When Rebecca Yoshikane and Wyatt Tinder approached the 2015-16 UWM Student Startup Challenge, they had a problem: too many ideas.
The annual challenge accepts proposals from students and recent alumni in the categories of social entrepreneurship, hardware, and software and apps. Winners selected by a panel of judges get the opportunity to develop their idea for 12 months with funding and business mentorship from local entrepreneurs and business leaders. The 2016-17 edition of the challenge kicks off in August.
Yoshikane and Tinder were encouraged to team up on a project by Nathaniel Stern, a Peck School of the Arts associate professor who co-founded the challenge. So, after a two-hour brainstorming session, they whittled their options down to five workable ideas, including collapsible worktables and windowsill herb gardens for urban apartment dwellers. But it was their Wisconsin-centric idea that ultimately became one of the challenge’s nine winners. An automated cheesemaker.
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