Rice’s graduate entrepreneurship program ranked No. 1 in US

Jeff Falk

Rice’s graduate entrepreneurship program ranked No. 1 in US

HOUSTON – (Nov. 12, 2019) – Rice University and its Jones Graduate School of Business have the No. 1 graduate entrepreneurship program in the U.S., according to the 2020 rankings announced today by the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine. This marks the first time the Rice program has topped this category, its fourth time in a top 3 position nationally and the 11th 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 2020 rankings based on a survey of leaders 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 students taking entrepreneurship courses, the number and reach of mentorship programs, the number of startups founded by recent alumni and the cash prizes offered at school-sponsored business plan competitions. In all, more than 40 data points were analyzed to develop the rankings, which will be published in the December issue of Entrepreneur magazine.

“Entrepreneurship and the creation of new businesses and industries are critical to Houston and Texas’ future prosperity and quality of life,” said Rice Business Dean Peter Rodriguez. “Today’s ranking and 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 and of our commitment to our students and the community we serve.”

The Rice entrepreneurship program was founded in 1978 by Rice Business’ nationally recognized faculty led by Al Napier and the late Edward Williams. Over the past decade alumni have created 535 businesses and raised $7.1 billion in funding, according to the school’s surveys. More than 80 percent of those companies are still operating.

Rice’s current offerings are university-wide 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.

Since its founding, the Rice Alliance’s activities have benefited more than 2,400 startups that have raised more than $8 billion in funding. Over 52,000 investors and corporate and industry leaders have participated in Rice Alliance in Technology Venture Forums in energy and clean tech, digital technology and life sciences, and other programs.

The Rice Alliance’s Rice Business Plan Competition is the world’s richest and largest student startup competition. Forty-two startups from across the globe compete in front of over 300 investor and industry judges. The competition awarded more than $2.9 million in prizes in 2019 and is supported by more than 140 corporate, government and investor sponsors. Over the life of the competition, participating teams have successfully launched 229 companies and raised more than $2.3 billion in funding.

Rice’s startup accelerator, OwlSpark, was founded in 2013 and offers an intensive summer experience that provides teams of students, faculty and recent alumni with the education, mentorship, space and networking opportunities required to launch their companies. OwlSpark is managed by the Rice Alliance’s Kerri Smith and Jessica Fleenor.

The Rice Alliance is led by Managing Director Brad Burke, who has served in that role since 2001 and is also executive director of the Rice-based Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers, which represents 250 university entrepreneurship programs around the globe. “The No. 1 ranking represents the culmination of the efforts of a lot of people over the past 20 years, both inside Rice and across the Houston community,” Burke said. “We are pleased that the Princeton Review and Entrepreneurship magazine recognize that those efforts have successfully built the top entrepreneurship program in the country.”

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 were offered the Student Venture Fund course, where they identified, screened and evaluated startups for investment by the Rice venture capital fund, which has $2 million under management. In addition, the annual H. Albert Napier Rice Launch Challenge established in 2018 allows students to vie for over $65,000 in cash prizes through a series of workshops and three rounds of competition.

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

Rice Alumni | Entrepreneurs & Innovators, Rice’s alumni group for entrepreneurs, is an additional example of the full complement of innovative programs and opportunities 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 the city, and is developing the Midtown innovation district anchored by The Ion.

To view the complete rankings, visit https://www.princetonreview.com/business-school-rankings?rankings=top-25-entrepreneurship-grad.


For more information, contact Jeff Falk, 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 https://www.facebook.com/liuidealab.

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.