Competitions and Programs

Get more out of college than a degree. Competitions provide hands-training in everything from critical thinking to elevator pitching. You may even walk away with significant seed funding.

Fresh Ideas Campaign

A program that has engaging sessions hosted and facilitated by students, faculty, business leaders, and entrepreneurs. An introduction to the exciting realm of entrepreneurship, innovation, and design thinking. Explore the process and experience firsthand challenging activities to help you think differently. Come away with not only knowledge and connection to resources at UWM but also practice a new mindset.

Contact: Nicole Green
: ndgreen@uwmfdn.org

CEO’s Elevator Pitch Competition

The competition gives participants two minutes to convey the value of their business venture to a panel of judges. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places will receive a monetary prize. Don’t have an idea to pitch this time? No problem, spectators are welcome..

Contact: Hannah Garsombke
: uwm-ceo@uwm.edu
: Website
Date of Competition: September 26, 2017

New Venture Business Plan

Through the La Macchia New Venture Business Plan Competition all UWM students, as well as recent alumni, have the opportunity to earn significant cash prizes and learn how to develop, write and present an effective business plan to potential investors.

Contact: Debbie Roy
: royd@uwm.edu
: Website
Deadline to submit Idea Abstract: November 20, 2017

UWM Student Startup Challenge

The Student Startup Challenge (SSC) turns student ideas into reality. The SSC fosters UWM’s culture of innovation and entrepreneurial thinking through creativity and deadline-orientated projects. Students and recent alums are given time and space to shape their ideas, take risks, develop networks and tell their stories to a broader community. The SSC bridges the gap between that first passionate idea and its realization. Learn more. Take a look at recent startups here.

Contact: Nicole Green
: ndgreen@uwmfdn.org
Deadline to apply: October 31, 2017
To apply: Apply Here!

James D. Scheinfeld Entrepreneurial Awards Competition

The James D. Scheinfeld Entrepreneurial Awards Competition encourages students to take new ideas to market by awarding seed capital to the top three entries. Applying teams must include a least one member who is a current student or recent grad in business.

Contact: Debbie Roy
: royd@uwm.edu
: Website
Deadline to apply: May 9, 2018

Business School Entrepreneurial Programs

From professional student orgs to specialty internships, the Lubar School offers many doors to enter into the campus startup culture. Through the interdisciplinary Bostrom Center for Business Competitiveness, Innovation and Entrepreneurship faculty, doctoral students, and area corporations advance topics of business competitiveness and innovation, including the La Macchia Enterprises Entrepreneur Internship Program.

Contact: Kanti Prasad
: vkp@uwm.edu
There are more than 15 business student orgs. For the list, go to http://uwm.edu/business/academics/student-organizations/

Ideas Challenge Programs

University Innovation Fellows The fellows are student “change agents,” who lead the UWM student community with activities designed to hone creative thinking and link them to campus resources. UI Fellows at UWM are trained through a national program at Stanford University.

Contact: Ilya Avdeev
: avdeev@uwm.edu
: Website
Tech Transfer Internship Employed by the UWM Research Foundation, the intern supports a continuum of intellectual property management activities and student entrepreneurial endeavors.

: Check here for openings.
Contact: Jessica Silvaggi
: jsilvaggi@uwmfdn.org
: Website
App Brewery This group of UWM students develop mobile applications for non-profits, student entrepreneurs and other organizations.

Contact: Dustin Hahn
: hahndj@uwm.edu
: Website
Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization Hosted by the Lubar School of Business, CEO is open to students in any discipline. Students also have an opportunity to attend CEO National Conference in Chicago and participate in an annual Elevator Pitch Competition.

Contact: Hannah Garsombke
: uwm-ceo@uwm.edu
: Website
More Wisconsin Partners & Resources List of off-campus resources.

“The guidance I received from the UWMRF and Student Startup Challenge mentors was invaluable to my success. I found out exactly what our customers needed and was able to create a successful and streamlined way to book and pay local musicians.” -Jared Judge

Jared Judge Jared Judge successfully created his startup BookLive, LLC., to connect local musicians, artists, UWM students, and alumni with local event and wedding planners. The innovative new booking platform uses a self-designed program that is uniquely based on the principles of orchestral conducting, as Judge is currently a graduate student pursing a degree of orchestral conducting at UWM.  

“The opportunities to work with a mentor, pitch an idea in front of people, and refine that idea are the top three things I got out of participating in the competition. I highly recommend it.” -Derek Urben

Derek Urben Derek Urben learned about UWM’s entrepreneurial culture after attending a meeting of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization. The freshman then entered the New Ventures Business Plan Competition, and won first prize for Coinigy, a digital currency startup he is involved in.

“I would not have found my partner, Lu Han, if it hadn’t been for the publicity from the Student Startup Challenge. With his connections and the networking we’ve gained from participating, Tech Goggles is moving forward as a viable product.” -Erika Pliner

Erika Pliner Engineering alumna Erika Pliner took an idea she had as a competitive swimmer and turned it into a product that fills a void in the marketplace. Along the way, students in a course provided research in customer discovery for her “Tech Goggles.”

“I wouldn’t have approached an outside mentor without the Student Startup Challenge. They coached me on how to introduce myself to someone and what questions to ask that would give me the information I needed.” -Alexis Nash

Alexis Nash Alexis Nash is interested in helping people achieve economic independence. That led the master’s student in Human Resources and Labor Relations to create Popspace, a web-based marketplace for affordable temporary retail and event space.