Report: E-ship Training in Chicago

analysis of community-based entrepreneurship curricula

A recent report from DePaul University’s Coleman Entrepreneurship Center connects the Coleman Foundation’s past and future efforts and sets the course for new directions. After making a critical contribution to establishing the field of entrepreneurship in higher education across the nation for forty years, the Foundation began to shift our focus closer to our Chicago home in 2017. We believe that what we’ve learned about improving entrepreneurship education at the university level can be deeply impactful when applied to Chicago community-based business support organizations.

Dr. Maija Renko, the Coleman Foundation Chair of Entrepreneurship at DePaul University, researched 16 entrepreneurship training programs across Chicago’s low- and moderate-income communities in 2019 and 2020. Dr. Renko summarizes her research in the report Analysis of Entrepreneurship Training Curricula in Chicago Community Organizations, noting the strengths of these programs, identifying what might be added to improve them, and suggesting next steps. Dr. Renko’s position was endowed by the Foundation as one of our first grants in the 1980s to establish the legitimacy of entrepreneurship as a field of study. This  report serves as a clear example of the Foundation’s ability to lever our history for the benefit of our future investments in neighborhoods.

We look forward to advancing Dr. Renko’s recommendations and to making more connections between leading academicians and the rest of Chicago’s neighborhood-based entrepreneurial ecosystem.

More information on the report may be found here.  Additionally, Dr. Renko has elaborated on her research in an op-ed in Crain’s Chicago Business.

The full report is available at

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