Through an adaptive remote recruitment process, the Center for Entrepreneurship’s Entrepreneurs Leadership Program is proud to announce the 2021 Cohort of 22 exceptional students. 

The Entrepreneurs Leadership Program provides deep training and mentorship for a select cohort of students to develop the functional, managerial, and leadership skills that differentiate the good from the great entrepreneurs. 

It equips some of the University of Michigan’s most driven minds with a rigorous experiential curriculum to lead them into an entrepreneurial path during and after their college career. Student outcomes are timed to founding ventures, leading investment  in important startups, and contributing to the ELP entrepreneurial community. 

Recruitment began during the beginning of this mostly-remote Fall semester, a unique environment to connect with students during the pandemic. The CFE Immersive Fellowships team designed a series of online events to allow for maximum accessibility for students across the University to participate. 

These events were quite successful, engaging more than 200 students through Zoom sessions that featured notable alumni of the program such as Vicki Powell, Product Design at Apple working on new sensor development for the iPhone. 

Undoubtedly, the highlight of the recruitment process was the first ever virtual Innovation Challenge. More than 70 students and 18 alumni judges participated in the event hosted on Zoom, tasking students with developing a high-impact entrepreneurial idea to address a societal challenge associated with one of three themes: healthcare, climate change, or advanced mobility. 

“When we realized we’d have to shift to fully online recruitment events, we saw this as an opportunity to expand our reach to more students, include alumni from all over the nation, and innovate on past signature events,” said Fellowship Programs Specialist Emilee Studley. “In some ways, these virtual events were even better than our in-person events, and I am certain that we will continue to leverage online tools for future recruitment efforts.”

These outstanding efforts led to the creation of the 6th cohort in the program’s history selected from a very diverse and impressive field of students from first-year to doctoral studies representing more than nine schools at U-M. You can find the public roster for the 2021 ELP Cohort here.

“This year we focused on building a complimentary cohort of students that were quite advanced in their entrepreneurial visions,” said Nick Moroz, Assistant Director of Entrepreneurial Practice at the CFE. “Most students are joining the program with an ongoing venture or experience working in the startup ecosystem. 

“It’s our expectation that this will enrich the ELP community further and we’re extremely excited to help these students reach their entrepreneurial career goals.” 

Students in the program first engage in a Winter semester 3-credit hour class that encompasses entrepreneurial fundamentals such as financial analysis, business development tactics, and strategic product positioning taught by entrepreneurial thought leaders. 

“I look forward to learning the lean startup methodology so I can approach problem solving as a scientific endeavour based on data and analysis and help in solving real world problems effectively in the future,” said 2021 cohort student Elina Mangal, Computer Science and Cognitive Science ‘23. “I’m excited to find a community of innovators and entrepreneurs who share my passion in wanting to help solve real world problems.”

During the Winter semester, ELP students also visit a series of startups in the Michigan entrepreneurial ecosystem as well as startups in hotbeds of innovation such as New York City and San Francisco. The expectation is that this will be conducted remotely for the Winter 2021 semester. 

“I applied to ELP because I understood that this was a program that broke conventions,” said 2021 cohort student Krishna Koka, Biomedical Engineering and Business Engineering ‘23. “I hope to funnel all of my biomedical research and experiential knowledge to push boundaries in commercialization with brilliant professors, advisors, and peers.”

Then, over the summer, students are expected to gain hands-on experience working in an entrepreneurial ecosystem by completing an internship at a growing startup, starting their own venture, or shadowing an entrepreneurial leader. Students have interned at notable startups such as Clinc AI, the Trade Desk, Zendrive, Spellbound, Fernish, Trucks VC, and others. 

“I’m looking forward to expanding the breadth of my Michigan education with the Entrepreneurs Leadership Program, and connecting with the greater entrepreneurship community on and beyond campus,” said 2021 cohort student Caroline Slack, Mathematical Sciences and Economics ‘22. 

Once the fall begins, students take another 3-credit course that serves to solidify team-building aspects of startups and project management, as they work on a semester-long capstone project.

“I’m really looking forward to learning, working, and growing with other Michigan students interested in entrepreneurship,” said 2021 cohort student Issac Fung, Computer Science and Data Science ‘22. “I hope that the topics and problems we discuss will lead to tangible ideas and ventures.”

Nick Cucinelli and Grace Hsia, return as co-instructors for the course. 

Nick ‘05 (CEO and Co-Founder of Endectra) is a serial entrepreneur with vast experience mentoring and leading high-tech ventures. Prior, he served as CEO of CSquared Innovations Inc., a U-M spinout commercializing additive manufacturing technologies which offer a cost effective and highly scalable “platform” approach to the synthesis of nanostructured materials and films for advanced batteries, capacitors, photovoltaics, and industrial coatings. Nick is a graduate of the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise, earning an MS in Sustainable Energy Systems and an MBA with a concentration in Entrepreneurship from U-M, and a graduate of the Coast Guard Academy. 

Grace ‘13 is the Co-Founder and CEO of Warmilu LLC, which is commercializing patented non-electric warming products for newborns, consumers, and outdoor winter dining. She co-invented the technology as an undergraduate in the Materials Science Engineering department at U-M as part of a capstone project, and has grown the business through partnerships with groups like Doctors Without Borders, Ocean State Shields, and Rotary Club to warm over 10,000 in 76 hospital systems based in 75 countries. Grace earned her Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship and a BSE in Materials Science from U-M.

In entrepreneurial leadership roles, you will always face circumstances that require you to bridge and problem solve when gaps arise from how you think things ought to be versus how things really are,” said Grace. “The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.”

If you’re interested in connecting with a 2021 ELP Cohort student for a potential internship or mentorship opportunity, please contact Nick Moroz at

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