To say Chris Wolfel is a huge part of the fabric of Northeastern's rise as an entrepreneurial powerhouse is perhaps an understatement. In 2012-13, while he was a D'Amore-McKim student studying marketing, entrepreneurship, and new venture management, he led IDEA: Northeastern's venture accelerator as one of its earliest CEOs. Now, after launching two successful tech software startups and helping Northeastern build its entrepreneurial foundation in the state of Maine, he's ready to expand his role as the new Managing Director of Northeastern University's Center for Entrepreneurship Education (NUCEE) effective April 1, 2022.
“NUCEE's programs have had a massive impact over the years, so my focus will be on continuing what has been done well while also integrating and scaling these great programs across the entire university system.” Wolfel says, “For instance, how can we incorporate MOSAIC more deeply across the university system? How can the VMN (McCarthy(s) Venture Mentoring Network) help support ventures in every corner of the globe?”
NUCEE has a dual mission of providing experiential entrepreneurship education while also supporting the growth of new companies founded by Northeastern students, alumni, and faculty. The center launched in 2010 and has been led for the last 12 years by Northeastern Entrepreneurship and Innovation pioneer Marc Meyer, the Robert Shillman Professor of Entrepreneurship and the Matthews Distinguished Professor at D'Amore-McKim. Thousands of students across all disciplines and levels have been positively impacted by the hard work and dedication of the past and present NUCEE staff and students. They have also helped a broad range of increasingly global ventures launch and grow, including consumer and food ventures, software and web ventures, and increasingly “Deep Tech” IP-intensive ventures. Over the past 10 years, the companies NUCEE has supported have raised over $500 million in investment capital.
“Now, under Chris' leadership, Northeastern can take things to the next level. I am so pleased to be able to hand over the keys to the center to someone as capable and experienced in venture creation as Chris,” Meyer says. “He was an IDEA CEO while a student here, a top manager in one of our most successful Northeastern ventures, and over the past several years, he has developed new capabilities for Northeastern at Roux. He has also quickly become a force in our broader, national entrepreneurship ecosystem. And, more deeply, Chris is a fine individual with a larger social mission of innovation and entrepreneurship to impact individuals and society. He will be an outstanding mentor for our next generation of Northeastern entrepreneurs.”
Over the last several years, D'Amore-McKim has helped build a robust system for entrepreneurship that is working at high speed, with its processes serving a broad population of students, learners, and ventures. Notable external organizations have validated this, including the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers in 2020 and the Deshpande Foundation in 2018.
“D'Amore-McKim has been leading the university in its entrepreneurial efforts for more than a decade, and it's exciting to welcome Chris into his new leadership role and explore new ways to broaden our entrepreneurial impact throughout our growing global network,” says Interim Dean Emery Trahan, who will manage Wolfel in his new role. “But we couldn't have gotten this far without Marc, and I can't thank him enough for the energy and dedication he has given our community.”
Wolfel will also continue leading entrepreneurial efforts at The Roux Institute in Portland, Maine, and he has hopes of expanding his efforts in even more ways soon. He says the NUCEE and Roux teams have already started integrating their work while exploring ways that NUCEE can be active on both the Boston and Portland campuses.