Events

All events are held at the Western Michigan University Starting Gate facility in downtown Kalamazoo (510 E. Butler Ct. Kalamazoo, MI 49007 at the  corner of E. Ransom and Walbridge). Contact Lara Hobson to register. 

  • Business Planning: May 16, 3 to 4:30 p.m.— This workshop will start with the basics of writing the key components of a meaningful business plan including the business description, legal structure and market analysis. Free to WMU and KVCC students, all others $35. Guest speaker: John Schmitt, Small Business Development Center
  • Customer Discovery Workshop: May 23, 3 to 4:30 p.m.— This workshop will show how to quickly get feedback on an idea without spending a lot of time or money. The participants will also learn how to find talent to help them execute their idea and stay lean. How to create specification documents and manage a team to execute them will also be discussed. Free to WMU and KVCC students, all others $35. Guest speaker: Bob Armbrister, WMU executive director of administration-information technology and services, and entrepreneur.
  • Entrepreneurial Business Research Workshop: June 6, 3 to 4:30 p.m.—This workshop will encourage awareness of information resources available to Western Michigan University students developing business ideas, including business plans, funding sources, and company, industry and market research.  Free to all WMU students, all others $35.  Guest speaker: LuMarie Guth, business librarian, Western Michigan University Waldo Library.
  • Business Model Canvas/Value Proposition Design Workshop: June 7, 3 to 4:30 p.m.—The Business Model Canvas is a strategic management and entrepreneurial tool.  It allows you to describe, design, challenge, invent and pivot your business model.  It is a simple graphical template describing nine essential components: customer segments, value propositions, channels, customer relationships, revenue streams, resources, activities, partnerships and costs.  The individual elements prompt consideration of a business's full scope, while the layout encourages thought about how the pieces fit together.  Learn how to create products and services that customers want.  Free to WMU and KVCC students, all others $35.  Guest speaker: Sandra Cochrane, Small Business Development Center.
  • Marketing & Social Media Workshop: June 20, 3 to 4:30 p.m.—This workshop will provide strategic marketing guidance and help participants create profitable, market-leading brands.  The speaker will also provide information on effective social media marketing tools for new.  Free to WMU and KVCC students, all others $35. Guest speaker: Karen Buczek, marketing and branding consultant, BrandThink.
  • Communications Workshop: June 27, 3 to 4:30 p.m.—This workshop will go through the basics of communication topics pertaining to marketing materials, business plans, writing to mentors/leads/investors along with how to effectively communicate a 3-minute elevator pitch and a 10-minute Demo Day presentation.  Free to WMU and KVCC students, all others $35.  Guest speaker, Jo Wiley, Haworth College of Business Communication Center Director.
  • Intellectual Property (IP) Issues for Startups Workshop: July 18, 3 to 4:30 p.m.—Learn how patenting works and the costs associated with them. You'll also learn how patenting of WMU inventions work along with how copyrights are obtained and the cost associated with these. Free to WMU and KVCC students; all others $35. Guest speaker: Clark Bennett, Interim Director, IP Management and Commercialization, Office of the Vice President for Research, Western Michigan University. 
  • Basics of Startup Financials Workshop: July 25, 3 to 4:30 p.m.—This workshop will give participants the basic framework for running the financial numbers for their startups.  It will also go into identifying costs and areas for additional investigation.  Free to WMU and KVCC students; all others $35.  Guest speaker: Matt Ross, assistant professor of Finance, Western Michigan University.
  • Pitching to Angels Workshop: August 1, 3 to 4:30 p.m.—This is a dialog-centric block of time during which the participants will be introduced to the intricacies of a variety of capital investment structures and their related terms and conditions. In addition, the participants will be presented with how networking becomes a way of life that advances both professional and personal objectives while actually building communities of interest. Free to WMU and KVCC students; all others $35. Guest speaker: Pat Morand, president, Open Prairie Ventures.
  • Demo Day: August 15, 4 to 5:30 p.m.—Student entrepreneurs will make formal presentations about their businesses to members of the investor community to receive feedback and, possibly, future funding.
    Location: 2150 Schneider Hall—Dean's Conference Room, 1st floor
  • Fall/Spring Program Applications Due: September 25 by midnight
  • Fall/Spring Program: October 3, 2016 to April 15, 2017