New entrepreneurship space will centralize engineering programs, startup ventures

The Purdue College of Engineering has announced the establishment of the John Martinson Engineering Entrepreneurship Center.

The center, to be located in the Convergence Building in the Discovery Park District, will enable students, faculty and staff to participate in meaningful and deliberate ways in activities that blend engineering, business and the creation of new companies. The center also will fund the Summer Undergraduate Student Entrepreneur Accelerator program in which qualified students are paid to participate. Additionally, the center will coordinate other entrepreneur enabling programs, both on and off the Purdue campus.

Martinson (MSAA ‘71), whose pledge of support will make the center a reality, is a venture capitalist and software industry leader, participating in more than 250 equity financing arrangements and has served as a director of 80 companies. Currently, he serves as chairman of Martinson Ventures, as well as chairman of the Martinson Family Foundation, which funds university programs that advance K-12 education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. As a pilot during the Vietnam War, Martinson flew more than 500 combat missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Yung-Hsiang Lu, professor of electrical and computer engineering, will serve as the inaugural director. He has been a member of Purdue Foundry’s Faculty Entrepreneurship Learning Academy and is a principal investigator of an NSF I-Corps grant. Students on Lu’s research team have won multiple awards in business plan competitions, and former students started two technology companies and secured more than $1.3M in funding, including grants from the National Science Foundation. In 2019, Lu was named the Engineering Dean’s Faculty Fellow for Entrepreneurship.

The Wall Street Journal has ranked Purdue No. 6 in the world in creating startups based on university-licensed technologies. In December 2019, the College of Engineering named the Most Impactful Faculty Innovators of the Fiscal Year 2019. These faculty members created intellectual property that has been licensed by industries, co-owned by industry partners, or created startups. The complete list of the faculty is available at