An exciting seed capital opportunity for UWM student entrepreneurs!

Grow your start-up or early stage business venture. You’ve not only got a business idea, but you’ve developed a solid business plan to back it up and are ready to launch.  The Scheinfeld Awards encourage student entrepreneurship, helping launch new Wisconsin ventures and take new ideas to market.

Through the James D. Scheinfeld Entrepreneurial Awards Competition, you have the opportunity to convince a panel of venture capitalists, business executives, and educators that your business plan is not only viable, but worth funding.

Each spring semester, up to three awards in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 are made to promising ventures.

The Scheinfeld Entrepreneurial Awards Competition is open to current undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Consistent with the donor’s wishes, all venture teams must include at least one Lubar School of Business student. For the purposes of the awards, a current student is defined as one who is enrolled in good standing in undergraduate or graduate courses at UWM during the current academic year.

Awards from the Fund will be based on the following criteria: (a) business viability of the start-up venture; (b) scalability and potential for growth and job creation; (c) ability of the venture to attract other sources of financing (from team members themselves, family friends, banks, angel investors etc.); and (d) launch readiness.

The competition timeline runs from early May through early June. Submission deadlines will be added below as they become available.

Interested individuals must first complete and submit the Intent to Compete Form in early May (2022 date tbd).

All venture teams entering the competition are required to submit a comprehensive business plan in late May (2022 date tbd) and if selected, make an oral presentation of the business plan to the Entrepreneurial Awards Committee.

Business plans should be submitted directly to Debbie Roy and should be a maximum of 30 pages in length. Up to 20 additional pages of appendices may be included. Included in the appendices should be a minimum of three years of financials, reported by month and by year.

A cover letter, that includes the following information, should accompany the business plan submission:

  • An executive summary of your business.
  • Team captain’s name, email address, home address, phone number, year in school, and major
  • Same information as above for all other team members (Remember your team must include at least one current student from the Lubar School of Business)

The Entrepreneurial Awards Committee will review each business plan submitted and then select those individuals/teams who will be invited to orally present their plan. All oral presentations are limited to 10 minutes, followed by 10 minutes of Q&A by the Entrepreneurial Awards Committee.

Although used in the context of other competitions, the following informational sources may be helpful in developing a business plan:

A maximum of three awards will be made in each year, ranging from $5,000 to $15,000. An award above this range may be made in the case of exceptionally promising ventures. It is also possible that no awards may be made in a given funding cycle if the submitted applications are assessed to be not a strong fit with the Fund’s selection criteria.

The James D. Scheinfeld Entrepreneurial Awards are generally made in one of two formats:

  • “Honor loans” to be repaid to the Fund if and when recipients are financially able to do so, to enable the Fund to make similar awards to future generations of student entrepreneurs; or
  • With consent of the UWM Foundation, the awards may also take the form of equity participation in student ventures (e.g. stock or stock warrants).

Entrepreneurial Awards Committee

The Entrepreneurial Awards Committee is made up of Lubar School and UWM faculty with expertise in entrepreneurship, and members of Milwaukee’s entrepreneurial community.


About James D. Scheinfeld

James D. Scheinfeld’s legacy included a noteworthy entrepreneurial career and a personal commitment to civic involvement. As the son of Manpower’s founder, Mr. Scheinfeld was part of the company from its inception until it was sold with annual revenues exceeding $1 billion.

He went on to form his own successful companies, including Aide Services Inc., Travway International, Funway Holidays/Funjet, and Travelpower Inc.

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