College of Chicago’s Polsky Heart Places ‘Purchase and Construct’ Mannequin of Entrepreneurship on World Stage with First-Ever Entrepreneurship By way of Acquisition Week

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CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE) – The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago puts the “buy and build” model of entrepreneurship on a global stage and is hosting the first ETA week from February 16-19, 2021.

ETA, which stands for Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition, is when entrepreneurs acquire an existing business – rather than starting a completely new business – and take the lead in managing, growing and scaling that business. ETA and the closely related search fund model, an investment vehicle founded in 1984 in which entrepreneurs raise capital from investors, offer MBA students with strong operational and management experience an attractive career path.

“A few years ago we noticed a growing interest in the Chicago Booth students in the ETA model. In response, we have developed a robust portfolio of resources to equip them with the skills and networks to raise capital, evaluate and acquire a company, and run it successfully after the acquisition, ”said Alex Hodgkin, Entrepreneur-in-Residence and CEO of Polsky Center Eigen. “We quickly realized that there was tremendous demand for ETA programs and we are now supporting students not only at the Chicago Booth but also at other universities. We are also seeing interest from our alumni and others who are later in their careers and are making a transition to entrepreneurship. ”

The ETA program at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business was officially launched in 2014. It is jointly directed by Steven Kaplan, Alex Hodgkin, and Paul Cavalieri and supported by Chicago Booth faculties Brian O’Connor and Mark Agnew. With the help of the Polsky Center, the program was expanded today to include a creditworthy MBA class at the Chicago Booth, a podcast series with more than 100,000 unique downloads, a newsletter on ETA trends, and an annual ETA conference that brings together search fund entrepreneurs, investors, MBA students, faculties, and other participants in the ETA ecosystem.

Now in its seventh year, the ETA conference, hosted in partnership with Chicago Booth and the Kellogg School of Management student groups in the Northwest, has grown to attract a global audience. Last year’s conference, held in person in downtown Chicago, had 49 speakers, 16 sponsors, and over 575 attendees from 24 universities, 24 states, and six countries.

“The global appeal of the ETA model has been phenomenal, so we decided to create ETA Week,” said Paul Cavalieri, associate director of entrepreneurship through acquisitions at the Polsky Center. “Due to COVID-19, our annual ETA conference had to be 100% virtual, but we’ve added new programs, additional days and a contract with an AI-driven technology platform to facilitate networking between MBA students, investors, experts for Search funds and others encourage aspiring entrepreneurs. I am pleased that our new virtual format offers everyone from anywhere in the world the opportunity to find out more about the ETA model. ”

As of February 16, the Polsky Center’s first week of ETA will include 12 panels and networking sessions over four days, culminating in Booth-Kellogg’s one-day ETA conference. Highlights include panel discussions and experts speaking about the challenges and resilience of ETA operators, ETA legal considerations, cybersecurity diligence and implementation, and much more.

While the one-day conference on Friday is free to attend, attendees have the option to pay a small fee to access the full ETA week program via Brella, a networking platform. Via the platform, participants have the option to create a custom profile that highlights their interests and goals within ETA. From there, the AI-driven software will suggest people to meet based on common goals. Participants can easily set up one-on-one networking meetups during the week.

Registration for the ETA week ends on February 18th. To learn more and to register, visit the ETA Week website.

Via the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago

Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation leverages world-class expertise from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business to bring new ideas and breakthrough innovations to market. With 60 professional staff, the Polsky Center drives new business and commercial partnerships in the University of Chicago and beyond. As a global leader in entrepreneurship education, the Polsky Center offers training for aspiring entrepreneurs and those looking to acquire careers in private equity, venture capital and entrepreneurship. Learn more at polsky.uchicago.edu and follow the updates on Twitter @polskycenter.

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