Team Formation Nights and Workshops Promise Results

SwarmFX at 2017 UW Business Plan Competition

Members of the team SwarmFX included students from multiple backgrounds and disciplines

You want to be part of something; you just aren’t sure what that something is. You know some day you want to get a leg-up in your career and have thought “how cool would it be to work at an early-stage company or get that kind of experience?” You’ve heard the terms “Entrepreneur” or “Intrapreneur” and think that might be who you are. Or maybe you’ve heard about shows like Silicon Valley or Shark Tank and thought “that startup founder or inventor could be me, I have ideas.

Now is the time to explore your curiosity.

The Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship is featuring a series of workshops and team formation nights to help you meet other students, learn the startup process, and get moving forward with an idea. The first team formation night features a look inside the CoMotion Fluke Hall Maker Space on Wednesday, October 18 from 5:30 to 8 pm. The next workshop focuses on Customer Discovery is on Thursday, October 26 from 12:30 to 2 pm at Maple Hall Room 122, also known as “Area 01.”

“There aren’t many places where you can be completely open about your early concepts, but these events are just that,” said Terri Butler, assistant director at the Buerk Center and manager of the Health Innovation Challenge. “If you have any inclination at all toward new, innovative ideas, you won’t want to miss these!”

More team formation nights follow on Wednesday, Nov. 1 with a look at Design Thinking, Tuesday, Nov. 14 with a look at Rapid Prototyping, and Wednesday, Dec. 6 with a panel of past participants in Buerk Center competitions.

The most successful venture capitalists tell students to put themselves out there, share their ideas, and be proactive. No one is expected to have fully-formed ideas. In fact, the goal is to celebrate the process of sharing an idea, receiving feedback, and evolving it. Many students realize they share the same goals with someone from another major on the University of Washington campus.

“This is a great opportunity to meet like-minded students,” said Amy Sallin, associate director at the Buerk Center and manager of the UW Business Plan Competition (BPC). “Whether you’re working on your own idea or looking to join an existing project, these events can help.”

Students can make the most of the series by attending the other workshops as well. On Thursday, Nov. 9 at 12:30 to 2pm at Area 01, the Buerk Center will highlight “Market and Competition”—with insights into product differentiation and how to find out what your customers like or don’t like about your idea.

On Thursday, November 30 at the same time and place, a workshop will focus on “Preparing Your Plan to Launch”—with insights into the components of a good plan and how to spot any glaring gaps before you launch.

So what if you can’t make it to any of the live team formation nights or workshops? The Buerk Center encourages you to check out the Team Formation website. You can create your profile, move on to the showcase page, and open yourself up to some incredible opportunities to connect with other students. The startup resources page on the Buerk Center website offers additional information on everything listed above, plus materials on how to write winning business plans, find mentors, and a lot more.

Looking for prototype funding to build your service, product, app, or likewise? The prototype funding application window opens soon for teams who want to compete in the Health Innovation Challenge (HIC) on March 1, the Environmental Innovation Challenge on March 29, and/or the UW Business Plan Competition in April. For more information on this funding opportunity, please e-mail the Buerk Center.