor of Science in Information (BSI) and Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) student at the Ross School of Business which allowed her to combine her interest in business and technological acumen. 

With support from the school’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Grant, Bagri launched a website where people can donate to small businesses affected by COVID-19 in college towns. 

When the pandemic took hold in March 2020 and students began leaving the Ann Arbor area, Bagri noticed individual GoFundMe pages on social media for restaurants and businesses in need of extra support. However, there wasn’t a centralized system for giving, so Bagri created careforcorona.org where those interested in donating could easily navigate through the city’s various GoFundMe causes.

She said, “UMSI funding has allowed me to work on website creation, user experience research, and outreach efforts. All of these have been critical to my project and helping local businesses gain more donations.”

Bagri is now a Technology Investment Banking Analyst at Morgan Stanley and she eventually hopes to start her own venture. “Through this field grant, I've been able to experience carrying out a project from ideation to execution. I am certain that this opportunity will help me as I work towards my long term goal,” Bagri noted.

Leo Luo headshot, he's wearing glasses and smiling in a black suit

Leo Luo is a senior UMSI BSI/BBA dual degree student who received an Innovation and Entrepreneur Grant to build a centralized platform for young people to find live stream events. Luo is also interested in the convergence of business and technological spheres. 

He said, “The university funding gave me the courage to really pursue the idea and helped me to be more bold in my approach in trying out different things.”

After UMSI, Luo will be pursuing strategy consulting in San Francisco and noted, “I am hoping to launch my own tech startup in the Bay Area and work on a product that addresses some of the biggest problems in our society, such as mental health and sleep.”

He also runs an email newsletter called Consumer Startups where he interviews successful early stage consumer founders about their journeys. Luo credits the launch of the newsletter to the UMSI grant which allowed him the opportunity to explore his interest in entrepreneurship.