The Miller School of Entrepreneurship in East Carolina University’s College of Business made the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine list of Top 50 Undergraduate Schools for Entrepreneurship.

The Miller School is the only endowed school of entrepreneurship in North Carolina and ranks No. 47, marking its first appearance on the list.

North Carolina State University is the only other university in the state on the list.

“We’ve accomplished so much in a short time,” said Mike Harris, director of the Miller School. “I’m proud for ECU, the College of Business, our faculty and staff, and most importantly, the students. I’m really excited about the entrepreneurial ecosystem that’s thriving in our community.”

“I am over the moon and thrilled about this accomplishment,” said Fielding Miller, CEO of Raleigh’s CAPTRUST, COB alumnus and ECU Board of Trustees member. “The work that Mike Harris and team have done to launch and lead our entrepreneurship program is extraordinary. In only four years, our school has gone from a ground floor start to being ranked in the top 15 percent of 300 programs in the U.S.

“The future looks bright for our budding ECU entrepreneurs.”

Regional transformation

The Miller School was established in 2015 thanks to a commitment of $5 million by Miller and his wife, Kim Grice Miller. It serves as a regional hub for preparing students to take an entrepreneurial mindset and skillset into their communities.

Since 2015, the Miller School has implemented numerous programs that have served as a catalyst for regional transformation.

In 2017, the Miller School kicked off the annual Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge, the signature business pitch competition for ECU student teams. Cash and prizes for the contest have grown from more than $15,000 in the first year to this year’s $100,000 purse. Past winners have created jobs and are experiencing more than $1 million in sales.

Additional multimillion dollar gifts have led to the establishment of the Van (Class of 1985) and Jennifer Isley Innovation Building that will house the Miller School when completed and provide space where any ECU student can collaborate on product innovation and entrepreneurship.

The Crisp Small Business Resource Center opened earlier this year and will provide access to best practices and proven knowledge for ECU students and area entrepreneurs who plan to start or sustain enterprises in eastern North Carolina. The center was made possible thanks to a gift from Matt (Class of 1993) and Kim Crisp.

Throughout the calendar year, the Miller School and the ECU chapter of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization hosts hackathons, sponsors the annual Hult Prize competition and provides mentorship to students and other companies who need guidance with turning their ideas into realities.

“The Millers, Isleys, Crisps and many others are our inspiration,” Harris said. “They’ve given so much to their College of Business. We would not be here without them, and for that, all of us are grateful for their belief in what we want to accomplish here at the Miller School.

“We look forward to developing additional innovative programs that will benefit the emerging entrepreneurs on campus and throughout our region,” he said.

East Carolina University ranked on the Princeton Review’s Best 385 Colleges, Best Southeastern Colleges and Green Colleges 2019 lists.

About the List

Princeton Review tallied the 2020 lists based on a 2019 survey of administrators from 300 schools with offerings in entrepreneurship studies. More than 40 data points were analyzed for the ranking list tallies.

Topics on the 60-question survey included: the percentage of faculty, students, and alumni actively and successfully involved in entrepreneurial endeavors; the number and reach of mentorship programs, scholarships and grants for entrepreneurial studies; and the level of support for school-sponsored business plan competitions.

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