Virtual Fall 2020 At a Glance

Fall 2020 was a bit different from past fall semesters but one thing didn’t change – the Lubar Entrepreneurship Center was buzzing with action, making connections, and providing programming. Read on to get a glance of what happened (virtually) at the Lubar Entrepreneurship Center this fall!

National Science Foundation I-CorpsTM Site Program

The Milwaukee I-Corps Program offers researchers and academic entrepreneurs opportunity to explore the market viability of their discoveries and technologies through direct engagement with their potential markets.

  • 17th Cohort
  • 2nd Virtual Cohort
  • 10 Teams completed, 48 participants
  • Together with 136 previous teams, over 5,000 customer discovery interviews.
  • Teams explored the viability of a broad range of technologies, from biofilm sensing technology and composting to long distant physician care.

LEC Curriculum Innovation Grant Program

This new grant program supports faculty and instructors interested in integrating design- and entrepreneurial thinking into their courses or developing new courses focused on innovation. One of the program’s goals is to expand the umbrella of Ideas Challenge Courses in order to expose more UWM students to innovation and entrepreneurship.

  • 23 grants awarded supporting 29 faculty and academic staff
  • Grants awarded include monetary support for award participants, course support and professional development opportunities – such as Teaching Learning Studio at Stanford d.school, and academic innovation conferences like the VentureWell Open and KEEN conferences.

Pop Ups

Pop-Ups are collaborative and engaging workshops led by students, faculty, business leaders, and entrepreneurs. Pop Ups also aim to foster community within UWM and engage the Milwaukee innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.

  • 53 Pop Ups held virtually – reaching 3505 participants

Some highlights include:

  • Empathy interviews in Computer Science for Dr. Christine Cheng’s class
  • Storytelling & pitching with Design Visual Communications students, led by Kim Beckmann and Coe Douglas
  • Sustainability hack-a-thon in the Mechanical Engineering course Product Realization (ME-405) with Dr. Ilya Avdeev and Dr. Alex Francis

Startup Challenge

The UWM Startup Challenge is a co-curricular program that fosters an innovative and entrepreneurial culture at UWM by encouraging 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.

  • 9th year of program
  • 42 teams
  • 56 participants – learned about customer discovery and the Business Model Canvas

Some of the projects students explored this semester were:

  • A subscription box for people with diabetes
  • Development on a Pop Up Shoe retail line
  • AI program that automatically merge’s IRS and Department of Education data to find and enroll students in financial aid

Diverse Ideas

Innovation talk series that is always co-hosted with a UWM multicultural or resource office to spotlight diverse entrepreneurs and innovators from a particular community. Conversations are facilitated by a student and offer an open forum for questions about innovation, leadership and past projects.

  • 3 virtual events

This Fall featured:

  • Citali Ramos (Roberto Hernandez Center cohosted with LEC)
  • Angelique Sharpe (Black Student Cultural Center cohosted with LEC)
  • Jason Anderson (Accessibility Resource Center cohosted with LEC)

Social Good Morning

Social Good Morning (SGM) is a one-hour intimate discussion with a local social innovator led by Entrepreneur in Residence for Social Innovation, Mark Fairbanks. Interested parties are invited to meet with like-minded people to ask questions, network, and be inspired.

  • 4 talks (virtual)

Featured speakers include:

  • Ken Leinbach
  • Tim Ehlinger and Laura Hermanns from UWM Institute of Sustainable Peacebuilding
  • Sharlen Moore

The December SGM highlighted four student stories from the South East Asian American Student Centers that portrayed strength, grit and inspiration.

Well Entrepreneur – Community Conversations

WELL Entrepreneur Community Conversations is an interactive, virtual talk series exploring the intersections of well-being and entrepreneurship, led by Amelia Coffaro. This program launched this fall.

  • 4 events held virtually

Participants of the events heard from:

  • Melanie Manuel (Founder and Owner of Celesta Restaurant)
  • Venice Williams (Executive Director of Alice’s Garden)
  • Hope Glassel, student photographer

Piloted Events – Fall 2020:

  • Moon Shot Pitch Competition: Over 20 students gave their business pitch to participants and judges of the competition. The Lubar Entrepreneurship Center co-hosted this event with the UWM Black Student Cultural Center (B.S.C.C.) and Young Enterprising Society (Y.E.S), and Northwestern Mutual sponsored the event.
  • Systems Thinking Pop Up: Institute for Systems Change and Peacebuilding cohosted a pop up around Systems Thinking with the Lubar Entrepreneurship Center. Participants learned about Systems Thinking and how bias influences the exploration of solutions to problems.
  • Faculty Lab Workshop Series: In this six-part series of pilot workshops, faculty and academic staff experimented with ideas of integrating creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurial thinking into their courses.
  • Your Story: Southeast Asian American Student Center and the Lubar Entrepreneurship Center piloted a storytelling program to bring authentic and inspiring student led stories. Students RJ, Hannah, Chinou, and Lindsey presented their stories at the December Social Good Morning.
  • Space Tech MKE: Lubar Entrepreneurship Center and UWM Planetarium partnered to bring a one-hour event to highlight UWM researchers’ innovation contributing to space technology. Speakers feature were Dr. Rani Elhajjar and Dr. Nathan Salowitz.
  • Director’s Cut: The Lubar Entrepreneurship Center, the Lubar School of Business, and the UWM Alumni Association invited Mike Anderes (President at Inception Health and Chief Innovation and Digital Officer for Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin (F&MCW) to speak about his experiences working in healthcare.