Major Gift Creates Emerging Company Program at DePaul University

Errol R. Halperin and his wife, Libby, support startups launched by students, alumni and others

Coleman Entrepreneurship Center sign

DePaul University alumnus Errol R. Halperin (BUS ’64, JD ’67), and his wife, Libby Halperin, made a major gift to the university at the end of last year to create a new business entrepreneurship program. Mr. Halperin is a retired partner and strategic advisor to the global business law firm DLA Piper. Mr. Halperin has also served as a board member of various public and private companies. He is currently on the board of Elkay Manufacturing Company, Pangea Properties and Elkay Interior Systems.

The Halperin Emerging Company Fund will give DePaul the capital to make equity investments in startups that show potential for growth and job creation. These investments will be available to DePaul students and alumni and, on occasion, other individuals to give them opportunity to form, structure, and grow newly envisioned businesses. Qualified investors may also be given the opportunity to co- invest in these newly formed companies.

“We’re proud to partner with Mr. Halperin to help launch this exciting program,” says Bruce Leech, director of the Driehaus College of Business’ Coleman Entrepreneurship Center (CEC), which oversees the program’s fund created by the gift. “This gift will not only allow for the growth of startup companies, but expands our ability as a university to serve those in our community with innovative and purposeful ideas.”

Although housed in the Driehaus College of Business, the program will serve all of DePaul’s colleges and schools, encouraging entrepreneurial innovation across academic disciplines through collaborative activities and discussion. Since receiving this gift, the CEC has been working to assemble an advisory committee composed of DePaul faculty, graduate students and alumni as well as distinguished advisors from the business community. The committee will be tasked with offering recommendations on equity investments in new businesses and is currently in the process of establishing standards for the application process and review of eligible startups.

The program’s emphasis on linking academia and industry reflects the nationally esteemed Coleman Entrepreneurship Center’s experiential-learning initiatives, such as its industry-expert mentorship program and a recently launched incubator program for social-impact startups. The latter may provide a beneficial pipeline of business candidates for program-funding consideration. With this recent gift, Halperin helps bolster DePaul’s commitment to growing an entrepreneurial ecosystem strengthened by academic innovation and community investment.

“My own DePaul education provided the ideal foundation for a career in which I’ve counseled countless clients in general business, manufacturing and the real estate industry,” says Mr. Halperin. “I’m honored to be able to help students, fellow alumni and other DePaul partners to learn those same, invaluable skills while developing businesses that create employment and build community.”

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