Director, Economic Growth Institute, University of Michigan
Paula Sorrell is the Director of the Economic Growth Institute at the University of Michigan and teaches undergraduate through masters student classes in the University of Michigan College of Engineering’s Center for Entrepreneurship. She served as vice president of Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Venture Capital for the MEDC, overseeing $1B under management to support Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, including university research and tech transfer, technology service providers, tech incubators, seed funding programs, portfolio investments and fund of funds. She partnered with Michigan’s universities to develop programs such as the First Customer program, Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization program, and Technology Commercialization Assistance program for early stage companies.
She has held senior management roles at seven early technology companies. All start-ups resulted in successful sale of the company, or are still a going concern; four were university tech transfer spin-outs. Past consulting work includes technology business evaluator of investment portfolio companies and investment funds. She was an early founding member of the 17 year-old SBDC Tech Team, an organization that helps early stage tech companies raise on average $60MM per year. Paula was a co-managing director for Cleantech Group, and early in her career worked at the Michigan Manufacturers Association. She currently sits on the boards of the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Institute, the Association for Science & Technology Researchers of America, U.S. Global Leadership Coalition Michigan Advisory Committee, and the Ann Arbor Local Development Finance Authority. She also serves on the Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization Advanced Transportation oversight committee and the leadership committee of the State Science & Technology Institute. She holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing and an MBA from Central Michigan University.