Endowment fund honors former student

Aleks I. Ablamunets died New Years Day of bone cancer.

by Kim Melchert

The Aleks I. Ablamunets Investment Fund will be introduced to the students this fall.

Aleks Ablamunets’ cousin Alex Ablamunets created the endowment fund to honor the life of his dead cousin. Aleks Ablamunets died New Years Day of bone cancer. Both Alex and his cousin were students in Carlson School of Management studying entrepreneurial management.

The fund is intended to pave the way for future entrepreneurs by giving them money to start their own businesses, Alex Ablamunets said.

Ultimately, he said the goal of this will be to raise student awareness about this new program as well as show support for student entrepreneurs.

“Our goal is to give somebody an opportunity, a student at the University to start their business and give back to the Minnesota community,” Alex Ablamunets said, “which I’m positive goes hand in hand with the mission statement of the University itself.”

The fund has some money currently but still needs to generate more to give to the first business, he said, as work on the fund just began in spring semester.

“What we are trying to do is collect as much collateral as possible, get the community excited about it and from there go to bigger donors,” Alex Ablamunets said.

The endowment not only gives a chance to student entrepreneurs to start a business, but also to honor his cousin, he said.

“We felt that he had a lot of friends left in the school and he had a lot of impact on the business school,” Alex Ablamunets said. “So we decided we wanted to do something so that his name stays around.”

After a lengthy application process and gaining approval from the University of Minnesota Foundation , it is now an official endowment fund.

Students will be awarded money based on their business plans and their age. The fund is open to all students interested in starting a business.

“We wanted people who would be receiving this money to be someone like my cousin,” Alex Ablamunets said.

To maintain the endowment, recipients are asked to return the borrowed money with a little more to increase the fund, Alex Ablamunets said. The fund is open to all students interested in starting a business.

This type of funding is not without risk. Program director of the Entrepreneur Center at Carlson John Stavig said with frequent start-up business failure, realistically a number of the student businesses are going to fail.

“Hopefully the successes will outweigh the failures,” Stavig said. “Hopefully they will come back and recognize the value of the school, what this fund did for them and maybe make even larger contributions that offset some of the losses.”

The ideal for this fund is that it will benefit not only future entrepreneurial students but also the Minneapolis economy, and on a grander scale, the Minnesota economy, recent University graduate Zlata Karpas said. She was also involved with crafting the Aleks I. Ablamunets Investment Fund .

“In terms of what the fund will do for the University, I think it is pretty inspiring that a University student can make such an impact on their community and their friends,” she said. “The second part is that it is a great opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs who lack the right support, to get the right support from the University.”