Student Startup Challenge gets down to business

One romantic couple wanted the “Game of Thrones” theme playing softly as they went down the aisle. Jared Judge and Amanda Brittain, UWM graduate students in music, made it happen.

Their new business, Dream City Music, connects wedding and event planners with independent musicians, who are primarily UWM students and alumni. Their repertoire includes classical, bluegrass, country, jazz, show tunes and movie/TV themes. Their website helps clients choose music that fits the couple’s budget while streamlining processes such as setting up contracts.

Dream City Music is one of many startup businesses founded by UWM students, so the five-month-old company is a natural fit for UWM’s 2016 Student Startup Challenge. Judge and Brittain are vying to be one of the challenge’s 10 finalists. If chosen, they’ll spend two semesters developing prototypes and business models with the close support and mentorship of UWM faculty and the Lubar Center for Entrepreneurship. They would also have access to a pool of $5,000 for business and travel expenses during the first semester.

The deadline to apply to the challenge is Wednesday, Nov. 9. The contest is open to current UWM students in all schools and colleges, and is also open to UWM alumni who have graduated within the last two years. Startups at all stages of development will be considered.

Since beginning Dream City Music, Judge and Brittain have marketed their service and arranged performances at bridal showers. They’ve also collaborated with a journalism, advertising and media studies course on their marketing.

James Van Eerden, a junior in the geosciences department, has also applied for the challenge. He is developing a drip tip to reduce waste from gas pump nozzles. If chosen as a finalist, he hopes to turn his invention into a business.

Here’s a sample of the music Dream City can provide

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