From an early age, Maria Minniti, director of the Institute for an Entrepreneurial Society (IES) and the L. Bantle Chair of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy at Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management, was interested in exploring what causes economic growth and how jobs are created.
Professor Minniti grew up in Italy in the 1970s during a time of social unrest and mass layoffs. She observed the devastating effects of widespread unemployment and the struggle people faced to find stable jobs. She also noticed, however, how some people were attempting to create their own businesses and that this was true in some regions more than others.
According to Professor Minniti, this life experience motivated her to investigate why some people choose to become entrepreneurs and how society’s formal and informal institutions influence venture creation.
Today, Professor Minniti holds a Ph.D. in economics from NYU and teaches at the Whitman School, where she works with students and conducts research. Her articles on entrepreneurship and economic growth, institutions, government and organizational emergence, has been featured in many professional journals as well as publications such as the Boston Globe and Financial Times. Research, however, is not Professor Minniti’s only focus.
“Teaching and research are interconnected,” said Professor Minniti. “When you do research, you hope to contribute to our common body of knowledge. You want people to read it and know about it, and the first people you want to share it with are your students.”
Since 2013, Professor Minniti has enhanced the Whitman School by developing new projects and creating new programs. In fall 2016, she launched the Institute for an Entrepreneurial Society (IES) whose mission is to produce high-quality evidence-based research on the political economy of entrepreneurship, engage the academic community in explorations of the entrepreneurial society and, above all, train future entrepreneurship scholars.
As director of IES, Professor Minniti works with Ph.D. students to conduct research and better society. During this process, she imparts her knowledge and guides them to become well-rounded individuals. “A large part of what IES does is developing students into problem solvers and the next generation of thought leaders.”