The UMW CED is preparing to teach their student entrepreneur program – StartUpUMW – goes online this fall semester.
An important piece of the college experience is extra-curricular activities and experiential learning. StartUpUMW provides an opportunity for students to learn how to start their own business from local business professionals and entrepreneurs. Students receive internship experience and get a “real-world” perspective on what it takes to launch and manage a company.
Kelsey Whitman, the StartUpUMW instructor, is a little anxious about the fully virtual experience, but optimistic that she will meet the programs’ objectives: “You can’t fully replicate the experience of networking, building relationships, and learning exciting information through Zoom, but with some adjustments to the content and use of special technology features, I’m confident that students will learn just as much and enjoy the program as well,” Kelsey said.
Throughout the semester, students learn how to form a solid business that solves a legitimate problem for their market, calculate costs and revenues, form a legal entity, and more. At the end of the semester, students pitch their idea to an audience of business professionals. Some students are already in business, some go on to launch their enterprises, and some learn what it takes to be an entrepreneur so that it can be an option for them one day.
Since StartUpUMW’s launch, there have been 63 program graduates, 24 student business launches, and 16 internships provided. “I love getting to know these students and watching them develop their concepts that mean a lot to them. It’s not an expectation that the students launch a company, but I am always so thrilled about how seriously the students take this opportunity to learn, network and develop themselves professionally,” said Kelsey Whitman.
StartUpUMW goes online, Wednesday, September 9, 2020.