The Student Startup Challenge is a unique co-curricular program that creates an entrepreneurial culture at UWM by encouraging students to develop their ideas, launch businesses, and gain unique skills that come from the entrepreneurial experience.

Explore, Discover, Experiment.

Three phases pair student entrepreneurs with existing classes and student teams to create prototypes and business plans to ultimately market ideas. Students and teams that are actively involved in the SSC process are also able to receive funding support from a pool of $25,000 based on funding requests and approval*.

Who Can Apply?

Student Startup Challenge is open to all current UWM students in all schools and colleges as well as UWM alumni who have graduated within the last two years. Students do not need to be engineering or business students to apply – ideas are sought from all disciplines.

Program Outcomes

Teams become closer to making their ideas reality: We realize that startups develop at different stages. Throughout the duration of the program, we would like to propel your idea forward whether that’s developing a prototyping or incorporating a business.

Growing professional skills that will benefit startups and/or within a company: We want to see our students succeed wherever their next step may be. The Student Startup Challenge practices skills that don’t typically come up in the classroom.

Broaden network: Teams will have countless opportunities to interact with esteemed UWM professors and staff as well as work with Milwaukee business professionals.

Confidentiality & Intellectual Property Protection

Student 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 project sponsors reserve the right to share a non-confidential summary of all ideas. Intellectual Property remains the property of the disclosing party unless otherwise agreed separately.

Teaching Team & Advisors

profile photoAvdeev, IlyaAssociate Professor / Director of InnovationMechanical Engineering / Lubar Entrepreneurship Center(414) 229-6949avdeev@uwm.eduEng & Math Sciences 975

Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering 
Director of Innovation,

profile photoFairbanks, MarkLubar Entrepreneurship Center

Entrepreneur-In-Residence of Social Innovation

profile photoHorinek, Madeline (MJ)Innovation

University Innovation Fellow, UWM
Innovation Intern, LEC

profile photoPeterson, LorenEntrepreneurial AdvisorEAS-MKE,

Entrepreneurial Advisor, EAS-MKE, LLC

profile photoPowley, NicoleProgram CoordinatorLubar Entrepreneurship Center(414) 906-4684nicole@uwmrf.orgLubar Entrepreneurship Center 203

Program Manager, LEC

profile photoStern, NathanielAssociate Professor // DirectorPSOA Art & Design // Student Startup Challenge(414) 229-6054sternn@uwm.eduArt Building 251

Professor, Art and Design (50%)

Professor, Mechanical Engineering (50%)
Director, UWM Startup Challenge
profile photoThompson, BrianPresident / DirectorUWMRF / LEC(414) 906-4653briant@uwmrf.orgCambridge Commons

President, UWMRF

student enterprises in seven years

ideas proposed

student interactions

faculty-led courses