Kelley Evening MBA DIVE Program named finalist in national competition

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INDIANAPOLIS – The Kelley Evening MBA Program’s Discovery, Innovation, and Ventures Enterprise (DIVE) at Kelley Indianapolis was named a finalist for the 2016 University Economic Development Association’s (UEDA) Awards of Excellence in the “Innovation + Talent” category.

UEDA selected four finalists for that particular category. They say more than 40 projects were nominated over all categories. The organization says the awards recognize cutting-edge initiatives “that focus on developing economic prosperity in their communities and beyond.”

Todd Saxton, associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship, is the founding director of DIVE, which he started 11 years ago. The enterprise program connects Kelley Evening MBA students with local startups to help grow new businesses and provide hands-on consulting services.

Saxton presented more about the DIVE Program at the annual UEDA summit in Roanoke, Virginia.

“It’s rewarding to be recognized in this way and to have been nominated by IU/IUPUI for this award. I’m honored the program was selected as a finalist,” said Saxton. “It’s very validating to have a group of folks from universities across the country, who look at many of these kinds of programs, say this is worthy of recognition and represents best practice that should be shared as a model with other colleagues across the country.

“Over 11 years of this program, we’ve had more than 200 DIVE students who have engaged with more than 50 ventures to help them move forward. These ventures have raised over $25 million dollars,” explained Saxton. “DIVE provides students with hands-on experience in strategy, market research, and business planning. They’re getting exposure to the uncertainty that comes with starting your own venture, and they’re getting connected to the entrepreneurial ecosystem in central Indiana."

It’s not only helpful to students as they learn from these actual entrepreneurial ventures, but also to the entrepreneurs themselves who benefit from the outstanding talent and energy our 'DIVErs' possess.

Todd Saxton, associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship, IU Kelley School of Business Indianapolis

Two other IU programs were named finalists for this year’s UEDA Awards of Excellence. Also in the “Innovation + Talent” category was IU Bloomington’s B-Start program, which works to connect mentors from the Bloomington business community with student-run ventures. IU Kokomo’s initiative called “Steward of Place: How Indiana University Kokomo Engages with the North Central Indiana Region to Support Economic Development” was named a finalist in the “Place” category.

Click here to learn more about the Kelley Evening MBA Program’s DIVE.