Entrepreneurship Resource Nights: Idea to Product

Resource Nights (ENTRE 440/540 Business Plan Practicum), offered throughout winter quarter by the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, bring in experts from the local entrepreneurial community to teach various aspects of creating a startup venture, from idea generation to legal issues to raising capital. Each week you can read a recap of the previous Entrepreneurship Resource Night. This week, instructor John Zagula steps in for the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship’s Amy Sallin and recaps a class featuring Michael Dix of Intentional Futures. If you have questions about the lecture series, or any of the Buerk Center’s student competitions, email Amy at [email protected].

Week four was an exciting and inspirational time. We closed out the first section of the course with exploring how to take an idea to a concrete, desirable product as the basis of a business. We also covered some of the very basic concepts in product thinking—from problem/solution to must have/nice to have to “minimum viable product.”

Then we had the privilege of hearing from two really talented really different product thinkers and doers. Michael Dix of Intentional Futures shared not only some of the unique tools he and his team use to develop products (like the benefit/cost teeter-totter), but he also offered some of his own favorite product ideas to any of you who want to work to turn them into a reality. Xiaoyu Wang, CEO of CastBox, shared both her own incredible ABC story as a first-time entrepreneur (raising $30M and 12M international users in just two years) and the ongoing product journey of her team to continuously listen and improve their product. They both shared the insight/perspective of thinking of your business plan as a product, thinking of a pitch itself as a product, and even yourself as a product with a problem/solution—That’s a must-have and an ongoing MVP-like iteration/evolution. You all had great questions too. Not enough cookies to hand out!

Also, I want to thank each of you who pitched yourselves and your ideas. Good stuff – join their teams! As always, you can check out a link to the videos of the class and revisit any part.

“You make the best products you can, and you grow as fast as you deserve to.”
– David Ogilvy


Resource Nights are each Tuesday from January 9 to March 6 from 6 to 7:50 p.m. in PACCAR Hall 192 (Shansby Auditorium). Can’t make it in person? Lectures will be recorded and the links posted to our website weekly. View the Resource Night schedule for links and complete listing of topics and guest speakers.


During Week 4, we will be moving on to Step 2 of the whole planning process, starting with assessing the playing field into which your business will enter. Once again, we have some wonderful speakers who will bring their own perspectives and experiences to this key task. Please be prepared.

Tuesday, January 30 at 6:00 pm in PACCAR Hall, Shansby Auditorium (room 192)



If you’re still looking to join a team or for team members, stay tuned to the Student Team Formation website. First, create a profile on the Team Building site. Then check out the Showcase page to browse for a team to join or to find team members. NOTE: This is for current students only! 

MENTOR CONNECT (via website)

Need some quick advice about intellectual property, financial projections, or how to divide equity between co-founders? The Buerk Center’s MentorConnect site is a great way to connect with a professional via email for advice, questions, and feedback. The site requires a UW login, so if you’re a student from another college or university contact me for a guest login.

NOTE: MentorConnect is available to students only!


This series of panel events is aimed at students entering the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge, Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge, and/or the UW Business Plan Competition. The perspective and knowledge gained will be valuable as teams prepare their 5-7 page business summaries—which are required to enter the Buerk Center competitions.

Business Models and Financial Projections
Wednesday, January 31 from Noon to 1:30 pm in HUB 250

Whether you are working in the healthcare space or have a complicated situation for your environmental innovation, or entering a crowded retail situation, you need to consider where you fit in the business ecosystem.

Moderator: John Montgomery, Foster MBA ‘19 Candidate



Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge student entrepreneurship competition

The Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge (HIC) student competition is the place to channel your passion for innovation, solving problems, and making an impact in the health, healthcare, and wellness space. $15,000 Grand Prize!

Start your HIC application now

Deadline to apply is February 12.

Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge student entrepreneurship competition

Maybe the idea came to you in the lab, in class, or on a hike. Whatever the source, the Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge student competition is the place to showcase your solution to our pressing environmental problems. Form a team. Shape the future. $15,000 Grand Prize!

Start your EIC application now

Deadline to apply is February 20.


Health Innovation Challenge: Terri Butler
Environmental Innovation Challenge: Lauren Brohawn
Business Plan Competition: Amy Sallin
BPC MBA student co-chairs: Emma Hohenstein & John Montgomery

Have a great 2018!

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