Interested in entrepreneurship? Darden offers countless opportunities and avenues to help make a venture out of an idea, or scale existing ventures. Given the breadth and depth of offering, The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine recently ranked the University of Virginia Darden School of Businessthe No. 8 graduate program in the world for entrepreneurship. 

“These rankings validate what we know: Darden is an ideal place for entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial thinking,” interim Darden Dean Jeanne Liedtka said in a news release on The Darden Report.Backed by the resources of the Batten Institute, Darden has an outsized ability to assist and grow entrepreneurs at any stage of the venture-creation process. We see the results here with the number of alumni starting and growing successful ventures.”

Successful Ventures

Darden’s students, faculty and alumnae have seen incredible success in their endeavors. A few recent examples from a range of industries:

Companies such as Husk Power Systems, a mini-grid power company in the developing world led by CEO and founder Manoj Sinha, raised a record $103 million in October, and is one of many successful ventures coming out of Darden. Time magazine just named Sinha one of the Time100 for climate.


Kristina Loftus (Class of 2017) and her husband, Matt Loftus (Class of 2016) used Darden’s resources and the i.Lab at UVA Incubator program to jumpstart their business, Rhoback, even before graduation. Their idea to combine the sweat-wicking fabric of Under Armor with the design aesthetic of Vineyard Vines lead to a business that continues to grow. Read more on the creation of Rhoback here.

“The Cavalier” polo, modeled here on the Lawn, is one of Rhoback’s first three officially licensed UVA items. (Photo by Rhoback Media House)

Now, their connection to the UVA community is stronger than ever with the launch of the first officially licensed Rhoback college apparel line. 

Kristina told UVA Today, “We think the UVA community is everything,” adding that the Darden community played an important role in the company’s success. “And then, just Charlottesville, it’s such a beautiful town, such a beautiful place to live. We came here and we didn’t want to leave.” 

The Brandefy team at its Henrico warehouse. (Courtesy Brandefy for Richmond BizSense)


Meg Pryde (Class of 2018) is the Founder and CEO of Brandefy, a price comparison app for cosmetics that has grown to sell its own line of affordable beauty products. Pryde grew up in Berryville, Virginia, and studied business at UVA as an undergraduate before completing her MBA at Darden. Brandefy topped the 2023 RVA 25 list of fastest growing companies in the Richmond region. Read more here.

Pryde represented Darden for a webinar hosted by Poets&Quants on the different paths to an MBA. Check it out below.

To learn more about how Darden and the Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Technology supports rising entrepreneurs visit our website here