A New Vision and Donor Support Usher in the Next Phase of the Kaplan Institute

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Future tech leaders can all benefit from developing an entrepreneurial mindset—at least that’s the philosophy of Maryam Saleh, the new executive director of the Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship at Illinois Institute of Technology.

“The relentless will to persevere is the most important attribute of an entrepreneur,” Saleh says. “All other skills that constitute an entrepreneurial mindset can be learned, and we plan to teach them to all students at Illinois Tech.”

The Kaplan Institute, under Saleh’s direction, will do so by offering programs in innovation and entrepreneurship that will embrace an inclusive culture and diversity, and that will foster cross-disciplinary collaboration.

To help Saleh and the Kaplan Institute achieve these goals and directly benefit student success, members of the Kaplan Institute Advisory Board have continued to give generously since November 2020, including:

  • Ed Kaplan (ME ’65), who has provided new equipment for the Kaplan Institute’s rapid-prototyping lab, the Idea Shop, and additional staff
  • Joel Krauss (MATH ’71), whose efforts helped create the Kaplan Institute’s newest entrepreneurial accelerator, the Membership Program, in addition to new workstations
  • Richard Levy (M.B.A., LAW ’97), who allowed Illinois Tech’s student-run business plan competition, PITCH@Illinois Tech, to offer more cash prizes
  • Vic Morgenstern (CHE ’64), whose giving allowed the Kaplan Institute to hire and teach design students how to mentor undergraduates about innovation and design thinking
  • Kadens Family Foundation and VentureWell, whose support will benefit the Advancing Equity in Entrepreneurship program, which will enhance the Interprofessional Projects (IPRO) Program experience of first-generation students from historically underrepresented backgrounds by creating empowering pathways, including mentoring, navigation, and confidence building
  • Doug Monieson, whose gift will support prototyping events and the purchase of the tech platform for the membership program.
  • Sam Guren, who has provided general support for the Kaplan Institute; general support includes the general budget needs of the institute such as fellowships, faculty salaries, and student wrap-around support resources.

Thanks to the power of philanthropy, Saleh and the Kaplan Institute staff are well on their way to building the structure to ensure that every Illinois Tech student will graduate with a mindset that will allow them to understand and strive to listen to the customer and fill the needs of the market; that will focus their relentless drive on making positive change; and that will help them recognize the need to create social networks to build, fund, and market their ideas.