The Elliott Initiative is an inter-disciplinary initiative designed to advance the academic mission of the College and benefit the community.

The Advancing Business Skills workshops, part of the Elliott Initiative, teach a variety of management techniques to corporate and community partners.

The initiative also funds teaching, research, and community service activities, including grants for both academic research and community engagement projects.

Edward W. Elliott, Jr. (BBA '67) has made the generous gift for this initiative in memory of his late wife Betty F. Elliott (BBA '67).  The initiative began in 2010.

Elliott Initiative Projects

  • The College of Business successfully concluded its inaugural run of the Advancing Business Skills Workshops for 20 professionals from business and the public sector.

    The six sessions, which ran from June through August, 2015, were conducted by current and former faculty in the College​ ​of Business. The sessions, which included Leadership, Thinking Entrepreneurially within the Firm, and Social Media Analytics, were held at Automation Alley in Troy. Those who completed the workshops received a credential signed by Dean Balakrishnan.

    Automation Alley and the College of Business partnered on the workshop series. Development of this workshop series was part of the Betty F. Elliott Initiative for Academic Excellence. Topics for this session were developed in consultation with the corporate and public sector members of Automation Alley.  

    Future offerings of the series can be adapted to meet the changing needs of area business as well as the particular needs of program participants.  If you or your organization are interested in future workshop offerings, please contact Dr. Lee Redding at lredding@umich.edu. 

    2015 Schedule

    • Leadership - June 19  
      Jeff Evans, Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs, University of Michigan-Dearborn. 
    • Brand Love and Brand Strategy - July 17
      Aaron Ahuvia, Professor of Marketing, University of Michigan-Dearborn.
    • Thinking Entrepreneurially Within the Firm - July 31  
      Tim Davis, Director of iLabs, the University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Center for Innovation Research 
    • Social Media Analytics - August 14   
      Chris Samfilippo and Elizabeth Price, Principals, J.Rossi & Price Digital 
    • Project Management - August 21  
      Pat Keyes, President of Project Leadership, Inc. 
    • Corporate Social Responsibility - August 28  
      Mike VanHemert, Lecturer in Business Administration, University of Michigan-Dearborn.
  • 2013-2014 Elliott Initiative

    The College of Business successfully completed year two of the Elliott Initiative entrepreneurship theme titled "Doing Business in Detroit: Entrepreneurship and Commercialization." Focusing on the steps of business development, this theme addressed the strategy, research, and skills needed for the successful commercialization of a product or service.  This theme featured:

    • An undergraduate business course, Doing Business in Detroit: Entrepreneurship and Commercialization.  Offered in winter 2014, this team-taught course addressed innovation, creativity, and the commercialization process to explore the implementation and feasibility of new business ideas. It included opportunity recognition, creativity and design thinking, market assessment, and strategic and financial planning. Students worked in teams to develop a viable product or service idea related to food issues in Detroit.
    • A Design Thinking Workshop, held in November 2013. Design thinking offers tools and methods for innovative thinking that can be applied at the individual, team, and organizational levels. Our 40-person workshop was facilitated by a professional consulting firm with experience running similar workshops for corporate and non-profit groups.
    • A Business Idea Pitch Competition, held in April 2014. Ten contestant teams had five minutes each to present their business idea to a panel of judges, for the opportunity to win up to $3,000 in cash prizes. The winning pitch was for the Veterans Refuge Network, by a group of students interested in developing a range of support and resources for returning veterans. Second place was awarded to Dine Roll, a phone application that helps users find restaurants and provides promotion opportunities for restaurant owners. The third prize went to the Rouge River Watershed App, a phone application to help people learn about the Rouge River watershed.
    • Two speaker panels, held in the winter semester, on the topics of Entrepreneurial Financing and Detroit Food Entrepreneurship.
    • The Elliott Scholarly Research Grant, which sought research focused on the commercialization of small business ideas in urban environments. It was awarded to Dr. Sally Howell from the University of Michigan-Dearborn, College of Arts, Science and Letters for her proposal "Mosquing the Marketplace: Doing Business in Hamtramck."
    • The Elliott Engagement Grant, which sought proposals supporting the work of entrepreneurs or improving our understanding of the Detroit entrepreneurial ecosystem. The winners of this grand were Nicole Mangis for "StartUP Corps", which aims to develop an entrepreneurial support team to improve entrepreneur's access to coaching and resources; and the Detroit Food and Entrepreneurship Academy, to support their Small Batch Program which helps high school students create food products that can be sold to local retail outlets.
    • The Elliott Engagement and Research Grant Winner Presentations, in which the grant winners share the results of their projects, scheduled for February 11, 2015, from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. For information on this event, see Elliott Grant Presentation.
  • The College of Business successfully completed the Elliott Initative theme for 2012-13, which was "Doing Business in Detroit: Urban Entrepreneurship". This theme featured:

