Linda Darragh
Linda Darragh

Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurial Practice
Executive Director, Kellogg Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative
Executive Director, Levy Institute for Entrepreneurial Practice
Executive Director, Heizer Center for Private Equity and Venture Capital

Print Overview

Linda Darragh's professional and volunteer experience has focused on enhancing entrepreneurship in Chicago for three decades. Two key areas of interest have been early stage financing and teaching.

As Vice President of the Women's Business Development Center, she piloted innovative lending programs that created collaborations with foundations, banks and all levels of government. Ms. Darragh also organized Springboard: Mid-West, a nationally recognized investor forum for women entrepreneurs, in 2001 and 2003. The forums raised more than $85 million for participants. Another outcome of Springboard was the establishment of the Ceres Venture Fund in which she is an investor.

In 1999, Ms. Darragh started as an adjunct professor at Kellogg where she taught 'Women and Entrepreneurship' and then '462: Entrepreneurship and New Venture Formation'. She later became Assistant Director of Entrepreneurship.

In 2006, Ms. Darragh became the Director of Entrepreneurial Programs at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Ms. Darragh's accomplishments included organizing global alumni entrepreneurship immersion trips to India and China, launching the Global New Venture Challenge, leading the Exploring Entrepreneurship Series that culminated in annual conferences that highlighted local innovation in the areas of financial trading, education and food. She taught the New Venture Lab and Social Entrepreneurship Lab courses and was also a coach for the New Venture Challenge and the Social Venture Challenge.

Most recently, Ms. Darragh has focused her efforts on early stage financing in the realm of for-profit social ventures - impact investing. In collaboration with Professor Jamie Jones of Kellogg, they organized an 'Impact Investing' conference in 2011 and then launched Impact Engine, an accelerator for for-profit social ventures.

Ms. Darragh is an active member of the Chicago entrepreneurial community. She has been a long-time board member of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center/1871. She is also a member of the Illinois Science & Technology Coalition and a board member of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE).

In her free time, Ms. Darragh will be on the golf course, tennis or paddle tennis court, skiing or in her garden.

Print Vita
M.Sc.(Pl.), 1978, University of Toronto
B.A., 1976, Queen's University

Academic Positions
Director of Entrepreneurship Programs, Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship; Clinical Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship, Booth School of Business, University of Chicago , 2005-2012
Assistant Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurship, Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University, 2003-2005
Adjunct Professor, Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University, 1999-2003

Other Professional Experience
Co-Founder, Impact Engine, 2011-present
Vice President, Women's Business Development Center, 1989-2003
President, EconoTech, 1983-1988
Staff Member, City of Chicago, 1979-1983
Staff Member, Metropolitan Toronto Planning Department, 1978-1979

Honors and Awards
Chicago Tribune 'Blue Network' Top 100 Tech and Innovation Leaders, 2015
Illinois Technology Association’s CityLights Award, 2009
Finalist for the Most Outstanding Professor Award at Kellogg, 2004-05
U.S. Small Business Administration, Women’s Business Advocate (for Illinois and the Midwest), 2002
U.S. Small Business Administration, Financial Services Advocate (for Illinois and the Midwest), 1998
Illinois State Treasurer’s Business/Technology/Finance Trailblazer Award, 2002
Chicago Sun-Times Top 100 People Influencing Technology in Chicago, 2001, 2002, 2003

Print Research

Print Teaching
Full-Time / Part-Time MBA
New Venture Development (KIEI-940-0)
Previously known as Innovation Lab I, this course is the logical continuation of New Venture Discovery (KIEI 462). If a student or student team has a business concept that they want to pursue further, they are encouraged to apply to New Venture Development. This course is focused on testing and validating product-market fit, user interfaces and experience and advancing to the development of a refined MVP concept. Teams are not expected to have programmers at this point as the focus is on using a variety of free ware to test the product/service. A significant portion of the workload for this course will occur outside of the classroom. Students must be prepared to test and validate their business model hypotheses by engaging with potential customers and industry experts. Within the classroom, students will be encouraged to share learning experiences and help other student teams. The course work will be supplemented by guest speakers who are experts in specific industries as well as functional areas and a pool of alumni and local mentors who can assist in the development of their businesses.

New Venture Development will be offered in the winter and spring quarters. Upon the completion of New Venture Development, student teams and faculty will determine whether a team should move to New Venture Launch. Other courses that are beneficial to take in advance of this course are: MKTG 961: Entrepreneurial Tools for Digital Marketing and MORS 952: Building Innovation, Teams, and Cultures Admittance to New Venture Development is by application only. The application is available here. If a student wants to by-pass KIEI 462, they must identify that they are well versed in the process of design thinking and have already conducted significant market research to validate their business concept.

Executive MBA
Capstone Course (STRTX-470-0)