Origin Ventures Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership in Gies College of Business supports entrepreneurship and changemaking education to create a better world. We offer cross-campus entrepreneurship programs, including those focused on social innovation, specialty and inclusive entrepreneurship, and community outreach initiatives to support local and global micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises. Current programs in our portfolio include the Illinois Impact Incubator, iVenture Accelerator, Women in Entrepreneurship, Illinois Economic Justice Project, Social Innovation Global Scholars, and Entrepreneurs Without Borders. We collaborate with partners and provide leadership to support an inclusive entrepreneurship ecosystem that ignites transformational learning, economic development, and social impact.

A $4.5M grant from E. M. Kauffman Foundation established the Academy in 2004 and was a critical catalyst for infusing entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurial thinking across all disciplines at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The Academy was instrumental in leveraging this initial investment to create a record of accomplishment in entrepreneurship-related curriculum, research, economic development, and public engagement. The legacy of this investment is apparent in long-standing programs and courses launched by the Academy's Faculty Fellows in Entrepreneurship, including The Subsistence Marketplaces Initiative, which pioneered a bottom-up approach to research and practice at the intersection of poverty and marketplaces.

In 2018, Bruce Barron and the REAM Foundation (in honor of Steve Miller) invested $5M in Gies College of Business to support innovation and entrepreneurship. Our new name, Origin Ventures Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership, is a tribute to Origin Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm co-founded by Gies Alumni Barron and Miller, which invests in software and marketplace businesses in the Digital Native economy.