2014 proved to be a promising year for Duke students and faculty involved with entrepreneurship. With favorable rankings in the “Top 10 Entrepreneurial Schools,” Bloomberg Businessweek’s “Best Full-time MBA Programs,” and “Top Colleges for a Major in Economics,” Duke established its commitment to providing resources for students interested in business and innovation. Here are some of the highlights from 2014:

The first startup career fair: In February 2014, StartupConnect brought together more than 20 companies and over 250 students for a night of networking. The event, open to the entire Duke community and students from UNC’s entrepreneurship minor program, allowed attendees to become acquainted with local startups like SquadUP, RocketBolt, Qnary, and Dream Big Studios. Duke alumni Damien Hoffman of Wall St. Cheat Sheet and Peter Fishman of Yammer opened the night with a panel discussion full of advice for students seeking internships and jobs. Check out this video of the event:

Successful Ventures: Several Duke student startups enjoyed success this past year. Let’s Be Well Red won $50,000 in the Duke Start-Up Challenge and now produces 1,000 iron-rich nutrient bars a day (read the ExitEvent article here). Duke Alum Russell Glass ’98 sold his startup, Bizo, to LinkedIn for $175 million early this spring. Maya Ajmera, the Duke Social Entrepreneur in Residence, was awarded the Rotary’s Global Service to Humanity Award. And CrowdTunes won an NCIDEA grant and got its digital jukebox into 15 local venues. 

New opportunities and interesting stories are bound to happen at Duke in 2015. But a few things to look forward to include: more classes added to the undergraduate curriculum related to entrepreneurship (such as “Strategies for Entrepreneurship” and “Cryptoventures”), the launch of a workshop series by the I&E Initiative, increased engagement with alumni innovators and more opportunities to get involved with the larger Raleigh-Durham entrepreneurial community. 

Happy New Year!