Entrepreneur Fest aims to open doors for students

Opportunities abound for students during October's Entrepreneur FestThey say luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.  If that’s the case, then the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship wants to make October your lucky month.

University of Washington students of any discipline can attend Entrepreneur Fest beginning Tuesday, October 4.  A dozen events are planned across campus and downtown Seattle with the goal of bringing together students with experts in business, venture capitalism, and innovation.

“You don’t have to be a die-hard entrepreneur to take part in ENTREfest,” said organizer Lauren Brohawn.  “Anyone interested in working for a startup, or anyone who might just be a little entre-curious can take part.”

ENTREfest kicks off with the first 2 of 10 “Build Your Own Business” nights (October 4 and October 18 from 6 – 7:30 pm) at Dempsey 211 inside the Foster School of Business.  Undergraduate students can bring their ideas for a product, service, or company and receive feedback from an entrepreneurial coach and their peers.  The following afternoon, the Buerk Center will host an Open House at Dempsey Hall 227 (from 4:30 – 5:30 pm) for all students to share more information about its programs and competitions.

“What we love about entrepreneurship at UW is that it brings together students from all corners of campus,” said the Buerk Center’s Leslie Mabry.  “No matter your discipline, or whether you’re a freshman or a Ph.D. student, you can find a way to apply the real-world business skills you learn today to whatever idea you have in the future.”

Complete list of Entrepreneur Fest events

Click to see full EntreFest schedule

Later that same day, Startup UW invites undergraduates (October 5 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm) to Dempsey Hall 004 to learn about the University of Washington’s largest student organization dedicated to entrepreneurship across all industries and disciplines.

ENTREfest also features networking opportunities for students who want to meet working professionals in green jobs (Tuesday, October 11 from 5:30 – 8:30 pm at the HUB Lyceum) and venture capitalism (Friday, October 14 from 8:30 am – 1:30 pm).  The Venture Capital Walk is students only and requires registration, which will be available on the Buerk Center events page.

The next day, a 24-hour collegiate hackathon will begin inside Mary Gates Hall at the University of Washington by DubHacks. Organizers say registration is closed, but they are still taking volunteers and inquiries.  They “believe technology has the power to spark positive social change in our communities” and any student, of any programming level, can typically join and find a mentor to learn from.

Students seeking inspiration can also attend Seattle Growth Podcast Live (Monday, October 17 from 6 – 8 pm) at the Impact Hub Seattle.  The event features an expert panel discussing what will shape Seattle’s future and short-term growth.  Registration is now open for the event, featuring host and Foster professor Jeff Shulman.

“This is a unique opportunity to participate in a productive conversation about the future of the city many of us call home,” says Shulman.  “I hope participants become inspired with an opportunity to tackle some of the challenges Seattle’s growth is creating for their fellow community members.”

Others, who may be on the fence about entrepreneurship, can dip a toe in the water at the Buerk Center’s first Team Formation Night (Wednesday, October 19 from 5:30 – 7 pm) at the UW HUB Room 145.  Students will meet with others from across campus with similar interests, to pitch an idea and possibly compete in a Buerk Center competition.  However, any student can come and check it out with no commitment, and no pressure.

“You don’t have to be a die-hard entrepreneur to take part in EntreFest,” said organizer Lauren Brohawn. “Anyone interested in working for a startup, or anyone who might just be a little entre-curious can take part.”

The following night, students can hear from the team that won $25,000 in funding at the 2016 UW Business Plan Competition.  Sustainable UW will showcase “JikoPower” and the team’s journey from “idea to impact.”  The Husky Highlights event begins at 4 pm at the Paccar Hall Deloitte Commons.

ENTREfest caps off with two exciting opportunities for students to hear about real world experience.  The Circular Economy (Tuesday, October 25 from 4 – 5:50 pm) event at Paccar Hall 292 features three panelists who work to turn a waste product into other high-value new products.  Two days later, Dave Parker of CodeFellows will speak at the Straight Talk for Entrepreneurs event (Thursday, October 27 from 5:30 – 7 pm) inside the Bank of America Executive Education Center.  His talk is about the “10 business models that make money and the 3 that could cost you everything.”

For more information on EntreFest, visit any of the links in the story, or head to startup.washington.edu.  To join the discussion on social media, please use the hashtag #UWENTREFEST.

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