The family of the late Erin Valenti, a standout local entrepreneur, recently partnered with the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business to establish the Erin Valenti Leader in Entrepreneurship Endowed Scholarship starting in the 2020-21 academic year.
The scholarship fund was initiated by donations from Valenti’s family, friends and supporters. They gave more than $100,000 to honor her legacy as a tech entrepreneur and advocate. This money and future donations will be held in an endowment to provide annual scholarships to promising entrepreneurs at the University of Utah.
The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute and Valenti family invite everyone to join them in supporting aspiring entrepreneurs by donating to the Erin Valenti Leader in Entrepreneurship Endowed Scholarship. Learn more and donate here.
“Erin was an inspiration to many, and we hope this scholarship fund will inspire entrepreneurs like her for many years to come,” said her husband, Harrison Weinstein. “She would have loved to work with these entrepreneurs to develop their ideas and help them find success in business and life. Her spirit will live on through these scholarships.”
Valenti passed away unexpectedly in 2019 at the age of 33 and is missed by many. Her impact was far and wide as she grew companies and fostered a culture of entrepreneurship.
Among her latest accomplishments, Valenti was the founder and CEO of Tinker, a product development agency and venture studio. At Tinker, Valenti had a global team consisting of more than 120 employees across Salt Lake City and in Lahore, Pakistan. Tinker built more than 700 products, including mobile apps, SaaS apps, tech-enabled marketplaces and consumer websites while working for renowned startups and Fortune 500 companies.
Valenti was also actively involved with Utah’s Women Tech Council and founded SLC Tech Startups, a professional networking group in Utah, where she organized events that provided the opportunity to learn, create, and connect.
“Erin was the type of entrepreneur we want all of our students to become,” said Troy D’Ambrosio, executive director of the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute and an assistant dean at the Eccles School. “She was smart, resourceful, and passionate. We look forward to working with the students who receive this scholarship and seeing them accomplish big things.”
The first of these scholarship recipients received awards for the 2020-21 academic year. The recipients are participating in the Lassonde Founders program, which is designed for active entrepreneurs to live, study, and launch together at Lassonde Studios, a five-story dorm and innovation space managed by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute.
Here are the scholarship recipients for 2020-21:
- Justine Nguyen (first year, pre-business major) – “While living and learning at Lassonde, I intend to enhance my entrepreneurial skills and learn more about how to begin and grow a company. With these skills, I hope to create a company where streetwear, sustainability, and improving the community around you, all come together.”
- Sydney Hewitt (first year, pre-business major) – “I will earn my degree in business administration, and then I will own my own business or become a CEO somewhere.”
- Ella Bachorowski (first year, pre-design major) – “I’ve always had an eye for all things beautiful. From architecture to design to fashion, I am captivated by details and simplicity. I hope to discover ways to be able to share my passion with the world through the Lassonde Founders program. Go Utes!”
Learn more about programs for student entrepreneurs at the University of Utah on the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute website here.
About the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute
The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute is a nationally ranked hub for student entrepreneurship and innovation at the University of Utah and an interdisciplinary division of the David Eccles School of Business. The first programs were offered in 2001, through the vision and support of Pierre Lassonde, an alumnus of the Eccles School and successful mining entrepreneur. The institute now provides opportunities for thousands of students to learn about entrepreneurship and innovation. Programs include workshops, networking events, business-plan competitions, startup support, innovation programs, graduate seminars, scholarships, community outreach and more. All programs are open to students from any academic major or background. The Lassonde Institute also manages Lassonde Studios, a five-story innovation space and housing facility for all students. Learn more at lassonde.utah.edu.