StartUpUMW Graduates Largest Cohort of Entrepreneurs

Fredericksburg, VA: StartUpUMW, a student entrepreneurial program of the University of Mary Washington Center for Economic Development, graduated 15 students on Monday, April 22.

This is the 6th and largest cohort of students to go through the program. This semester enrollment doubled in size and it is expected to grow from here. “Every semester I am more impressed and more optimistic about the entrepreneurial culture and the potential that exists among the student body,” says Kelsey Whitman, StartUpUMW Manager. “I love watching this group of students grow with all the support of the local community.”

StartUpUMW is for the entrepreneurial student who runs a small business, has a business idea, or would like to learn about entrepreneurship and how to create an enterprise. It is designed as a real-world learning experience where students learn about business from business owners and they develop their own concept. StartUpUMW is a collaboration between the UMW Center for Economic Development, local Fredericksburg business owners, UMW faculty, and students.

“I really enjoyed this program and am very glad I stayed committed. I feel like it was a very supportive community and by the end of it, all of us were on board to help each other out,” writes one student in a testimonial piece. “I definitely learned how to manage a team better because of my business situation and was able to reach out to lots of different resources.”

Each week during the semester-long program, a business owner or business professional from the local community shares their story to the class and teaches one specific topic  of entrepreneurship. Topics include market opportunity, customer and value identification, customer experience, business modeling, and pitch preparation.

Another student mentions “after each meeting, I left feeling inspired to continue and strengthen my business. This internship was manageable with my busy schedule while also being very interesting and informative.”

Since 2016, 53 students have completed the program, and 22 students have launched their businesses. Through this networking opportunity and collaborative program, 13 internships were provided and six students secured jobs.

Enrollment for the 2019 Fall Semester has started and the deadline to apply is August 30th. Click here to learn more.

UMW Center for Economic Development

The University of Mary Washington Center for Economic Development is in the College of Business, an AACSB accredited business school.  The Center for Economic Development operates the UMW Small Business Development Center, the EagleWorks Business Incubation Center, the Government Contracting Assistance Center, and StartUpUMW.  The Center is located at the Eagle Village Executive Offices.  Learn more at