CLEMSON — A group of successful Clemson University alumni entrepreneurs from divergent industries and academic disciplines have united to form the Spiro Founder Society. Collectively, they are offering a $1.7 million dollar challenge pledge to the university’s Arthur M. Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership to inspire the next generation of Clemson entrepreneurs.
The challenge pledge offers to match, up to $1.7 million, all donations made to the Spiro Institute that will enhance education, outreach and research in this field.
Founded in 1994, the Spiro Institute provides an educational and research program in entrepreneurship that contributes to the economic development of the region, state and nation. The focus is on wealth creation through entrepreneurial activity.
“The core concept of the Arthur M. Spiro Institute is the development and implementation of a broadly focused program in entrepreneurship,” said Director Matthew Klein. “The impact of the gift will enable the Spiro Institute to be the focal point of teaching, research and service activities in this important field for all of Clemson.”
This alumni-led, campus-wide initiative is the first of its kind, illustrating The Princeton Review’s ranking of Clemson as the top alumni network in the country.
“Rather than disparate initiatives isolated in individual colleges or even majors, we believe that one funded institute serving Clemson as a whole will leverage the energy and money to the fullest potential,” said Greg Smith, president of Blue Vista Ventures and leader of the effort to form the Spiro Founder Society. “It is also helpful to consolidate our many efforts across campus so that anyone seeking to participate knows where to go to ‘plug-in’ or get help.”
The Spiro Founder Society will support the following ongoing Spiro Institute initiatives across the entire Clemson campus:
- Entrepreneurship courses for undergraduate and graduate students
- Creative Inquiry projects for launching startup companies, such as the DEN
- Student club: Clemson IDEAS (Innovation, Design and Entrepreneurship Among Students)
- Living Learning Community: Clemson IDEAS
- Tiger Venture Accelerator
- Clemson Pitch Smackdown Competition
- Clemson Entrepreneur-In Residence Program
- First Friday Leadership Speaker Series
- Master Entrepreneur Speaker Series
- Clemson Innovative Spirit Awards
- Spiro Faculty Fellows Program
Spiro Founder Society members are:
Bachelor of Science, mechanical engineering, 1984
President of Blue Vista Ventures LLC
Founder, former CEO and chairman, Advectis Inc.
Bachelor of Arts, political science, 1994
Former CEO and chairman, Vendormate Inc.
Bachelor of Science, physics, 1971; Master of Science, systems engineering, 1973
Former CEO and chairman, Nubridges and Harbinger Inc.
Bachelor of Science, finance, 1989
Partner, Fulcrum Equity Partners LLP
Founder, former president and CEO, Regency Healthcare Group
Bachelor of Arts, political science, 1991; MBA, 1993
Co-founder and executive vice president of sales and marketing, FineLine Technologies
Bachelor of Science, mechanical engineering, 1982
Founder, chairman and CEO, SISL Networks Inc.
Bachelor of Science, accountancy and finance, 1973
President, DecoArt Inc.
Bachelor of Science, marketing, 1992; MBA, 1993
Managing director, Four Points Ventures
Bachelor of Science, management, 1991
Co-founder, Clayton Associates; CEO, Nashville Entrepreneur Center
Dr. Buddy Thompson
Bachelor of Science, chemical engineering, 1969; M.D., Medical University of South Carolina, 1978
Founder, Easley Eye Associates; co-founder, The Reserve at Lake Keowee
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