connecting and learning through mixers, workshops, conferences, and celebrations

Throughout each Academic Year, we organize a diverse slate of educational, inspirational, thought-provoking, and fun events that allow students, faculty, and guests to meet, discuss, debate, contemplate, learn, and celebrate. These include mixers, interviews, talks, workshops/colloquia, performances, and an end-of-year celebration designed to provide those associated with the Greif Center a chance to honor and experience entrepreneurship through others’ successes (and failures!) – a chance to understand entrepreneurship as a creative source of not only businesses and jobs, but also new knowledge and friendships.

Student Mixers

Each year, we organize a variety of social networking events that provide our entrepreneurship students and founders a chance to build networks and perhaps even founding teams. Our mixer calendar includes events that are both program-specific and interdisciplinary, encompassing semi-annual get-togethers for each specific student group (undergraduate, MBA, MSEI, MSSE, Master of Business for Veterans) and to support various student clubs.

ATHENA Women's Entrepreneurship Summit

ATHENA brings hundreds of women and allies to campus each year for a day that celebrates female entrepreneurs, investors, and leaders through keynotes, interactive panels, fireside chats, networking, performances, and a pitch competition. Designed for everyone, ranging from those with an early interest in entrepreneurship to those who are accomplished CEO/founders, attendees hear and share in the perspectives of those early in their entrepreneurial journey to those – like Mellody Hobson of Ariel Investments, Jane Wurwand of Dermalogica, Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields of Proactiv, and Gwyneth Paltrow of GOOP  – with success stories that inspire and instruct. 

Founder Central Symposia

Founder Central organizes and hosts an annual symposium to which faculty from USC and elsewhere are invited, for the purpose of diving deeply into specific facets of entrepreneurship teaching and research. In 2019, a Historical Entrepreneurship symposium was convened at the Greif Center, bringing together a group of expert historians and entrepreneurship scholars from top institutions worldwide. In 2018, a symposium focused on Founder’s Dilemmas was held at the Academy of Management meeting in Chicago, focused on the classroom materials, experiential exercises, and instructional issues key to enhancing classroom student skills in and understanding of founder challenges. Future plans include a symposium on Entrepreneurial Ethics. 

SCALE: The Future of Tech & Entertainment

A biennial conference hosted by the Greif Center, in partnership with the Marshall School and the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, SCALE brings together thought and business leaders to share their thoughts about the “what next” of our most dynamic industries – those anchored in or vital to Southern California, creating the future of artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, digital media, gaming and e-sports. Past speakers have included Robert Iger (Disney), LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, Brian Grazer and Ron Howard (Imagine Entertainment), Brandon Beck and Marc Merrill (Riot Games), Santiago Chamarro (General Motors), Sarah Harden (Otter Media), Cindy Eckert (Sprout Pharmaceuticals), Tom Penn (LA Football Club), plus leaders from Magic Leap, Meta, and Google Tango. 

Entrepreneurship Seminar Series

Each academic year, the Greif Center, in partnership with Marshall’s Management and Organization Department, invites luminary entrepreneurship researchers from around the world to visit us, present their recent work, and meet with interested students and faculty. Those to visit most recently include:

  • Saras Sarasvathy, Darden School of Business, University of Virginia
  • Paul Godfrey, Marriott School of Management, Brigham Young University
  • Michael Leiblein, Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University
  • Howard Aldrich, Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Aaron (Ronnie) Chatterji, Duke University
  • Toby Stuart, Lester Center for Entrepreneurship, UC Berkeley
  • Rajshree Agarwal, R.H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland
  • Woody Powell, Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford University


Entrepreneur of the Year

Each year, we celebrate entrepreneurial excellence by conferring two awards that honor their recipients’ entrepreneurial spirit and transformative business efforts: Entrepreneur of the Year and the Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year.  

University Venturing Summit

For many years, the Greif Center invited its alumni back for a special single-day event during which they can network, reconnect with early mentors and friends, make new connections, hear talks from expert in our local entrepreneurial ecosystem, and reminisce. We are looking forward to bringing back Networking Day in the near future, to re-establish a long-held tradition in a new and current way. 

Marcia Israel Awards Banquet

The Greif Center wraps up each Spring semester with a celebration of those who matter most: our students. We recognize those from each degree program who have risen above as dedicated, innovative, forward-thinking entrepreneurial thinkers and doers; announce the winners of our New Venture Seed Competition; award scholarships to those whose work and entrepreneurial commitment merit additional academic funding; and honor absolutely everyone for successful completion of another school year.