Georgetown University Supports Student Entrepreneurs Through New Prize
Georgetown University students with entrepreneurial ambitions and a heart for service will have a new source of support, thanks to Ted Leonsis (C ’77), a longtime entrepreneur, investor, and founder and CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, his wife, Lynn, his son, Zach (MBA ’15), and his daughter, Elle (C ’14), who have pledged $1 million toward a prize.
Starting in fall 2016, the Leonsis Family Entrepreneurship Prize will honor and provide financial support to Georgetown students and recent alumni who have launched or are preparing to launch new business ventures that address problems in the world.
“For many younger entrepreneurs, the initial barrier is financial,” said Ted Leonsis, who also serves as the chair of the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative’s newly established advisory board. “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. As we strive for a better world in which to live, we know Georgetown students will be proactive citizens and play important roles in the service of others.”
Current Georgetown undergraduate and graduate students, as well as Georgetown alumni within six months of graduation, will be eligible to win the prize and may be nominated as individuals or as teams. Georgetown’s Entrepreneurs-in-Residence will provide valuable mentorship to the Leonsis prize finalists as they develop and pursue their ventures.
Recipients of the prize will be selected through a rigorous nomination, application, and review process in both the fall and the spring semesters. The first recipients of the prize will be named in October 2016. Each year, a pool of up to $100,000 in awards will be distributed to prize recipients, funded by the $1 million gift by the Leonsis family.
“The Leonsis family’s gift underscores Ted, Lynn, Zach, and Elle’s commitment to promising young entrepreneurs at Georgetown,” said Jeff Reid, founding director of the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative at the McDonough School of Business. “After Ted agreed to chair our advisory board, he went one step further, supporting his alma mater’s next generation of entrepreneurs with both his time and his investment.”
Ted Leonsis has launched several companies in his career, including one which later merged with AOL, where he spent 14 years, including as president and vice chairman. He owns the NHL’s Washington Capitals, the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, the NBA’s Washington Wizards, and D.C.’s Verizon Center. He has served as a member of Georgetown’s board of directors and is a loyal supporter of numerous university programs. In 2010, he received the university’s John Carroll Award, and in 2015, he received the Georgetown Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Ted’s daughter, Elle, graduated from Georgetown in 2014 with a bachelor’s in English and a minor in film and media studies. She is currently a digital journalist with SnagFilms and its ViewLift unit. Zach Leonsis, vice president and general manager of Monumental Sports Network, received an MBA from Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business in 2015 and graduated from the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. Zach also will serve on the advisory board. Lynn is co-founder and president of the Leonsis Foundation, which creates opportunities for children that enable them to reach their highest potential. The foundation partners with and supports organizations with the creativity, skill, and dedication to help children overcome obstacles and achieve their goals.
For more information, visit eship.georgetown.edu/bark-tank/.
About the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative
The Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative, led by founding director Jeff Reid, inspires Georgetown University students to be entrepreneurial, teaches them the entrepreneurial lessons learned by others before them, connects them to useful resources, and helps them pursue their own unique entrepreneurial interests. The initiative manages an array of courses and extracurricular programs to serve the Georgetown University entrepreneurial community, both within and outside of the McDonough School of Business, and fosters stronger connections to the vibrant Washington, D.C., entrepreneurial community and the Georgetown Alumni Association. Signature programs include the StartupHoyas Challenge Business Pitch Competition, the StartupHoyas Incubator, the McDonough School of Business Entrepreneurial Fellowship, the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Alliance, the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Faculty Exchange, Entrepreneurs in Residence, and events such as Georgetown Entrepreneurship Day, the Venture Capital Investment Competition and Global Entrepreneurship Week. Learn more at eship.georgetown.edu.