AU’s Dauch College of Business and Economics joins NEO Student Venture Fund

02/17/2020 ASHLAND, Ohio -- Ashland University’s Dauch College of Business and Economics has joined the Northeast Ohio Student Venture Fund,  a nonprofit student-run organization that funds high-growth potential startups in Northeast Ohio.

The college will be represented by Assistant Professors of Finance Dennis Witherspoon and Terry Rumker, as well as Burton D. Morgan Center director Thomas Sudow and student managers Alec Baldosser and Kenton Mickley. The group will join with partner institutions Kent State University, The University of Akron, Notre Dame College, Walsh University, Case Western Reserve University and The College of Wooster.

“NEOSVF is very excited to welcome Ashland University to the organization and look forward to working the students, faculty, and administration,” said NEOSVF Executive Director Daniel Hampu.  “We have seen the commitment from the Ashland group already in a very short time. We can’t wait to continue to build on this excellent foundation and relationship.”

It is a natural progression for AU students, Rumker said, since they already do hands-on investing through the University’s nationally respected Eagle Investment Group, founded 20 years ago by Dr. Tom Harvey. Unlike other schools, EIG is offered for course credit and students manage $1.6 million of the AU endowment.

"Ashland believes that it is important that its students have real-world experience, that includes interaction with area businesses where they provide consulting and support services to Eagle Investment (Group) where they are investing more than $1.5 million of real money, to establishing their own businesses - over 70 launched in the last 10 years; and now to participate in venture investing,” Sudow said. “All of these opportunities provide Ashland graduates with a well-rounded experience preparing them for success in their occupations and in life."

In the NEOSVF, “each college reviews proposals each semester,” said Rumker, “and they decide which projects they want to fund.” About 18 projects have been funded by the NEOSVF thus far, he said, “with students having the run of the full process, managing and monitoring as venture capitalists.”

Historically, the regional group has looked at proposals from a variety of arenas, including advanced materials, medical technology, fuel cells, energy storage, medical technology, software applications, sensing and automation technologies, situational awareness systems, surveillance systems and solar and photovoltaics. The fund is typically among the earliest money into companies.

This is the beginning of venture capital investing for AU students from a diversity of majors, according to Dr. Elad Granot, dean of the Dauch College of Business and Economics, who added that future efforts could be launched on a local level, with the option of staying local or blending proposals into the NEOSVF.

Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.eduvalues the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.###