UM-Dearborn's College of Business lends support to Inforum entrepreneurial programming

August 10, 2011

DEARBORN, MICH. / Aug. 10, 2011---Inforum Center for Leadership (ICL), the research and education arm of Inforum, Michigan’s leading network for professional women, was awarded $700,000 from the Michigan Economic Development Corp’s (MEDC) Michigan 21st Century Jobs Fund.

The funding will support the implementation of two programs focused on high-growth women entrepreneurs: ACTiVATE®, a technology commercialization curriculum, and Astia, a global network of mentors and investors.

The University of Michigan-Dearborn is a lead partner supporting the implementation of this entrepreneurial programming, providing not only access to the University assets but also the guidance and leadership of Kim Schatzel, dean of the College of Business.

“We are honored to partner with Inforum on this important initiative to help educate and enhance the skills of Michigan residents needed to transform Michigan’s economy,” said Schatzel. “UM-Dearborn has developed a curriculum for our students that is not only rooted in the fundamentals of business but embraces and teaches the importance of creativity and entrepreneurship that is necessary to synthesize solutions, identify opportunities, and laterally think. Our College’s philosophy will complement the goals and objectives of the MEDC and Inforum.”

“As Michigan’s economy continues to transform, we’re going to need all hands on deck” said Terry Barclay, president and CEO of Inforum and Inforum Center for Leadership. “Broad based research shows that programs like these achieve more than just increasing the representation of women leaders in high-growth start-ups. They actually unlock significant potential to create economic wealth. Women are increasingly achieving academic success. As they demonstrate greater levels of entrepreneurial passion, they are becoming one of the fastest-growing demographics starting and leading small businesses. ACTiVATE® and Astia harness the intellectual capital of these women grow beyond microenterprise and lifestyle businesses. We are delighted to bring both these programs together for the first time in Michigan.”

Leading ICL’s new entrepreneurship initiative will be Kapila Viges, who has been named executive director for entrepreneurial strategies.

“Both ACTiVATE and Astia have demonstrated track records,” Viges said. “ACTiVATE participants secure an average of $500,000 in initial seed capital and 60 percent of Astia’s portfolio receives funding within one year of participating in an Astia Investor Forum. As we integrate these programs into Michigan’s already strong base of entrepreneurial support infrastructure, we are excited to create local, state, national and global linkages.”

ICL is now recruiting for both programs. Astia’s next on-ramp event will be held Oct. 10-15 in Silicon Valley and ICL is actively recruiting Michigan women entrepreneurs to apply. ACTiVATE will begin local sessions in January 2012.  Candidates interested in either program should contact Viges at

About UM-Dearborn
Founded in 1959 with a gift of just over 200 acres of land and $6.5 million from the Ford Motor Company, University of Michigan-Dearborn is a metropolitan university serving southeastern Michigan, committed to excellence rooted in strong academics, innovative research and programming and civic engagement. The University has nearly 8,900 students pursuing more than 90 bachelor's, master’s, doctoral and professional degrees in liberal arts and sciences, engineering, business and education.  A top-ranked university with a faculty devoted to teaching, and students committed to achievement, UM-Dearborn has been shaped by its history of partnering with local leaders and communities, and is committed to finding solutions for the challenges that face the region.

Contact:Beth MarmarelliUM-Dearborn313-593-5542 /