Ilitch Business alumnus and family donate $500,000 to catalyze innovation and entrepreneurship
The Mike Ilitch School of Business is pleased to announce the receipt of a generous gift from alumnus Russell Belinsky and the Belinsky Family Trust, which will be used to launch the Belinsky Entrepreneurial Learning Laboratory (BELL) this fall.
The $500,000 gift will provide resources, insights, and expertise to help launch sustainable, investment-ready student startups, and startups based on WSU intellectual property. Working in close coordination with instructors and students engaged in new entrepreneurship and innovation certificate programs, the BELL will help student founders develop commercialization pathways and attract additional funding aligned with business.
Since graduating in 1981 with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration, Mr. Belinsky has kept abreast of the latest developments in Detroit. He reconnected with Wayne State when he saw that one of his mentors, Professor Attila Yaprak, was being honored with the Ilitch School’s Inspirational Teacher of the Year Award.
“Visiting Detroit this past February, I was able to meet with four remarkable students who each expressed a passion for starting their own business and making a difference in the lives of others,” Mr. Belinsky said. “Along with the new MISB Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program and the new MISB Campus, the aspirations of these students creates a great window of opportunity for my alma mater. My goal in making this gift is to serve as a catalyst for the growth of entrepreneurship and innovation in the Mike Ilitch School of Business. Great things are happening in Detroit and the Bell intends on being a key player in creating businesses and jobs.”
The BELL will be housed in the new Mike Ilitch School of Business facility located at the corner of Woodward Avenue and Temple Street, made possible by a $40 million lead gift from Mike and Marian Ilitch. Fall 2018 upper division classes will be the first to be held in the new building. The location brings students closer to the heart of Detroit’s business community and enhances access to internships and career opportunities.
The move to the new facility in the District Detroit is an exciting opportunity. “These students are going to be just down the street from the expertise and the resources they need to develop the knowledge, skills, and connections necessary to pursue their dreams,” said Dean Robert Forsythe. “With the ongoing support of alumni like Russ and additional support from the community, we know the Mike Ilitch School of Business can support our students and also help the University commercialize its intellectual property.”
Since his arrival in 2016, Wayne State Provost Keith Whitfield has been an enthusiastic supporter of efforts to establish a campus-wide culture of collaboration and innovation. “Dean Forsythe is making great progress in the Mike Ilitch School of Business,” Whitfield said. “It is important for all students and faculty on this campus to know about the resources that the BELL program will provide, and take advantage of the courses and opportunities that it will create for students interested in entrepreneurship and innovation.”
Mr. Belinsky serves as Co-Founder and Senior Managing Director of LB Advisors, LLC, a private equity firm in Los Angeles, California. In addition to his Wayne State degree, Mr. Belinsky earned a J.D. cum laude from Georgetown University.
To learn about additional funding opportunities to support entrepreneurship and innovation within the BELL, please contact Mike Ilitch School of Business Director of Philanthropy Steve Moore at 313-577-9212.