Explore, Discover, Experiment.
The Startup Challenge team offers weekly office hours, “pop-up” classes promoting individualized learning, and monthly “booster” sessions, where program participants learn the tools and strategies essential to launching new ventures – and useful in any job. Our three phases – explore, discover, experiment – see student entrepreneurs partner with mentors, professors, classes, Milwaukee community members, and other students in researching, developing, prototyping, financial and sustainability modeling, marketing and design, and more.
Individual students and teams that are actively involved in the Startup Challenge will also have the opportunity to apply for a growing list of on- and off-campus resources, including class-based student prototyping teams, University facilities, printing and fabrication services, federal grants, extra-curricular workshops, and internal financial support.
Who Can Apply?
The Startup Challenge is open to all current UWM students in all schools and colleges, as well as recent UWM alumni. We also welcome non-UWM community members to join us in actively participating in our pop-ups, boosters, and workshops. Students can apply as a team, or alone. Teams are encouraged but not required, and often develop over the course of the program. Our startups range from engineered products, computer hardware and software, camping gear, media platforms, job boards, or biomedical projects, to food trucks, art galleries, non-profits, and social ventures. All ideas are welcome and encouraged.
Learn how to turn your ideas into reality. Students and teams come to us at different stages of their idea and move at different speeds. Throughout our yearlong program, we propel your venture forward whether that’s through design thinking, customer discovery, prototype development, or launching business out into its day-to-day activities.
Grow professional skills that benefit your career, whether as an entrepreneur, and/or in a company. We want to see our students succeed wherever their next step may be. The Startup Challenge has you learn by doing, practice techniques, skills, and strategies that don’t typically come up in the classroom.
Broaden your network. Our entrepreneurs have opportunities to interact with esteemed UWM professors and staff, as well as work with Milwaukee business professionals.
Commitment & Timeline
Our community is the most important part of our program and we can’t wait to grow the network. You are expected to attend “Booster” sessions, where you will learn entrepreneurial skills and progress your idea, one Saturday morning a month November – May. You will also want to participate in the community and get the other resources provided by our program, including office hours and topical “Pop Ups” (workshops) hosted at noon on Wednesdays, and LEC talks that will leave you inspired.
Confidentiality & Intellectual Property Protection
At the Lubar Entrepeneurship Center (LEC), students own everything they do and make! That said, the Startup Challenge is designed to foster better decision-making, by involving a variety of players. Initial submissions can be treated as confidential upon request; however, the LEC reserves the right to share a non-confidential summary of all ideas as part of our public profile. Intellectual Property remains the property of the disclosing party unless otherwise agreed to separately.