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.

  • Digital Marketing Tools for Entrepreneurs: November 27, 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.
  • Motivation: Even When the Critics Get You Down: December 3, 4 to 5:00 p.m. - The goal of this workshop is to teach strategies to keep you motivated as a business owner as well as to keep your team engaged.  You’ll also learn valuable goal setting tools that every small business owner, in any stage of the business life cycle, needs to keep them motivated to do more and maintain the success of their business.  Guest speaker: Karen Smoots, inventor and entrepreneur
  • Basics of Startup Financials: January 7, 5 to 6:00 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.  Guest speaker: Dr. Matt Ross, assistant professor of finance, Western Michigan University
  • Networking 101 Workshop: January 14, 4 to 5:00 p.m.  It's 5 p.m. somewhere and the people you meet at after hours events may be the people that take you to that next step forward in your career or introduce you to that "hard to gain access to" connection.  Learn networking tips and tricks from Kalamazoo's mistress of ceremonies.  Guest speaker: Janis Clark, community connector
  • Everyone Needs to be a Rockstar Salesperson: January 28, 5 to 6:00 p.m.  From identifying potential customers to selling a project to your supervisor, learn some "impactful" takeaways for selling.  Some key topics that will be discussed are negotiation, sales time management, and how analytics is a key to success.  Guest speaker: Chuck Loparo, National Sales Manager at Midwest Tool & Cutlery Co.
  • What Makes a Great Pitch Presentation: February 4, 4 to 5:00 p.m.  Learn what it takes to present effectively whether it's a 30 second elevator pitch, a 3 minute competition pitch or a 10 minute investor pitch.  This workshop will explain what to include to come across clearly and make your presentation memorable.  Guest speaker:  John Hoinville, Alfa Jango
  • Pitching to Angels Workshop: February 11, 4 to 5:00 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. Guest speaker:  Pat Morand, Open Prairies Ventures
  • Using Improv Techniques in Your Pitch:  February 18, 5 to 6:00 p.m.  This workshop will demonstrate some simple tools to help you present with confidence.  Using improvisation techniques, you will be able to better read the moment and respond accordingly.  Don't just deliver a finely crafted speech, speak from your passion and compel interest.  Guest speaker: Dann Sytsma
  • WMU Pitch Competition: February 15 - WMU students compete for over $5000 in prizes. Location- WMU Haworth College of Business
  • Demo Day: March 18, 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