An in-depth survey of the University of Virginia's entrepreneurial alumni details their dramatic impact on the international, national and Virginia economies.
Of the more than 221,000 living graduates, an estimated 60,000 have been involved in new ventures, according to the just-released survey. The survey responses suggest that the University's entrepreneurs have launched 65,000 companies, which have in turn employed 2.3 million people worldwide and generated global revenues worth $1.6 trillion annually.
Professor Michael Lenox, Senior Researcher Andrew King and Research Associate Asif Mehedi from the U.Va. Darden School of Business, and Professor Charles Eesley from Stanford University, authored the survey conducted by Darden's Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Lenox also serves as associate dean for innovation programs and Batten's academic director.
"The study highlights a less explored avenue by which universities contribute to economic growth — through the entrepreneurial activity of their alumni," said Lenox. The survey, titled " The Economic Impact of Entrepreneurial Alumni: A Case Study of the University of Virginia," was funded by the Batten Institute.
"The collective impact of these entrepreneurs is impressive, and comparable with that of alumni from other prestigious, research-based universities," the authors wrote of the survey's findings.
The survey of entrepreneurial alumni is one of the most thorough ever undertaken at a major public university. The survey is also the first of its kind ever done at U.Va.
The survey showed that compared to other states, Virginia has benefited disproportionately well from U.Va. entrepreneurs. Extrapolated numbers show their ventures have sparked the creation of about 371,000 jobs in the state. These Virginia-based companies have produced about $395 billion in calculated annual revenues and spent $279 billion per year.
"When one considers the $154 million annual expenditure by the Commonwealth on the University of Virginia, these numbers suggest a substantial return on investment from just entrepreneurial alumni of the University, even ignoring all other ways the University creates value," the authors noted in the report.
While entrepreneurial activity by U.Va. alumni flourished in big cities such as San Francisco, Boston and New York City, they also started businesses in the Charlottesville region, where 675 ventures — of the 8,979 described in the survey — are located. The entrepreneurs launched ventures in many other Virginia cities, including Richmond, where 415 businesses were created, Arlington with 135, Fairfax with 129, Alexandria with 122, Norfolk with 77, Virginia Beach with 73, and McLean with 60 new ventures.
A total of 135,227 U.Va. alumni were asked to participate in the survey anonymously online and by mail, which elicited 22,757 (16.8 percent) valid responses.
Among its findings, the survey revealed that:
The survey also analyzed which type of degrees the entrepreneurs earned and their work experience, including whether or not they come from an entrepreneurial family.
The survey was conducted in collaboration with the University of Virginia Alumni Association and the Center for Survey Research at U.Va.'s Weldon Cooper Center.
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world's best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D. and Executive Education programs. Darden's top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The Batten Institute at the Darden School of Business improves the world through entrepreneurship and innovation. The institute's academic research center advances knowledge that addresses real-world challenges and shapes Darden's curriculum, and the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership offers one of the world's top entrepreneurship programs. The Batten Institute was established with gifts now totaling over $100 million from U.Va. alumnus Frank Batten Sr., a media pioneer, visionary and founder of The Weather Channel.
Sophie ZunzDirector of Media RelationsDarden School of BusinessUniversity of VirginiaZunzS@darden.virginia.edu+1-434-924-7502
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