UW-Whitewater’s Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) and Launch Pad Program provide a continuum of business development for student startups, enhancing the university’s entrepreneurship curriculum with real-world application opportunities. Entrepreneurially-inclined students of any major are encouraged to join the UW-W CEO Chapter and apply for the Launch Pad student accelerator.
The University of Wisconsin- Whitewater CEO Chapter is a student-run organization on a mission “to inform, support, and inspire college students to be entrepreneurial and to seek opportunity through enterprise creation.” Participating students are linked to the global CEO network, gain valuable experience about what it takes to establish a startup, and learn from company founders and entrepreneurial leaders.
At the Fall 2016 Innovators’ Showcase, Luke Olson, president of the UW-Whitewater chapter of CEO, explained how the organization supports their members’ business aspirations. The annual spring Warhawk Business Plan Competition, open to students of all majors, awards finalists with up to $2,500 dollars to pursue their business ideas. The annual fall Warhawk Elevator Pitch Competition propels students to develop a well-organized presentation on their creative business concept and offers the winner the opportunity to present at the CEO National Conference.
The Fall 2016 Warhawk Elevator Pitch Competition finalists include:
rate the student
LED EZ offers LED lighting kits designed to bring style and safety to snowboards, long boards, skateboards, and bikes. Rate the Student simplifies the hiring process with a website platform that connects employers to students and their references in real-time. Social River connects startups needing social media content to students that can provide it. Kristen Holtan and Sam Lepak both participated in the CEO National Competition and benefited from guidance from CEO and Launch Pad.
CEO prepares students for Launch Pad, the student startup accelerator. Launch Pad is on a mission “to educate, inspire, and accelerate entrepreneurial growth for University of Wisconsin-Whitewater students.” Students may apply to the program to receive: access to resources, support on the development of their business model and/or business plan, preparation for the business pitch and business plan competition, access to meeting rooms and office space at the Whitewater Innovation Center, and expert coaching and mentorship through weekly training and roundtables.
Co-founders, William Dougan and David Gee, presented Launch Pads’ recent accomplishments at the Fall 2016 Innovators’ Showcase. In 2016, there were 74+ coaching sessions, 19 training sessions, 14 Launch Pad Scholars supported for competitions, and 5 independent studies. UW-Whitewater’s Computer Science department assisted in the development of software for four of the startups: Rate the Student, Social Scholars, Latino Pro, and Care Teammate.
CEO and Launch Pad supported many student startups over the years and helped students transform their dreams into their livelihood. Scanalytics Inc., MobCraft Beer, Hunt Butler, Candid Brilliance Music, HUKTV Mounts, and Infrastructure Inspectors are just a few of the successful startups that benefited from the Launch Pad program.
With a new semester starting, students are welcome to attend CEO’s weekly meetings to learn more and to apply to Launch Pad to refine and promote their business idea.