Entrepreneur Larry Sullivan awarded honorary degree

06 September 2017

  • COINS founder and WBS lecturer Larry Sullivan receives honorary degree
  • He calls on WBS graduates to use business skills for social good
  • Working with school to put ethics at the core of new Entrepreneurship MBA
  • The entrepreneur has set a foundation to support social enterprises

Entrepreneur, social enterprise founder and angel investor Larry Sullivan has been awarded an honorary degree by the University of Warwick.

Mr Sullivan, who founded Construction Industry Solutions (COINS) which provides software services to the construction industry, has been a guest speaker at Warwick Business School since 2012 and is a strong advocate of enterprise being a force for societal good.

After starting his entrepreneurial career selling ice cream as a student in Chicago Mr Sullivan has gone on to found six niche software companies as well as COINS which is the leading provider of software for the construction industry and has offices across three continents.

Mr Sullivan, who has worked with Deniz Ucbasaran, Professor of Entrepreneurship, on her module for the Executive MBA, also established the COINS Foundation to support social enterprises and projects, including Habitat for Humanity, which builds houses to break the cycle of poverty in more than 70 countries.

At the degree ceremony Mr Sullivan said: “I have spoken at many universities across the globe now. I shine a mirror on commitment, values and rigour and Deniz and Warwick have this in spades.

Honoured: Larry Sullivan with Deniz Ucbasaran (left) and Baroness Kathy Ashton (right)

“I'm proud to be associated with them in helping to shape the next generation of business leaders to think about their social contribution.”

Mr Sullivan called on the 400 postgraduate and PhD graduates at the ceremony to use their power, influence and wealth for social good and advocated a “values first, value second” approach to building good and sustainable businesses, rather than the quarterly financial focus of big business.

The COINS founder, who commended WBS for developing an entrepreneurial MBA degree with values and ethics at its core, argued the biggest challenge facing the world is the growing gap between the rich and poor and said: “It is in the enlightened self-interest of the wealthier groups to back social projects and social enterprise – with both money and acumen.”

Related course: Executive MBA with Entrepreneurship Specialism

Professor Ucbasaran said: “It was a great speech by Larry. We, as a University, are up for the challenge set to target those who have amassed wealth; helping them find meaning and purpose. We want to help them to put their excess to good use by investing in the next generation of business leaders who are using their power and influence for societal good.

“We are very much looking forward to working closely with Larry to ensure ethics and values are at the core of our new MBA with Entrepreneurship Specialism degree.”



Deniz Ucbasaran teaches Entrepreneurship & New Venture Capital on the Executive MBA and Executive MBA (London).

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