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Entrepreneur in Residence

What is an Entrepreneur in Residence

The Charles D. Close School maintains a diverse network of entrepreneurial individuals who provide high-value insights and recommendations within their scope of expertise for student entrepreneurs at Drexel. An Entrepreneur in Residence at the Charles D. Close School must have a proven track record of entrepreneurial success and a commitment to passing on their knowledge to future generations of entrepreneurs. 

Attributes of an Entrepreneur in Residence

  • Seasoned business executive with track record of success
  • Experience with innovative initiatives in one own’s company, or within a corporation
  • Maintain a network professionals and experts who are willing to meet student entrepreneurs
  • Ability to schedule time and meet with student entrepreneurs

How does an Entrepreneur in Residence help Drexel students

An Entrepreneur in Residence has a required amount of hours to provide to students who are looking for entrepreneurial advice and guidance. With these hours, students can:

  • Discussing obstacles and challenges currently facing a student’s startup
  • Making introductions and connections for student entrepreneurs and appropriate business contacts
  • Teaching and co-teaching entrepreneurship classes where the class’ subject matter matches the Entrepreneur in Residence’s skill set and experience
  • Mentoring, advising and coaching students across campus regarding their entrepreneurial ideas
  • Working with Close/Baiada staff to ensure students are receiving the support they need to accelerate their ideas

Students can schedule time with an Entrepreneur in Residence, by contacting Debra Colbert-Maduforo at

For professionals interested in becoming an Entrepreneur in Residence at the Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship, please contact Chuck Sacco at


Who is currently an Entrepreneur in Residence at Close?

Below is a list of our current Entrepreneurs in Residence at the Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship. To learn more about each Entrepreneur in Residence, see below:


Stephen Zarilli


Founding teams often require mentors to help them more clearly see things from a customer / outside-in perspective and to develop habits of informed experimentation and long term growth.  Stephen Zarrilli’s vast career spans more than 35 years in executive management roles in both public and private companies - including enterprises funded with private equity - leading founders and companies to long-term, sustainable growth. 

Zarrilli has chosen to give back to the entrepreneurial community by becoming a Charles D. Close School Entrepreneur In Residence.

Who should reach out to Stephen Zarilli?

  • Student entrepreneurs looking to develop a sustainable long-term growth strategy
  • Students looking for connections in technology, healthcare, financial services, or consumer products
  • Companies who need guidance with building/hiring a core team with essential skill competencies
  • Companies who want to develop a culture of experimentation and optimization of their products/services

Experienced company advisor and mentor


Mr. Zarilli has substantial board governance experience. During his career, he has served on six public company boards involving industries that include technology, healthcare, financial services, and consumer products. In his career, Zarilli has launched two start ups, one a technology business and the other a consulting business.

Non-profit experience


Zarilli currently contributes time and expertise to his local business community by serving on a variety of non-profit boards. He is the former Chair and board member of Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania (a state-funded early-stage capital source for technology and life science companies), a Board Member of the University City Science Center, and a Board Member of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. 

Zarilli is able to help Drexel entrepreneurs position themselves to find funding and backers for their startups through local program knowledge and capital source connections. 


How does Zarilli’s experience help me in today’s business climate?


Student entrepreneurs can obtain invaluable insights, recommendations and introductions to the right people - helping your startup succeed in today’s shifted business climate. His experience on multiple boards at a variety of successful companies provides a deep understanding of company cultures and procedures. Based on your own company’s values and objectives, Zarilli is equipped to help guide fundamental organizational decisions.

Zarilli has also faced both business and personal adversity during his career and was able to exhibit stellar entrepreneurial resilience to overcome barriers time and time again. He can provide students with strategies to identify adversity and advise them on how best to overcome any obstacles in your startup’s path to success.