Pledge fuels student entrepreneurship

Jeanne Krull, 10-05-2023

Two brothers, who are University of Miami alumni and wish to remain anonymous, have made a pledge that is setting the stage for the creation of a groundbreaking new initiative that will reimagine student and faculty engagement with a mission to confront some of society’s most formidable challenges.
USTAAR donor


The University Student Accelerator—USTAAR—Program will bring together students or teams from the College of Engineering, the Miller School of Medicine, the Miami Herbert Business School, the School of Law, and other areas across the University of Miami to nurture new ideas from inception to implementation. 

Two brothers, both alumni of the University who have requested to remain anonymous, have pledged to match, 2 to 1, all gifts to support USTAAR, up to $1 million. The effort will kick off with an all-day Giving Day challenge on Wednesday, Oct. 11. Following Giving Day and for the duration of the pledge, a portion of future donations will be made available as matching funds to encourage additional philanthropic support for USTAAR. 

Motivated by their own experiences as successful entrepreneurs, the donors wanted to be a catalyst for student entrepreneurs—helping them turn their daydreams into real-life ventures.   

“The USTAAR program will be truly transformative for student entrepreneurship, providing fundamental training, mentorship, and financial support for idea development and commercialization, with a goal to creating ’Canes-led startups that bring products to the market,” said Suhrud Rajguru, director of USTAAR, professor of biomedical engineering and otolaryngology, and assistant vice provost for research workforce development. “The program is open to all students and trainees at the University. The goal is for these student-led startups to enhance socioeconomic development in South Florida and beyond.” 

The program is designed to lay a foundation at the University for the next century of student entrepreneurs and startup creation. Working together to oversee this multidisciplinary student accelerator are the Office of the Vice Provost for Research and Scholarship and the College of Engineering with expertise from the Office of Technology Transfer, U Innovation, and other strategic areas of the University. 

The USTAAR Fund will provide seed funding for student design projects, as well as support for technology transfer and the commercialization of startup companies at the University of Miami. 

“I am excited to support a gift to facilitate collaboration between my office, the College of Engineering, the Office of Technology Transfer, and the Clinical Translational Science Institute to augment opportunities for students to learn more about translational research and receive mentorship for taking their great ideas from conceptualization to commercialization,” said Erin Kobetz, vice provost for research and scholarship and the John K. and Judy H. Schulte Senior Endowed Chair in Cancer Research. “I am grateful for the vision and support of our donors who have given us the ability to further support entrepreneurship among our students, whose creativity and intelligence are boundless.” 

The gift is part of the University of Miami’s Ever Brighter: The Campaign for Our Next Century. The most ambitious in the University’s history, the $2.5 billion goal campaign is set to conclude in 2025, when the University will celebrate its centennial.

Help student entrepreneurs by contributing to the USTAAR program.