Every semester, the UMW Center for Economic Development works with entrepreneurial undergraduate students from UMW and Germanna Community College to help them develop a business idea. Every week, the students meet different members of the Fredericksburg community—lawyers, bankers, accountants, and business owners—who share expertise in business ownership and management. The students learn from real-world entrepreneurs and professionals, and apply the skills and knowledge to their startup ideas. At the end of the semester, the students pitch their idea to members of the local business community and have the option to participate in an investment pitch competition in the spring.
So far, 53 students have completed StartUpUMW, and 22 student businesses have been launched. The students have majors that range from sciences, and languages to business administration, and include representatives from the Bachelor of Liberal Studies (BLS) program. Many students incorporate social missions into their enterprises, or develop nonprofit organizations. Student businesses launched include technology companies, consulting and professional services, retail, and other companies in other industries.
One of the goals of StartUpUMW is to provide students with applied learning opportunities that prepare students more than owning a business, but being successful after college. They learn how to network and maintain professional relationships, and take initiative to develop a plan of their own. Many students take advantage of these networking opportunities and go on to get internships and jobs with the help of experience gained in the program.
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 UMW EagleWorks Business Incubation Center, the Government Contracting Assistance Center, and StartUpUMW. The Center is located at the Eagle Village Executive Offices. Learn more at https://economicdevelopment.umw.edu/.