Paula Sorrell is the director of the Economic Growth Institute at the University of Michigan. She recently served as vice president of entrepreneurship, innovation and venture capital for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, overseeing Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, including university research and tech transfer, technology service providers, tech incubators, seed funding programs, portfolio investments and fund of funds. Her primary focus was building companies built on strong science from university research, including creating state initiatives for First Customer program, Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization program, and Technology Commercialization Assistance program for early stage companies.
Prior to MEDC, Sorrell held senior management roles at seven early technology companies. All start-ups resulted in successful sale of the company, or are still a going concern; four were university tech transfer spin-outs. She is a part-time lecturer at the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering in the Center for Entrepreneurship and currently sits on the boards of the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Institute, the Ann Arbor Local Development Finance Authority (chair), and the Michigan Translational Research Advanced Transportation Oversight Committee.
Sorrell holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing and an MBA from Central Michigan University.