All events are held at the Western Michigan University Starting Gate facility in downtown Kalamazoo - Park Trades Center (326 W. Kalamazoo Ave.  Suite #321. Kalamazoo, 49007). Contact Lara Hobson to register.  RSVP is required.

  • Business Planning Basics Workshop: October 7, 4 to 5:00 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.  Homework for the Advanced Session will be assigned.  Guest speaker: George Joshua, founder of Turtle Jump Technologies and Starting Gate Entrepreneur in Residence
  • Business Planning Advanced Workshop: October 14, 4 to 5:00 p.m. - This is a continuation of the Business Planning Basics workshop digging deeper into the financial analysis and management and operations of the business plan.  Guest speaker: Lincoln Crocker, Small Business Development Center
  • Customer Discovery Workshop: October 15, 4 to 5:00 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, president, Spark Business Works
  • Intellectual Property for Startups Workshop: October 21, 4 to 5:00 p.m.  Learning how the patenting process works and the costs associated with them.  You'll also learn about trademarking along with how copyrights are obtained and the cost associated with these.  Licensing issues that startups face along with information on various business agreements will also be discussed, bring your questions.  Guest speaker: James Leonard, attorney at Honigman Law
  • Business Model Canvas Workshop: October 28, 4 to 5:00 p.m.  The Business Model Canvas is a strategic management and entrepreneurial tool.  It allows you to describe, design, challenge, invite 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.  Learn how to create products and services that customers want.  Guest speaker: Lara Hobson, WMU Starting Gate Operations Director
  • Insurance and Liability Basics Workshop: November 4, 4 to 5:00 p.m.  Learn how to determine what type of insurance your startup needs (general liability, professional liability, workers comp, etc.).  Comparing coverage options and saving money on your policy will also be discussed.  Bring your questions.  Guest speaker:  Carl Holmgren, Investment Advisor, Primerica
  • Business Research Workshop: November 11, 4 to 5:00 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
  • Digital Marketing Tools for Entrepreneurs: November 19, 4 to 5:00 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 business owners. Guest speaker: Dr. Scott Cowley, assistant professor of marketing, Western Michigan University.
  • Startup Fundamentals - An Insider Perspective Workshop:  November 25, 4 to 5:00 p.m. Hear what it takes to launch a startup from the ground up from an entrepreneur who has tons of experience with fundraising, pitching to venture capitalists, marketing, legal issues, and much more.  Guest speaker: Tom Coke, Chief Revenue Officer, Bitlyft
  • In Search of Greatness Movie and Discussion:  December 2, 4 to 5:30 p.m.  From award-winning filmmaker Gabe Polsky, this groundbreaking feature documentary includes original interviews with Wayne Gretzky, Pele and Jerry Rice, and features Muhammad Ali, Einstein, David Bowie, Serena Williams, Michael Jordan and others.  The movie will inspire motivation and imagination to help entrepreneurs explore the origins of excellence.
  • WMU Pitch Competition: February, 2020 - WMU students compete for over $5000 in prizes. Location- WMU Haworth College of Business
  • Demo Day: March 16, 2020, 3:30-5:30 p.m.—Student entrepreneurs in the 6-month long Starting Gate program will make formal presentations about their businesses to members of the investor community to receive feedback and, possibly, future funding.  Location- WMU Haworth College of Business