After four years at the University of Michigan, senior Isabella Hartman has taken advantage of a wide variety of opportunities and resources offered by the University, and the wider entrepreneurial ecosystem. She has combined her academic background in Biomedical engineering with the principles of innovation. From her work as a research assistant at the BioElectronic Vision Lab to her Instructional Aide role for Entrepreneurship Practicum, to her year-long entrepreneurial odyssey with the Entrepreneurs Leadership Program (ELP), Isabella has developed an extensive entrepreneurial foundation for her future endeavors. 


“I discovered entrepreneurship during my time at Michigan. When I was a freshman, I got an email from the Center for Entrepreneurship about the ELP, which drew me in. This was my induction to the CFE and all of the great opportunities they have to offer,” she shared.

The Entrepreneurs Leadership Program is a year-long fellowship program for passionate, curious and talented students to deepen their involvement with entrepreneurship. Students develop functional, managerial and leadership skills to better prepare them to launch and scale their future ventures. 

“As a biomedical engineer, it’s important for me to be aligned with the latest innovations in the field. So I applied, and got in!”

Typically, the selective ELP program will admit a cohort of approximately twenty talented budding entrepreneurs, hailing from a wide variety of academic backgrounds. Isabella went into the program hoping to gain valuable insight to the process of crafting a company, and to learn as much as she could about innovation in action from a network of mentors, coursework, and immersive experiences. 

“The first semester was a crash course in all things entrepreneurship, which I loved because it gave me entrepreneurial literacy. It helped me understand venture capital funding, how to identify a target market segment, creating a loyal customer base and all the essentials for starting a business.”

ELP cohort students

Isabella’s favorite ELP experiences are twofold: the comprehensive educational experience and the warmth of the community. 

“The people have been a wonderful part of this program. Everyone from my peers, to the instructors, to the network of entrepreneurs from Southeast Michigan who generously lent their time to guest lecture… I’ve learned so much from this community.”

Her learning continued during the summer, as she engaged directly with the startup environment through the internship component of the program. Each ELP participant is guaranteed an interview with a venture backed firm. For her summer internship experience, Isabella worked with an esteemed surgeon at Michigan Medicine, and worked with him to develop an app to help improve pain management for surgery patients.

“For my internship, I worked with Dr. Mark Cohen at Michigan Medicine who was creating an app to better manage their pain. That was an amazing experience to get hands-on experience with an early stage product,” Isabella said. 

Isabella, through her work with ELP, improved the healthcare experience for real patients at Michigan Medicine. Her work with Dr. Cohen on the pain management app is a practical application for both her biomedical engineering degree and a proving ground for her entrepreneurial acumen. This experience has shaped her vision for her future career.

“This experience led me to the realization that I truly can see myself working for a young biotechnology company or start-up.”

With her biomedical engineering degree, amplified with entrepreneurship, and her abundance of professional experience, Isabella will excel in biotechnology, and make waves in healthcare.

“The Center for Entrepreneurship and the ELP have provided such a great foundation for success… My most valuable experience has been the entrepreneurial literacy I’ve gained along the way.”

Following graduation she will be returning to Michigan to get her Masters degree in Industrial and Operations Engineering. She hopes to obtain a background in logistics, risk management and supply chain that will complement her experiences at the CFE and give her a full picture of business operations at any scale.

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