At the University of Rochester, we focus on a broad definition of entrepreneurship: the generation and transformation of ideas into enterprises that create value—and that value can be economic or social.

More than a discrete set of business skills or practices, entrepreneurship is a calling that can be pursued in many realms of experience and achievement. A core value of American culture, entrepreneurship uniquely combines the visionary and the pragmatic. It requires both individual initiative and knowledge and, through awareness of markets, attention to the needs of others.

Entrepreneurship is a way of thinking, an approach to problems, an attribute of mind, and even a trait of character. It is a science and an art; entrepreneurship is a primary way in which a free society grows and improves not only its economy, but its cultural and social life as well.

The Center for Entrepreneurship was launched by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation grant awarded to the University in 2006. It was renamed the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship in 2015 in recognition of Mark S. Ain ’67S (MBA) and his wife Carolyn Ain for their visionary leadership and support of entrepreneurial students University-wide. In 2022, it was renamed once more as the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, to better reflect the University’s broad definition of entrepreneurship and to highlight the important role innovation plays in the entrepreneurial process.

We are an interdisciplinary center that educates the University and Rochester communities on developing and applying an entrepreneurial mindset.

The Ain Center serves to identify and create new partnerships with students, alumni, local businesses, and non-profit organizations; coordinates and publicizes school-based experiences, including courses and signature programming; informs faculty of grant and bridging fellowship opportunities; and encourages collaboration among the schools engaged in entrepreneurship education at the University of Rochester.

Entrepreneurship is: 

  • A way of thinking
  • A unique approach to problems
  • An attribute of mind
  • A trait of character
  • A Science and an Art
  • Something that can be taught
  • Something that must be nurtured

We will leverage our reputation as a renowned research institution to maintain and expand upon the entrepreneurship opportunities and education for University of Rochester students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

We will strengthen the entrepreneurship ecosystem through collaborations across the University and by enhancing relationships with the Rochester community and beyond.

We will provide the structure and resources for innovators who express interest in starting an enterprise, teaching them the skills to be successful.