A dedication to innovation at all levels earned the University of Washington a historic national ranking for entrepreneurship by the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine. For the first time ever, UW ranked in the top 10 for “Best Entrepreneurship Program” on both the undergraduate and graduate side.
The 2024 rankings placed UW at #7 for graduate entrepreneurship programs—tying its highest ranking ever—and number two overall in the West Region. The graduate program built on its #8 overall ranking last year in a multitude of ways, including offering more courses in entrepreneurship than all but one school ranked ahead of it. UW graduate alumni who studied entrepreneurship or took part in programming also launched more than 616 companies over the past ten years, raising nearly $750 million dollars.
Undergraduate entrepreneurship offerings at UW were ranked #9 overall (up from #13) for 2024—the highest ever—and #1 in the West Region. The previous high for a Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine ranking on the undergraduate side was #11 for 2016-17. Once again, UW distinguished itself in several important metrics, including the number of entrepreneurship courses offered. Only three peer schools ranked ahead of UW offered more. UW undergraduate alumni also launched more than 528 companies over the past ten years and brought in nearly $250 million in fundraising.
“The innovation that happens at the University of Washington is foundational to the Pacific Northwest entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Amy Sallin, director of the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship in the Foster School of Business. “Across all UW campuses, students are developing businesses that create impact in established industries and disrupt emerging ones. These companies add to the communities around them and contribute to the commitment of the University and Foster School to create a better world for tomorrow.”
The University of Washington is one of only five schools in the nation to be ranked in the Top 10 on both the graduate and undergraduate side for 2024 entrepreneurship programs. The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine ranks each college and university using information gathered from extensive surveys.
Leading in Entrepreneurial Education and Incubation
The 2024 rankings arrive at an exciting time for the University of Washington’s Innovation Imperative and entrepreneurship-focused programs. The Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship launched a new University-wide program dedicated to Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (WE Lead) for fall quarter 2023. It promotes the advancement of women as entrepreneurs, leaders, investors, and agents of innovation in an age where female founders are raising more capital than any year prior.
CoMotion, UW’s collaborative innovation hub, is moving its operations to Condon Hall at the end of November. Condon also houses Startup Hall, home to CoMotion Labs tech incubator, Techstars Seattle, and the Seattle venture capital firm Founders’ Co-op. However, CoMotion adds to the vast footprint of impact along with the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, the College of Engineering, and academic programs like Computer Science, Bioengineering, Population Health, and others.
CoMotion’s move also brings it closer to the Seattle campus and to Portage Bay Crossing, the next phase of UW’s growth. The new district will be anchored by the 340,000-square-foot W27 building, which will house the Washington Clean Energy Institute and its Testbeds, the Brotman Baty Institute for Precision Medicine, and the Institute for Protein Design.
According to Francois Baneyx, UW Vice Provost for Innovation and Director of CoMotion, “this campus expansion will blend gathering spaces, academic and research facilities, affordable housing units, and green spaces. It will be a place where students, researchers, private companies, and nonprofits partner with the community to imagine, build, and deploy solutions that address our most pressing societal challenges.”
UW has advanced its commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship in recent years in several other ways as well. The Foster School of Business became just the third U.S.-based host for the Creative Destruction Lab in 2021, which helps massively scalable, seed-stage, science-based companies grow. The Foster School also launched a 12-month Master of Science in Entrepreneurship program, which earned its own independent national ranking. The University created Husky FAST Start, a process to demystify the startup licensing process.
The UW Bothell location received funding for a new center focused on life sciences and biotech. UW Tacoma also launched its own Entrepreneurship Academy for fall quarter 2023 and brought on a diverse offering of entrepreneurs-in-residence.
At the same time, student founders have developed and incubated their ideas through academics and extracurriculars, launching highly impactful businesses. UW spinoffs—including A-Alpha Bio, Aquagga, Membrion, Proprio, Olis Robotics, and Twinstrand Biosciences among others—have recently raised $86M+ .
Several of those startups are among the growing community of post-graduate launches who competed as students in the innovation and startup competitions hosted by the Buerk Center. The Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge, Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge, and Dempsey Startup Competition are open to students attending colleges and universities across the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia, and Alaska. This past year, the Dempsey Startup received a record 117 submissions from 13 colleges across the Cascadia Corridor.
# # #
Follow the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship on Instagram
Follow UW CoMotion on Instagram
Visit the Buerk Centers website at startup.uw.edu
Visit CoMotion’s website at comotion.uw.edu
Visit the UW Innovation Imperative website