Rice’s graduate entrepreneurship program ranked No. 3 in US

David Ruth

Jeff Falk

Rice’s graduate entrepreneurship program ranked No. 3 in US

HOUSTON – (Nov. 16, 2018) – Rice University and its Jones Graduate School of Business have the No. 3 graduate entrepreneurship program in the U.S. and No. 1 in Texas, according to the 2019 rankings announced this week by the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine. This marks Rice’s third year in a row in a top 3 position nationally and the 10th year in a row the school has been ranked in the top 10.

McNair Hall, home of Rice’s Jones Graduate School of Business

The Princeton Review tallied its 2019 lists based on a survey of administrators at more than 300 schools offering entrepreneurship studies. The 60-question survey covered the schools’ commitment to entrepreneurship studies inside and outside the classroom. Topics included: the percentage of faculty, students and alumni actively and successfully involved in entrepreneurial endeavors; the number and reach of mentorship programs; scholarships and grants for entrepreneurial studies; and the level of support for school-sponsored business plan competitions. In all, more than 40 data points were analyzed in the ranking list tallies. The rankings will be published in the December issue of Entrepreneur magazine.

The Rice entrepreneurship program was founded at Rice Business in 1978 by nationally recognized faculty led by Al Napier and the late Edward Williams. Over the past decade alumni have created 525 businesses, raised $4 billion in funding and hired 7,787 employees, according to the school’s surveys. More than 80 percent of the companies remain operational.

“Entrepreneurship and the creation of new businesses and industries will be critical to Houston and the state’s future prosperity and quality of life,” said Rice Business Dean Peter Rodriguez. “Our decades-long leadership in entrepreneurship education and outreach is a testament to our visionary and world-class faculty, the enormous success of the Rice Business Plan Competition (RBPC) and of our commitment to our students and the community we serve.”

Rice’s current offerings are universitywide and encompass renowned student and community-facing efforts, from the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, which launched in 2000, to the Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Lilie), which launched in 2015. Lilie is a cross-disciplinary initiative to provide students from across the university with skills and knowledge to succeed in a world where entrepreneurial capabilities are increasingly critical for meaningful and influential careers. Lilie features a coworking space for students, graduate and undergraduate entrepreneurship courses and a variety of co-curricular activities and resources dedicated to supporting Rice students in entrepreneurial endeavors.

In recent years, Lilie has added a variety of classes to the repertoire available to graduate students. For example, in Healthcare Innovation and Entrepreneurship, students work in interdisciplinary teams comprised of engineering, business and medical students to build medical device startups. In January 2019, students will be able to take the new Student Venture Fund course, where they will identify, screen and evaluate startups for investment by the Rice venture capital fund, which has $2 million under management. In addition, the inaugural H. Albert Napier Rice Launch Challenge was hosted in 2018. Through a series of workshops and three rounds of competition, student teams competed for over $65,000 in cash prizes.

Lilie is led by Yael Hochberg, the Ralph S. O’Connor Professor in Entrepreneurship and Professor of Finance at Rice Business. Hochberg is considered one of the foremost experts on accelerator programs and entrepreneurial ecosystems and serves as managing director of the annual Seed Accelerator Rankings Project.

Since its founding 18 years ago, the Rice Alliance’s activities have impacted more than 2,400 startups, including nearly 300 in 2018. These startup companies have gone on to raise more than $7.1 billion in funding. Over 48,000 investors, corporate and industry experts have participated with the Rice Alliance in Technology Venture Forums in energy and clean tech, digital technology and life sciences.

Among its many forums and competitions held each year, the Rice Alliance’s RBPC is the world’s richest and largest graduate student startup competition. Forty-two teams from across the globe compete in front of nearly 300 investor and industry judges. The competition awarded more than $2 million in prizes in 2018 and is sponsored by more than 140 corporate, government and investor supporters. Over the life of the competition, participating teams have successfully launched 207 companies and raised more than $1.9 billion in funding. The Rice Alliance also facilitates research measuring the success of all RBPC competitors. It is the only research project of its kind among business plan competitions.

Rice’s student startup accelerator, OwlSpark, was founded in 2013 and offers a summer program that provides teams of students and recent alumni with the funding, space, industrial and academic mentorship and networking opportunities required to launch their companies. OwlSpark is managed by the Rice Alliance’s Kerri Smith.

The Rice Alliance is led by Managing Director Brad Burke, who has served in this role for over a decade and is also executive director of the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers, which represents 250 university entrepreneurship programs around the globe and is housed at Rice.

The Rice Entrepreneurs Organization, Rice’s alumni group for entrepreneurs, is an additional example of the full complement of innovative programs and opportunities Rice graduate students have to translate ideas into action.

Rice is currently working with Houston and major corporations and organizations, such as the Texas Medical Center and NASA, to define and develop the future of technology and industry innovation in Houston, and recently announced plans for a Midtown innovation district to serve the city.

To view the complete rankings, visit www.princetonreview.com/college-rankings/top-entrepreneur.


For more information, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at 713-348-6775 or jfalk@rice.edu.

Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.

Follow Rice Entrepreneurship and the Lilie program via Twitter @LilieLab and on Facebook at @LiuIdeaLabForInnovationAndEntrepreneurship.

Follow the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship via Twitter @RiceAlliance.

Follow the Jones Graduate School of Business via Twitter @Rice_Biz.

Related materials:

Rice Entrepreneurship: http://entrepreneurship.rice.edu.

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.