Meet Dr. Eric Fretz, a seasoned Lecturer at the Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE) at the University of Michigan, and a retired LCDR from the US Navy. His journey into the world of entrepreneurship wasn’t exactly intentional, but it’s led him on a wild and fulfilling ride – one where he’s changing the lives of young entrepreneurs along the way.

Dr. Fretz’s journey with entrepreneurship happened naturally. “It turns out I did a lot of unintentional entrepreneurship before I ended up teaching it,” he notes.

Eric started and ran not one, but two small medical clinics and two 501c3 charities back in the day, so he knows the nitty-gritty of small business like the back of his hand. After a 24-year Navy career, including three deployments across two wars, and armed with degrees in Psychology and Education, he found his way into academia.

Fun fact  – Eric Fretz never applied to teach at the University of Michigan. One day, he was called in to fill an emergency opening, and the rest is history. Pushed into the deep end, he created the core course for the Minor in Entrepreneurship in a whopping 60 days! No pressure, right?

Fast forward to today, and Eric’s teaching style is not your run-of-the-mill lecture. It’s built to get students invested. “I designed it to be very engaging and student friendly,” says Dr. Fretz, “I want to get the students so engaged in something they care about, they actually do MORE work on it than they plan to.”

His journey hasn’t been the typical startup saga. Eric doesn’t boast about serial exits or closing multi-million-dollar rounds over business lunches. He’s the guy on the people and creativity side of things. “I’m very good at building and maintaining groups to do epic things,” says Dr. Fretz.

Working with students is where Eric finds his joy. The best part? When students respond to the personal development efforts woven into his teachings. “Students often come back reporting their lives were changed and that makes me so happy,” he says. “That’s really powerful and, for me, energizing, to know I have changed someone’s life.”

When he’s not inspiring future change-makers, Eric is intentional about his free time, juggling multiple jobs, volunteer positions, and board memberships. He’s always helping students and veterans develop their full potential. Social activities, meeting interesting people, savoring good food and drink – that’s his jam.

His advice for students interested in entrepreneurship? “You can’t go wrong with CFE courses,” says Dr. Fretz. “The instructional team is so great, with deep experience and real passion for teaching their expertise.  The CFE Leadership team is so focused and professional too. It’s all about student success at CFE! For students who are interested in ENTR, start with the Minor. It’s great, and I hear the core class is pretty cool!”

Dr. Eric Fretz: Steering students through the seas of entrepreneurship with a mix of wisdom, passion, and a touch of naval charm.

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