“No classroom can replicate real projects, with real stakes that require real results. This approach has transformed our traditional internships into interactive apprenticeships where students make quantifiable contributions to the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” he said.
Miami’s Redhawk Ventures (RV) is one of the few student-run venture capital funds in the nation, he said.
It invests up to $25,000 of university assets into selected student and alumni businesses. Members of RV have the opportunity to work through the entire venture funding process, ranging from business plan presentations to term sheets to growing new and innovative businesses.
Crawford said $2.1 billion in venture funding has been raised by Miami-affiliated high-growth companies since 2011. And 94 Miami-affiliated high-growth companies have exited through acquisition since 2011.
The university, which is Butler County’s largest employer, is regularly cited among the nation’s top institutions of higher learning when it comes to producing business leaders.
Besides its main Oxford campus, Miami also has regional campuses in Hamilton and Middletown and a Learning Center at the Voice of America Park in West Chester Township.
There are intangible benefits beyond making money for students and recent graduates in adopting an entrepreneurial mindset, regardless of their college major, Crawford told legislators.
“There is also a certain intangible beauty about the entrepreneurial mindset. No matter what your major, whether you become a doctor, congresswomen, social worker, scientist, teacher, that mindset empowers you with the capacity to accept failure with optimism rather than discouragement; the intellectual courage to try something no one else in the world has tried; the unity to gather a team and translate an idea from concept to product,” he said.
“No matter what field you choose to pursue after graduation, optimism, courage, and unity are personal virtues all employers and industries value,” said Crawford.