Thom Ruhe is Vice President of Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation. In this capacity, he directs the Foundation’s programs addressing entrepreneurial education, mentoring, access to capital and fostering entrepreneurial ecosystems. He oversees collaborative projects with innovative groups such as the Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative, FastTrac, Startup Weekend, the Angel Resource Institute, and Invent Now; parent organization of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, Camp Invention and the Collegiate Inventors Competition. Thom also curates the online curriculum, resources and communities for Kauffman’s flagship resource for entrepreneurs: www.entrepreneurship.org.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Thom was the founding chief marketing officer for JumpStart, a nonprofit economic development organization and seed stage investment fund created to invest in and accelerate the growth of high-potential, early stage companies. Before JumpStart, Ruhe served as president of Optiem LLC, where he led the growth of a nascent marketing practice to a nationally recognized interactive marketing, communications and public relations agency. Earlier in his career, he held positions in technology integration, marketing, finance, sales, and management. His experience spans founding several entrepreneurial endeavors as well as working with Fortune 500 companies.
Thom is a 1988 U.S. Air Force ROTC graduate of Bowling Green State University with a degree in management information systems, and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Plant A Fish Foundation.