UW-Madison: National Entrepreneurship Week, Feb. 24-March 3, 2007

TO: Reporters, assignment editors

FROM: Doug Bradley, (608) 263-0238; [email protected]; Liz Beyler, (608) 263-1986, [email protected]

The Office of Corporate Relations (OCR) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is hosting a number of programs for Entrepreneurship Week USA, a national effort to inspire and encourage young people to consider entrepreneurship as a career choice and to celebrate America’s unique culture of inventiveness.

The theme of the week, which runs from Feb. 25 – March 3, is “What’s Your Big Idea? Take It On!”

UW-Madison’s participation comes at a particularly opportune time. The campus recently was named one of eight Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation “Kauffman Campuses.” As such, it will receive $5 million over five years to stimulate awareness of entrepreneurship campus-wide, to help students from any part of campus access the skills of entrepreneurship, and to spur greater research commercialization statewide.

To kick off the campus-wide effort, the university will hold a forum called “Make Your Passion Your Profession” from 5-7 p. m. on Wednesday, Feb. 28, at Memorial Union, 800 Langdon St. (Check “Today in the Union” for the specific location.) Students will have the opportunity to hear from several successful young entrepreneurs, including current or former UW-Madison students.

Among them are the creators of the YouTube hit “Chad Vader,” the Turbo-Tap beer dispenser, Prep Cosmetics, Sconnie Nation and ExchangeHut.com . Organizers hope that students attending the event will be inspired to become Wisconsin’s next great entrepreneurs and innovators.

CONTACT: Charles Hoslet, Office of Corporate Relations managing director, (608) 263-2840, [email protected].

Here are some other entrepreneurship story angles to consider:

– THE WEINERT CENTER FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP: Established in 1986, the center is the hub of entrepreneurial activity at the UW-Madison School of Business. Home to the Wisconsin MBA career specialization in entrepreneurship, the center is dedicated to teaching, research, and service pertaining to entrepreneurial management and enterprise development.

In the Entrepreneurship MBA Program, students complete coursework in preparation for roles as business owners and managers, investors, and consultants to small and midsized businesses. They work closely with local growth companies to develop an in-depth understanding of the businesses and their environments, leading to the creation of comprehensive strategic, operating and financing plans.

Since its endowment in 1999, the center has invested up to $100,000 in student start-up companies. Many of these student-led businesses have won state and national business plan competitions and have gone on to grow into successful enterprises.

CONTACT: Dan Olszewski, Weinert Center director, (608) 265-3959, [email protected].

– TECHNOLOGY ENTREPRENEURSHIP: UW-Madison provides a rich environment for students and faculty interested in developing new technologies through innovative business models and entrepreneurial ventures. The university offers a wide range of start-up guidance for technology entrepreneurs.

A prime student opportunity is the G. Steven Burrill Technology Business Plan Competition, now in its tenth year, which delivers high-impact seminars led by area professionals to hundreds of UW-Madison undergraduate and graduate students every year. In the spring, students compete for cash prizes of up to $22,000. Dozens of participants have gone on to launch their businesses in fields as varied as drug delivery devices, emergency rescue equipment, and financial literacy software.

CONTACT: Anne Miner, professor and faculty director, INSITE & Burrill Competition, [email protected], (608) 263-4143; alternate: John Surdyk, [email protected], (608) 262-9041.

– ADVANCING SCHOLARSHIP AND EDUCATION: The Initiative for Studies in Technology Entrepreneurship (INSITE) accelerates entrepreneurial learning on campus and stimulates faculty research on the role of technology and innovation in entrepreneurial ventures. Through new courses, public talks and innovative conferences, INSITE fosters the exchange of cutting-edge ideas among faculty, students and Wisconsin area business leaders and policy professionals.

CONTACT: Anne Miner, professor and faculty director, INSITE & Burrill Competition, [email protected], (608) 263-4143; alternate: John Surdyk, [email protected], (608) 262-9041.