Three Colorado universities are listed in Forbes’ latest ranking of the top 50 schools for startup businesses in the U.S. The University of Colorado Boulder ranked No. 19 as one of America’s most entrepreneurial universities. The University of Denver was given the No. 27 spot, and Colorado State University eked into the top 50 at No. 49.
Forbes says it ranked the nation’s universities based on “the number of alumni and students who have identified themselves as founders and business owners on LinkedIn against the school’s total student body (undergraduate and graduate combined).”
Stanford University topped the list at number one. Famous entrepreneurs who attended the California private school, some that didn’t even graduate, include Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Yahoo’s Jerry Yang and David Filo, and Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel attended Stanford.
CU-Boulder’s ranking is largely due to the school’s $4 million Blackstone Group grant, which will create a network for entrepreneurs to find resources and success in Colorado. Gov. John Hickenlooper and U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colorado, unveiled the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network in April.
According to Remy Arteaga, director of the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship at CU’s Leeds School of Business, close to 50 percent of the class of 2015 Leeds MBA students say entrepreneurship is their area of interest.
“CU-Boulder offers students a wide array of entrepreneurship and innovation courses,” said Brad Bernthal, director of Silicon Flatirons Center’s Entrepreneurship Initiative at CU’s law school. “The Deming Center supports ten full-time Leeds School entrepreneurship faculty dedicated to teaching and research.”
“CU has a wealth of entrepreneurship intellectual capacity,” Arteaga added. “This gives students not only the theoretical underpinnings, but also the practical understanding.”
Catalyze CU, a program to help six teams of 22 student entrepreneurs implement startups, launched in June.
“Forbes’ recognition of CU Boulder’s efforts is validation that that startup IQ across campus is rising fast,” said Bernthal. “CU Boulder is well served to claim a leadership role in a time of rapid innovation.”
Notable DU alumni who started businesses include Peter Morton (Hard Rock Cafe), Tom Marsico (Marsico Capital Management), Max Appel (OxiClean) and Heidi Ganahl (Camp Bow Wow).
CU alumni business owners include, Michael T. Voorhees, founding CEO of Skylite Aeronautics.