There’s a lot of heart behind UCLA Anderson School of Management’s Larry Wolfen Entrepreneurial Spirit Award. A creative, energetic, and caring student, Larry Wolfen, MBA ’93 had a knack for identifying successful venture capital and startup companies. But his promising career was cut short: The year after he graduated, when he was 28, cancer took his life.
An Enduring — and Empowering — Tribute
To honor Larry’s memory — and to carry on his passion for entrepreneurship — his family established a financial award for UCLA Anderson students to explore an entrepreneurial idea during the summer between their first and second years. More than 100 students have been granted awards to date, and 2019 marks the award’s 25th anniversary. Now a new gift from his family makes Larry’s legacy permanent. Family members Mimi and Werner Wolfen; Rick Wolfen ’80, MBA ’83 and Karen Wolfen ’82, JD ’85; Jimmy Wolfen; and Cindy Wolfen Scott and Eric Scott have ensured the future of the award with an endowment of $2.2 million.
The Larry Wolfen Entrepreneurial Spirit Award enables Anderson students to pursue a real-world entrepreneurial experience and see if entrepreneurship sparks a personal passion. Whether completing a feasibility study or moving into production and sales, recipients also participate in UCLA Anderson Venture Accelerator’s six-month program of mentorship, industry speaker events, career resources, and other supports.
Stories of Entrepreneurial Success
“I can honestly say that it was one of the most pivotal moments in my career thus far,” says Sheeva Sairafi, MBA ’15, who explored a wedding planning project with Wolfen funding but instead decided to start a home goods business, Local + Lejos, using the lessons she learned.
Wolfen Awards have advanced a variety of endeavors. Peter Friis, MBA ’13 used his to fund the first production run of his Essio aromatherapy shower kit, attracting angel investments in his growing company.
Christina Wang, MBA ’18 launched AllOfUs Cosmetics, which uses color-matching technology to find the perfect foundation tones for customers, with the help of her Wolfen Award. “That was the basis for our entire company,” she says, noting that it enabled her to build her first prototype. “We’ll never forget that our company started from a place of love because the fellowship was founded in the name of Larry Wolfen.”
Published March 2019