Emil Woods Gifts $1M for Wharton/Penn Entrepreneurs

Philadelphia, PA, July 9, 2012—The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is pleased to announce a $1 million gift from Emil Woods, W’94, to support entrepreneurship at Wharton and Penn. This commitment will allow talented student entrepreneurs to make their impact by enabling them to successfully create new businesses through the Wharton Venture Initiation Program.

The Wharton Venture Initiation Program is a highly selective educational incubator that supports Wharton and Penn student entrepreneurs. Managed by Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs, it enables Penn and Wharton students to put their knowledge into action by taking a business concept from idea to implementation through professional advising, workshops, networking, and the provision of workspace and seed awards.

A newly created Emil K. Woods Award will grant awards to students within the Venture Initiation Program who have made substantial progress in the development of their businesses. Money will be awarded to those students who have exhibited significant growth in their ventures since receiving an earlier seed award from the Venture Initiation Program. Many of the program’s alumni have gone on to successfully bring their businesses to fruition, and this award will enable many more to formally launch their businesses. Thriving, internationally recognized new businesses that were launched through the Venture Initiation Program include:

• Warby Parker: An online designer eyewear company that is revolutionizing the eyewear industry by manufacturing and selling glasses at low prices and donating one pair of glasses to a person in need for every pair sold.

• Hydros: A company that has developed a self-filtering water bottle. Each purchase helps fund sustainable water infrastructure projects.

• Baby.com.br: A Brazilian-based, online baby necessities company that has quickly grown to become the largest e-commerce retailer in the baby space in Brazil.

“Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs is widely considered one of the most influential Centers of entrepreneurship in the world,” said Raffi Amit, Wharton’s Robert B. Goergen Professor of Entrepreneurship. “By equipping the world’s most promising students with both the practicality and vision needed to succeed in entrepreneurial careers, Wharton can generate dramatic and positive change within the global business landscape.”

Woods, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the Wharton School in 1994, said, “Entrepreneurship is what has made this country great and is essential to our future prosperity. My hope is that this endowed award will help the world’s foremost entrepreneurship programs at Wharton mold and help launch the business pioneers of tomorrow.”

Contact: Sherrie Madia

Email: madia@wharton.upenn.edu 

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Founded in 1881 as the first collegiate business school, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is recognized globally for intellectual leadership and ongoing innovation across every major discipline of business education. With a broad global community and one of the most published business school faculties, Wharton creates ongoing economic and social value around the world. The School has 5,000 undergraduateMBAexecutive MBA, and doctoral students; more than 9,000 annual participants in executive education programs; and a powerful alumni network of 91,000 graduates.

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