More than a quarter of Hampshire graduates start their own enterprises: social ventures, investment firms, advocacy organizations, or creative mashups of those and more.
In ranking Hampshire sixth on its list of most entrepreneurial colleges, Forbes cited the recent gift to college from Hampshire alum Michael Vlock, F72, that established the student Seed Fund for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The $1 million gift provides funding toward investment in innovative projects and businesses started by current students and recent graduates.
Students make all decisions about which ventures to fund, though they may get advice and support from staff and faculty. “Hampshire will operate as the checkbook for a group of students chosen, by students, to be judges,” Vlock said when his gift was announced. “They will entertain venture financing opportunities and negotiate with the entrepreneurs for terms of investment. If those terms are acceptable, they will make the investment, and Hampshire College will own the investment.” The student-driven fund fits Hampshire’s academic approach. “This will be an extraordinary opportunity and learning experience,” Vlock said. “No students are more entrepreneurial than those who are naturally independent thinkers, and Hampshire has always attracted that kind of person."
The Forbes rankings are based on an institution’s total number of alumni and students who identify themselves on LinkedIn as founders and business owners, divided by the school’s student body.