The Leading Edge of Innovation: Startup Job Fair

It’s well known that Seattle is a hotbed for entrepreneurial activity and has a strong startup community. Last week, the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship and the Foster School of Business welcomed over 40 early-stage startups from the Pacific Northwest to campus to network and recruit talent to join their teams. The room was buzzing with excitement as Evening MBA students looking to jump into the startup world networked with CEOs in button-down shirts and slacks and who, in turn, shared with MBA students their passion for their products, their journey, and their experience.

In its 5th year, the Startup Job Fair welcomed companies focused on artificial intelligence and machine learning, digital health solutions, food-centric technology applications, consulting, creative branding firms and more.

Some of the firms present included Barn2Door connecting farmers to consumers and chefs with fresh local produce utilizing smartphone technology; Magic AI a machine learning solution centered around nonverbal vision and data capture for humans and animals created for better communication; Volt Athletics which brings professional level sport performance training to athletes at every stage, all around the world; Genneve providing innovation solutions and products in women’s health; and Impact BioEnergy focusing on the problem of food waste and translating that into a renewable energy resource.

In my experience founder’s stories stem from a unique problem or personal experience or challenge, and this opportunity to meet many of the founders and CEOs of these firms at the Startup Fair provided insight into the world of entrepreneurship in a hands-on way to explore a myriad of industries from food waste to consulting to materials innovation. It was energizing to see so many companies looking to Foster MBA students as talent for their budding businesses

What was also a revelation were the challenges posed by these companies, where possible solutions could be pulled right from core coursework learned during the first year or two at Foster, such as operations. Students can apply these theories, skills, and practices learned in class to help these startups find meaningful ways to navigate in the fast-moving world of tech.

It was inspiring that many founders were willing to discuss challenges they faced, and they were genuinely interested in insights students shared. Several of the startups present had previously worked with UW Evening MBA students as part of CoMotion at the UW, and others were extremely excited to tap into the rich knowledge base and resources provided by Evening MBA students with a myriad of work experience.

Many of these CEOs and Directors are looking to bring on interns for the summer, and are hiring for marketing directors, operations specialists, data analysts, and engineers to grow their ranks from the talent available at Foster.

The Startup Job Fair is just one of the many ways Foster cultivates innovation and access to the Startup community in Seattle. It provides Evening MBA students an opportunity to network with CEOs of startups and transition into leadership roles in business strategy and lead in an organization.

It was a lively event; a night of networking, sharing information, meeting new people, and learning about new technologies. It was incredibly well attended and all left feeling inspired, and I, for one, eagerly await the 6th Annual Startup Job Fair in April of 2019.

To learn more about these startups, follow the links, and if you’d like to be considered for next year’s 6th Annual Startup Fair at Foster, contact the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship to learn more.

Alana McGee is our new Social Media Coordinator, Evening MBA Class of 2019. Alana currently runs her own company, Truffle Dog Company, where she acts as an agricultural consultant in the commercial truffle growing industry, taking groups out on adventures in the woods to find truffles, distributing to restaurants & chefs and teaches you & your pet how to find truffles yourself. Post-MBA, she is looking to move into a marketing, consulting, and product & business development roles and is keenly interested in entrepreneurship.