(Photo by Tajha Chappellet-Lanier)
Ted Leonsis, himself a notable entrepreneurial output of Georgetown University, and his family have pledged $1 million toward a new “Leonsis Family Entrepreneurship Prize.” The fund will provide financial support to Georgetown students looking to start business ventures “that address problems in the world.”
Starting this fall, current students and recent graduates will be able to apply for cash prizes from a pool of up to $100,000 each semester. The application and selection process will be “rigorous.”
“For many younger entrepreneurs, the initial barrier is financial,” Leonsis said in a statement. “My family and I want to help Georgetown men and women overcome that challenge by providing funds to students who are committed to addressing local, national, and global societal issues.”
Jeff Reid, founding director of the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative at the McDonough School of Business, told the Washington Business Journal that the program is hoping to attract a broad range of business concepts. He said the pledge shows the Leonsis family’s commitment to Georgetown, adding that Leonsis will also be the chair of a forthcoming entrepreneurship advisory board.
Indeed, the Leonsis’ have various ties to Georgetown — Ted and his two children all have degrees from the university. As the patriarch likes to recall, he started his first business while taking classes in the summer of 1976.