Events

All events are held at the Western Michigan University Starting Gate facility in downtown Kalamazoo (161 E. Michigan Ave. 4th floor of the Haymarket Building). Contact Lara Hobson to register. Workshops are free to WMU students.  All others, please bring payment of $35 per workshop (cash or check).

Please note that the time for the Jan. 27 Customer Discover Workshop event has changed.

  • Customer Discovery Workshop: Jan. 27, 3:30 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; Guest speaker; Bob Armbrister, executive director of administration-information technology and services, and entrepreneur.
  • Business Model Canvas workshop: Jan. 27, 4:30 to 5:30 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’ full scope, while the layout encourages thought about how the pieces fit together. The Business Model Canvas is simple enough to sketch on paper and powerful enough to refocus the way you view your business; Guest speaker; Sandra Cochrane, Small Business Development Center
  • Legal Issues for Startups workshop: Feb. 3, 3 to 4 p.m.— As a startup company you'll be faced with many legal questions.  This workshop will guide you through the issues of patent and trademark registration, partnership agreements and other trending topics on how to protect your intellectual property; Guest speaker; Dr. Clark Bennett, interim director, intellectual property management and commercialization, Western Michigan University
  • Digital Marketing for Startups Workshop: Feb. 10, 4 to 5 p.m.— In this workshop you'll learn marketing and branding strategies using the latest in digital technology. You'll learn more about the framework of how to plan digital marketing and tips/tricks for executing on a limited budget;  Guest speaker, Kevin Sidell, senior manager, digital strategy, Kellogg Company
  • Networking Workshop: Feb. 17, 4 to 5 p.m.—It's 5:00 somewhere and the people you meet at "after hours" may be the people that take you to that next step forward in your career. Learn networking tips and tricks from Kalamazoo's mistress of ceremonies. Guest speaker; Janis Clark, director of business engagement,Western Michigan University
  • Entrepreneurial Business Research Workshop: Feb. 24, 3:30 to 5 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. Guest speaker; LuMarie Guth, business librarian, Western Michigan University Waldo Library
  • Demo Day: March 24, 3:30-5 p.m.—Prototypes and business concepts from the student teams will be demonstrated to members of the University and business communities.
  • PITCH Competition: March 27, 3-5:30 p.m. & March 28, 10 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.(finalists)—Western Michigan Students will compete for up to $3500 in prizes for a successful 3 minute business pitch.  Applications due online by March 20 at midnight.
  • Financial Forecasting Workshop: March 31, 5 to 6 p.m.—Learn the fundamentals of where to go for your funding needs and what financial institutions and investors look for in financial projections. Guest speaker; Kenny Leonard, vice president commercial loan services, Educational Community Credit Union
  • Website Development Workshop: April 7, 5 to 6 p.m. This workshop will help those attending gain insight on what the website development process looks like and how to hire a developer for your startup.  Some basic tools for developing your own website will also be discussed. Guest speaker; Addison Webb, software engineer, Maestro
  • Investor Day: April 17, 3:00 to 4:30 p.m.—Student entrepreneurs will make formal presentations about their businesses to members of the investor community to receive feedback and, possibly, future funding.
  • Art Hop: May 1, 5 to 8 p.m.— Starting Gate will be hosting various works of art from Western Michigan University student artists.
  • Summer program applications due: May 1
  • Summer program: May 11, 2015 through Aug. 18, 2015