    • An undergraduate business course, Doing Business in Detroit: Urban Entrepreneurship (BA480). Offered in winter 2013, this team-taught course focused on the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Detroit. It integrated materials from business, economics, and cultural studies to explore the broader context of small business development. Student teams worked with five Detroit neighborhoods to gain hands-on experience of the issues in community business development. The course featured field trips to several Detroit businesses and a business incubator, as well as a variety of guest speakers with experience in different domains of business.
    • The Betty F. Elliott Lecture Series, with two speaker panels. The first, held in November 2012, was a Business Over Breakfast sponsored by Crain's Detroit Business examined 'Workforce Development and the Challenges of Hiring." The second, held in April 2013, was an entrepreneurship panel with local food entrepreneurs tells the stories and lessons of starting their businesses.
    • Business Idea and Personal Pitch Competitions were held in April 2013. Student teams delivered five-minute pitches for their business ideas for an entrepreneurial start up based in Detroit. For the personal pitch competitions, students had a minute to convey their personal qualities to a hypothetical hiring manager. The business idea pitch was won by a M.B.A. student Steve Spurr, winning $2,500 for his company called Coffee Keepers which makes undercabinet storage racks for coffee pods. The personal pitch was won by undergraduate College of Business student Monica Bailey.
    • The Elliott Scholarly Research Grant awarded to Dr. Elsie Harper-Anderson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at Virginia Commonweath University, for her proposal "Reconceptualizing entrepreneurship: Moving toward a full spectrum approach to understanding business ownership and business assistance." She completed a case study of Detroit to develop a typology of contemporary entrepreneurs present in the Detroit area, and to assess entrepreneurship assistance organizations and services in the region. Dr. Harper-Anderson is presenting her research on November 14, 2013, from 2:00 to 4:00 PM in FCS Dining Room D. See here for her research abstract.
    • The Elliott Practice and Community Engagement Grant awarded to Dr. Sally Howell, Assistant Professor of History at University of Michigan-Dearborn, for her proposal: "Doing business in Detroit: Muslim community building through mosque and small business symbiosis." Her project investigated the connections between mosques and new business startups in Detroit, specifically in Hamtramck.
  • The theme for the year 2011-12 was "Financial Literacy". Around this theme, a number of activities to promote teaching, research, and community service in the College of Business were organized throughout the year. A glimpse of various multi-dimensional activities and initiatives organized on the financial literacy topic is as follows:

    • The Elliott Scholarly Research Award on Behavioral Finance and Investments topic was awarded to Henrik Cronqvist, McMahon Family Chair in Corporate Finance, George R. Roberts Fellow, and Associate Professor of Financial Economics at the Robert Day School of Economics and Finance at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California, and Stephan Siegel, Assistant Professor of Finance and Business Economics at the University of Washington's Foster School of Business and Visiting Assistant Professor of Finance at Arizona State University's Carey School of Business; through an internationally advertised open competition.
    • The Elliott Doctoral Dissertation Support Award on Behavioral Finance and Investments topic was awarded to Chunmei Lin, doctoral candidate at the Finance Department, National University of Singapore, Singapore; through an internationally advertised open competition.
    • FIN 200: Personal Finance, the Elliott Course for the Bachelor of Business Administration program was offered during the Winter 2012 Semester to University of Michgian-Dearborn undergraduate students. At the completion of the Personal Finance course, students will have an understanding of key personal finance issues and financial literacy topics pertinent to sound financial planning analysis - personal budgeting & savings, credit & banking, identity theft & credit report/score, major purchases financing & insurance alternatives, investment & retirement planning basics, wills & trust basics, and healthcare & long term care insurance policies. The goal is to prepare students for financial decision making throughout their lifetimes.
    • The Betty F. Elliott Lecture Series on Business and the Future was organized throughout the academic year with two symposiums on global economic outlook for 2012, and the impacts of consumer protection and regulatory reforms on personal finance; where leaders of industry, government, and academia were invited. Over 200 guests attended these symposiums.
    • The highly successful UM Dearborn Investment Challenge, co-sponsored with Crain's Detroit Business, was a year-long simulated stock investment and trading competition that offered valuable hands-on experience to participants in their efforts to pursue financial literacy. The Investment Challenge was opened to the general public and attracted around 1,000 participants over the period of July 2011 – June 2012. Click here to view the winners. 
    • The Elliott iLabs Applied Research on Financial Literacy topic is on-going.
  • The theme for the year 2010-11 was "Business of Sustainability". Around this theme, a number of activities to promote teaching, research, and community service in the College of Business were organized throughout the year. A glimpse of various multi-dimensional activities and initiatives organized on the sustainability topic is as follows:

    • The Elliott Scholarly Research Award on Sustainability topic was awarded to Lucy Atkinson, Assistant Professor, Advertising Department, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas; through a nationally advertised open competition.
    • The Elliott Doctoral Dissertation Support Award on Sustainability topic was awarded to Dwayne Cole, doctoral candidate at the Marketing / Supply Chain Management Department, Whitman School of Management, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York through a nationally advertised open competition.
    • BA 480: Business of Sustainability, the Elliott Seminar Course for the Bachelor of Business Administration program was offered during the Winter 2011 semester to College of Business undergraduate students. The objective of this team taught course was to offer an integrated curriculum that works in a multidisciplinary way across various fields and perspectives through which the fundamental and related questions of sustainability can be taught to business students. Students learned how they can help a company to holistically manage sustainable operations and achieve new levels of business process excellence. The course also explored how sustainable businesses can reduce waste, save money, and more importantly, protect their brand image by balancing social, environmental, and economic risks and opportunities.
    • The Elliott iLabs Applied Research Award on Sustainability topic was awarded.
    • The Betty F. Elliott Lecture Series on Business and the Future was organized throughout the year with three symposiums on sustainability issues encountered by the Manufacturing, and Healthcare industries, and the City of Detroit, where leaders of industry and academia were invited. Over 600 guests attended these symposiums.
    • A highly successful Campus Sustainability Week was organized during October 2010 by various Student Organizations at the College of Business and the University of Michigan-Dearborn campus.