Explore, Develop, Build, Pitch.
The Startup Challenge is the longest running Lubar Entrepreneurship Center program with over 250 participants so far. This co-curricular program encourages students to research and develop their ideas, prototype products, services, or social ventures, launch new businesses, and gain the skills that come from entrepreneurial experience.
This year’s Challenge will focus on these special elements: Explore design thinking, Develop potential customers and what they value, Build experiments and prototypes, and Pitch your ideas to the public.
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. We help propel your venture forward by leading workshops with topics including design thinking, customer discovery, prototype development, and business basics.
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.
Get connected to campus resources. Participants can 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, and extra-curricular workshops..
Broaden your network. Our best asset to the program is YOU, the people and community around it. Throughout the program, participants interact with esteemed UWM professors and staff, mentors, and Milwaukee business professionals.
Who Can Register?
The Startup Challenge is open to all current UWM students in all schools and colleges, recent UWM alumni, and non-UWM community members. Teams are encouraged, individuals are welcomed but everyone is required to register for each Sprint. Past participants have ranged from engineered products, computer hardware and software, biomedical projects, food trucks, non-profits, social ventures, and more. All ideas are welcome and encouraged.
Students are welcome to join the Challenge at any time! Register for the Spring sessions separately, participating in as few or as many fit your schedule and needs. Depending on where you are with your idea, we can also help you decide where you will gain the most from our year-long programming.
Commitment & Timeline
Students are welcome to join the Challenge at any time! Depending on where you are with your idea, we can also help you decide where you will gain the most from our year-long programming. The Startup Challenge structure consists of booster sessions (large workshop) LEC Brown Bags (more or less office hours and community building), or LEC Hosted Brown Bags (specific conversation topics with special guests).
Confidentiality & Intellectual Property Protection
At the Lubar Entrepreneurship 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.