The fund donated by Khosa will be used to establish the Rattan L. Khosa Student Entrepreneurs Program at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the university. The program will help the students to convert their innovative ideas to successful business models.
The initiative consists of four components through which financial aid will be provided to the young students.
The majority of the total gift will be used to endow the first place award for the nationally-ranked annual Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge. For 2018, the winning team or individual will be awarded at least $150,000. In subsequent years, that will increase to approximately $200,000, which is among the largest prizes awarded in a business school competition.
The Rattan L. Khosa Entrepreneurial Fellowships will be awarded to two graduating entrepreneurs who are dedicated to building their ventures full-time. The fellowships, part of the overall Polsky Founders’ Fund Fellowship program, will provide a one-year stipend, awarded quarterly. The fellowship will also include one-on-one mentoring, which Khosa views as central to his role.
Apart from this, three students will receive financial support to work for either a startup company or on their own startup, and one graduating student will be awarded an annual prize for overcoming significant hurdles to launch his or her business.
“When more than 80 percent of companies fail within the first year – even those with ample funding – it’s clear that there is much more to a startup’s success than just money,” Khosa said in a statement.
“I don’t simply want to provide the money for this new program; I plan to serve as a thought leader, mentor and guide for these aspiring entrepreneurs, so that my years of experience, my struggles, and my successes may serve as an additional resource to help them succeed,” he added.
Khosa, who came to the US from India in the 1970s, started his company AMSYSCO in 1981. The company provides post-tensioning systems on commercial structures and has about 65% market share.
“Entrepreneurship is now the number one concentration at Chicago Booth, and the Rattan L. Khosa Student Entrepreneurs Program will support our most promising entrepreneurial students. In addition, Rattan’s leadership, generosity, and success will serve as an inspirational example to them,” said Madhav Rajan, Booth Dean and George Pratt Shultz Professor of Accounting.