COLLEGE PARK, Md. – For the sixth consecutive year, the University of Maryland (UMD) has attained a top 10 ranking in The Princeton Review’s annual survey of the Top Schools for Entrepreneurship. In the 2021 rankings released this week and featured in the December issue of Entrepreneur magazine, UMD ranked No. 6 for undergraduate entrepreneurship education overall and No. 3 among all public universities. UMD additionally ranked No. 23 for graduate entrepreneurship education, marking the ninth consecutive year that the university has been named a top 25 program for entrepreneurship studies. .
“The consistently high rankings in innovation and entrepreneurship are a natural byproduct of many years of strong relationships and collaboration across all 12 schools and colleges, student organizations, research and economic development groups, and other key partners. This broad and exceptional I&E ecosystem is what sets UMD apart in preparing students to tackle our world’s biggest challenges, two of which we currently face in systemic racism and the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dean Chang, associate vice president for entrepreneurship and innovation at UMD.
“Our students have taught us that innovation is inextricably linked to diversity,” said SMLP Director, Harry Alford. “Since 2006, SMLP has identified promising emerging leaders at the community college level and provided them with financial support and mentoring services that leadto a minor in Technology Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland. The students are resourceful, exhibit an entrepreneurial mindset, and represent various races, nationalities, religions, ethnicities, genders, worldviews, and experiences. The world is shifting and in need of diverse entrepreneurs solving the problems of today and tomorrow. SMLP and UMD exemplify the programming required to foster the next wave of innovation.”
UMD kicked off the Maryland COVID Resiliency & Response I-Corps short course earlier this month for academic teams, entrepreneurs, and small business owners all working on coronavirus pandemic. Participants all seek to address coronavirus pandemic and included students, faculty, and staff from a USM academic institution working on an innovation related to COVID; individuals seeking to start an innovative new for-profit or non-profit venture to address COVID; and established businesses seeking to provide a new product or service to their existing market and/or to serve a new market.
Since first breaking into the Top 10 in the 2016 rankings, UMD has steadily climbed each year to its now No. 6 ranking in 2021, a rise coinciding with UMD’s campus-wide initiative aiming to engage all 40,000 students in innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E). This collaboration is spearheaded by the Academy for Innovation & Entrepreneurship and engages not only business (Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship) and engineering (Mtech) but also all 12 schools and colleges as well as key partners like the Office of Undergraduate Studies (living-learning programs, general education, SMLP), student organizations (Startup Shell, Bitcamp), economic development (I-Corps, UM Ventures) and social innovation (Do Good Institute, Technica, Ladies First, AgEnterprise Challenge).
In 2019–20, 6,029 undergraduate students were enrolled in at least one entrepreneurship course at UMD, and 712 students were in an entrepreneurship minor. One online entrepreneurship course alone allowed 1,948 students to learn about starting new ventures while also satisfying a key general education requirement. Beyond traditional entrepreneurship, UMD also offers over 100 courses in areas related to innovation like creativity, entrepreneurial mindset, social value creation, business principles, and design thinking. Altogether, 15,850 undergraduate and graduate students took at least one course related to innovation and entrepreneurship last year.
The Princeton Review tallied its rankings for top entrepreneurship programs based on a survey conducted from June through August 2020 of more than 300 schools about their entrepreneurship offerings. While most entrepreneurship rankings include only UMD’s extensive business or engineering entrepreneurship programs, the Princeton Review additionally reflects UMD’s efforts to include its entire student population.
The survey methodology looked at each school’s commitment to entrepreneurship education inside and outside the classroom. Among the many criteria were 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.