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"Entrepreneurship has become increasingly important to those in the professional sports industry as they look to expand the scope of their careers. This program helps athletes successfully transition and impact the community through successful execution of their ideas in the marketplace beyond the sports arena."
– Cliff Shorer, the program’s Faculty Director
Professional athletes today are aware of the unique opportunity they have to leverage their hard-earned personal brand and relationships into off-the-field endeavors to realize value even after retirement.
Developed in partnership with sports professionals, the Entrepreneurship for Professional Athletes program is designed to provide them with both the framework and the tools required to validate and launch new business ventures. From for-profit to nonprofit venture, this program helps participants put together the game plan needed to realize their vision and mitigate execution risk.
Participants will validate an actual business idea during the course of the program and develop the materials needed to successfully execute and recruit the right team of partners and investors.
The program features top Columbia Business School faculty, who bring cutting-edge research and business theory, as well as a speaker lineup of founder and investor guest speakers. By the end of the program, participants will have expanded their professional network and built a comprehensive tool kit for validating their business idea and pitching it to investors and partners.
Participants spend two weekends on the Columbia Business School campus in New York City and receive live-streamed digital content during the four weeks in between modules. Learn more about the program structure.
Please Contact Us
Please contact Program Director Erica Duignan Minnihan at +1 917-330-6632 or email@example.com for a personal conversation to learn more.
You may also be interested in the complementary Venture Investing for Professional Athletes program.
This program will equip current and retired professional athletes with the skills necessary to properly evaluate the viability of new ventures as well as the basic materials needed to pitch investors and other partners. Using lean startup methodology, participants will be able to develop an action plan for getting new ventures in market while mitigating execution risk.
You will walk away from the program with:
- An executive summary for your new venture
- A simple financial model to understand your capital requirements
- A five-minute presentation to pitch to investors or partners
- An understanding of capital-raising options that are a fit for your venture
- The opportunity to pitch to and get feedback from real investors
Upon completion of this program, you will earn six days towards a Certificate with select alumni and tuition benefits. Learn more.
Entrepreneurship for Professional Athletes takes place over the course of one month. The program begins and ends with on-campus weekend sessions that kick off with a welcome reception on Thursday evening, followed by in-class sessions on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning. Live-streamed digital content in between modules features interviews and Q&A with experienced founders and investor, as well as individual half-hour office hour sessions with participants to follow up on progress and offer support.
Weekend One covers the basics of validating new ventures. Topics include:
- The Startup Journey
- Creativity and Innovation
- Minimum Viable Product
- Growth Hacking and Gaining Traction
Weekend Two covers new venture implementation. Topics include:
- Demo Day Practice
- Financial Modeling for Startups
- Understanding Seed Stage Securities
The program will culminate with a live demo day, during which participants will have the chance to meet with and evaluate real-life startups in the market for venture capital.
For a complete program schedule download the agenda.
Entrepreneurship for Professional Athletes is designed for current or retired professional athletes who wish to learn more about launching new ventures. The program will also be open on a case-by-case basis to executives in the professional sports industry. This program has no prerequisites, and a collaborative environment will foster growth for participants of all experience levels.
Columbia Business School alumni and up to four of their colleagues are eligible for a 25 percent tuition benefit for programs lasting up to seven days. More on the Alumni Tuition Benefit.
Cliff Schorer, Faculty Director
Adjunct Professor, The Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center at Columbia Business School
Schorer is a serial entrepreneur who specializes in the startup acquisition and development of small and midsized companies. He focuses on businesses with unique ideas or technologies that are in need of guidance during their initial growth phases. Schorer has been involved with companies in the high tech arena, his last position being CEO of GeoVideo Networks, a Lucent Technologies Venture. Prior to that his career included businesses in the real estate, office-supply, and health care industries.
During the early 1990s, he spent a considerable amount of time in Russia, using his entrepreneurial approach to assist in the privatization process. During his extensive professional career, Schorer has lectured in numerous business and academic forums both in the United States and abroad. He has developed financial management software programs for business education through his publishing company Bized.
Erica Duignan Minnihan
Managing Partner, 1000 Angels
Minnihan has been educating new investors about early-stage investing for over a decade. She is the founding partner of Reign Ventures and Venture Partner at Intend Ventures. As the first executive director of Golden Seeds, she began leading their investor training sessions in 2006. Since then, Erica has gone on to lead investor education sessions for professional athlete angel investors, newly formed angel investor groups internationally, and for her own group of active angel investors, 1000 Angels. Erica has been investing in early-stage companies since 2006 and received her BA in Business Economics for UCLA and her MBA in Finance from Columbia Business School.
Managing Partner, Dynasty Digital
Colston currently serves as the managing partner of Dynasty Digital, a multi-faceted digital company he founded and launched in August 2017. A Super Bowl Champion and all-time leading wide receiver in New Orleans Saints history, Marques is also an investor and advisor to various early-stage companies with a focus on sports technology. Colston serves on the Advisory Board for the One Team Collective, a sports technology accelerator run by the NFLPA, and his pursuits have been featured in Inc. Magazine. He is a co-owner of the Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League.
Financial Advisor, Bank of America
Johnstone was a NFL star and favorite son of Philadelphia. He has lectured at the Wharton School of Business and has been featured in The New York Times, Philadelphia Business Journal, Bloomberg TV, and Forbes.com. He serves as a member of The Advisory Board of Legacy Growth Partners, LLC. He graduated from Temple University, Harvard Business School’s Entrepreneur Program, and Wharton’s Sports Initiatives Program.
Along with Schorer, Minnihan, Colston, and Johnstone, additional Columbia Business School faculty and industry practitioners contribute to and teach in the program. For more information, please contact Program Director Erica Duignan Minnihan at +1 917-330-6632 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Venture Investing for Professional Athletes
Professional athletes learn how to evaluate venture-stage investment opportunities and understand how and why to build a portfolio for optimal financial returns.