History and Background

The evolution of CWRU entrepreneurship

The Case Western Reserve University LaunchNet (formerly known as the CWRU Blackstone LaunchPad) was established in 2012 with a mission to train the next generation of entrepreneurs on the CWRU campus.

With grants from the Burton D. Morgan Foundation and the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, CWRU LaunchPad was conceived as a groundbreaking initiative giving university students and alumni the skills, knowledge, and guidance to start new companies.

In 2015, the Burton D. Morgan foundation established the Northeast Ohio LaunchNet (NEOLaunchNet), refining the focus of the entrepreneurship programs at CWRU, Baldwin Wallace University, Kent State University, and Lorain County Community College.

As a member of the Burton D. Morgan NEO LaunchNet community, CWRU LaunchNet pursues its mission to help students and alumni turn their ideas into products and services. Students and alumni who engage with CWRU LaunchNet are encouraged to explore entrepreneurship as complementary or alternative to traditional career paths.

CWRU LaunchNet serves all academic disciplines of Case Western Reserve University, the Cleveland Institute of Art, and the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Student and alumni entrepreneurial success

From 2012 to date, CWRU LaunchNet has assisted more than 500 members of its community to research and establish enterprises that have collectively won competitions, earned revenue, received grant funding, and raised investments totaling more than $6 million.

Leveraging and consolidating resources both on the CWRU campus and through the wider regional, national, and international entrepreneurship and innovation community, CWRU LaunchNet has helped teams and individuals establish products and services that

  • Unlock internet-enabled, password-protected devices
  • Place rockets with scientific packages into suborbital space, returning data to researchers
  • Train operating room nurses
  • Analyze hospital and medical insurance data to enhance patient treatment effectiveness
  • Provide electrical power to charge batteries in remote locations
  • Deliver fast, accurate and inexpensive blood analyses
  • Enhance the safety and fuel efficiency of jet engines

Community building and career enhancing

Establishing companies that produce revenue, employ people, and assist in regional economic development has been an underline of CWRU campus entrepreneurial activity. Additionally, a priority focus has been the complementary role that entrepreneurship, innovation, and design play within a traditional higher education context, and in an acclaimed research institution like CWRU.

As a co-curricular offering, and with its organizational structure positioned within the CWRU Division of Student Affairs, and the CWRU Career Center, CWRU LaunchNet complements these organizations' mission, vision, goals, and objectives supporting ethical leadership, experiential learning, career development, life long learning, and other division, departmental, and university-wide initiatives.

CWRU LaunchNet community members participate in events and activities and exercise leadership and team building roles in startup enterprises: Skills, knowledge and experiences that are invaluable whether in a personally founded entrepreneurial enterprise or in a traditional employment context.

Championing the entrepreneurial spirit: 50 years and counting

Burton D. Morgan Foundation is the primary funder of CWRU LaunchNet, and the three other NEO LaunchNet schools.

In addition, Burton D. Morgan Foundation is a major donor to ThinkBox, and the CWRU Intellectual Property Venture Clinic.

The Foundation also supports many other organizations and programs, "Championing the Entrepreneurial Spirit," on the CWRU campus, in the Northeast Ohio community, and beyond.

Burton D. Morgan Foundation, marking its 50th anniversary in 2017, has been a pioneer in the world of philanthropy. Very few foundations focus on the funding of entrepreneurship. Fewer still combine this focus with an emphasis on venture philanthropy.

Please join CWRU LaunchNet in honoring Burton D. Morgan Foundation.

We invite you to follow the link below to learn more about the Foundation and the life and accomplishments of its truly extraordinary founder, Burton D. Morgan.

Burton D. Morgan Foundation 50th Anniversary Interactive Timeline

About The Burton D. Morgan Foundation

The Burton D. Morgan Foundation is a private foundation established in 1967, with a mission to strengthen the free enterprise system by investing in organizations and institutions that foster the entrepreneurial spirit.

The Foundation supports entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education at the youth, collegiate, and adult levels. With a 360-degree view of entrepreneurship education programs and their intersection with entrepreneurship activity across Northeast Ohio, the Foundation has a vantage point that allows it to link ideas, people, and opportunities to advance entrepreneurship.

The Foundation is involved in building an ecosystem of organizations that work together to build a rich and productive entrepreneurial culture in Northeast Ohio. For more information, visit www.bdmorganfdn.org.