Mike Ilitch School of Business appoints director of entrepreneurship and innovation programs

In making their historic $40 million gift to build a new home for the business school at Wayne State University, Mike and Marian Ilitch made it clear that they hoped their support would help the school enhance its ability to educate future generations of entrepreneurs. The new Mike Ilitch School of Business took another step in that direction this week when it announced veteran faculty member and WSU administrator Jeff Stoltman is its new director for entrepreneurship and innovation (EI) programs.

In this newly created role, Stoltman will direct the development, delivery and assessment of all entrepreneurship-related curricula in the Ilitch School. The first such program, an undergraduate certificate in entrepreneurship and innovation, was approved by the university’s Board of Governors in September and will launch in the winter semester. Stoltman will also represent the Ilitch School’s EI initiatives with WSU’s other schools and colleges, TechTown and the broader community.

While his appointment is in the business school, Stoltman envisions a combination of multidisciplinary, campus-wide academic and other programs that attract students and partners from across a variety of disciplines and industries.

“Our program is designed to introduce students to examples of people from all different walks of life who have been successful in taking an idea and running with it,” Stoltman said. “Everyone is capable of taking a good idea and turning it into a business. They just need help finding the path.”

“Innovation and entrepreneurship are at the heart of doing business in the new Detroit,” said Mike Ilitch School of Business Dean Robert Forsythe. “This new program will prepare students from all kinds of backgrounds to thrive in that environment. As ‘Detroit’s Business School,’ we intend to be a major player in these areas across the region.”

A member of the Wayne State marketing faculty since 1988, Jeff Stoltman is former associate dean for research and graduate programs in the Mike Ilitch School of Business and former interim department chair. He also served as WSU’s vice president for marketing and communications from 1997-2001 and again in an interim capacity in 2006-07. He teaches in the areas of marketing new ventures, consumer research, retailing and marketing strategy. Stoltman is an active consultant, having worked with over 100 organizations, in areas such as strategy development and strategic planning, marketing and customer research, product development and promotion strategy. Stoltman has worked closely with the Office of Technology Commercialization, and serves as a member of its Administrative Patent Committee.