Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship

Team 'Ale Mail' in Winnipeg

Why we compete

As we wrap up our Winter term at the Oregon MBA, I’m proud to reflect back on the efforts of our teams that took their ideas ‘on the road’ and across borders to socialize their ideas and gather valuable feedback from judges and peers. If no business plan survives first contact with customers, then you cannot overstate the value of getting out the building to share your idea with the world.

Many will say that the ‘business plan’ is dead and that business plan competitions are a lost cause. We at the Lundquist College of Business respectfully disagree. Writing a business plan and putting together an investor pitch is not a waste of valuable MBA time. Rather, those activities are a forcing function for students to integrate the business model they’ve designed, the customer development they’ve done, and the core MBA functions of finance and strategy together in a well-communicated package.

Team ‘CINCH’ in Bangkok

We send Oregon MBAs to these competitions to expand student perspectives and share in the joy of competition. When our teams compete, they get the type of hands-on learning that builds human capital for the future. No amount of classwork can prepare you for the challenges that come from unknown judges and competition from other well-developed ideas. Students learn from one another, sharing the experiences of the tough judges, travel, and experiences of a student entrepreneur. Whether it’s in Bangkok Thailand, Louisville, Winnipeg, or Portland, the outcome of these competitions is the same – experiences that shape ideas and outcomes for a students’ career.

Feature image: Team ‘Ale Mail’ in Winnipeg

 

Written by Nathan Lillegard

I run the programs and activities for the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship. My experience includes enterprise software development and implementations and operational process improvement. I started a biotech company called Floragenex, got it off the ground, secured investors and customers, and left it in the capable hands of a great team.

Students Motivated to “Make History” at 2016 Net Impact Conference

The first weekend in November was a busy one for those of us who are student members of Net Impact at the University of Oregon.  Twenty of us—first and second year Oregon MBAs and undergraduates in business, environmental studies, journalism, psychology and economics—flew across the country to participate in the 2016 Net Impact Conference from November 2 to November 5 in downtown Philadelphia.

Net Impact is an international membership organization of over 100,000 students and professionals who are interested in the intersection of business and social or environmental impact.  The theme of this year’s conference was “Make History” and included a wide variety of keynote speakers like Alicia Garza, Co-Founder of #BlackLivesMatter, Jay Coen Gilbert, Co-Founder of B Lab, and Doug McMillon, President and CEO of Wal-Mart.  Beyond the content of the conference, the opportunity to network with students from all over the country is a huge part of the value of attending the conference.

Eddie Rosenberg, a second year MBA student in the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship put it this way: “While the presentations, workshops, and cheesesteaks were amazing, the most impactful part was being with a community of incredibly smart, driven, and environmentally/socially engaged students.  There are a lot of bad things in the world and big challenges to overcome…meeting and working with this group of Net Impacters gave me hope and more momentum to make a difference.”

The UO contingent was unique in its own right because of our make-up of undergraduates, first year MBAs, and second year MBAs—few other schools we talked to made such an effort to connect with each other across years.

uo-red-eye-crew-on-way-to-philly

The UO Undergraduate Net Impact Chapter is a powerhouse of active students and a full schedule of club activities.  The undergraduates not only draw important industry speakers like former Patagonia CEO, Michael Crooke to their weekly meetings, but also host their own one-day conference each year at the UO.  The consensus from the undergraduates was generally that the conference had renewed their motivation and (already impressive) energy to promote the work of sustainability in business.  Audrey, a junior in advertising and the Vice President of the Public Relations for the UO undergraduate chapter summed it up when she shared that “The Net Impact Conference has provided me with opportunities to continue the movement and create an impact within our community.”

The Graduate Chapter was recognized as a Gold Chapter again this year and also kept busy by organizing a West Coast Net Impact Chapter Meetup with MBA programs from University of Washington-Evans, Willamette University, and University of Colorado—Leeds.

Our three brave first year MBAs had only been with the program a little over a month when they headed to the conference.  It can feel like drinking from a firehose with the incredible amount of information available and the packed schedule of speakers and activities, but all three enjoyed the experience. Ben, a first year MBA in the Center for Sustainable Business Practices, shared that his main takeaway was “how much acceptance sustainability is gaining in the corporate world. Major players are leading the way now.” His classmate Leah echoed that sentiment, sharing that she was impressed by “how integrated sustainability is becoming in the corporate world.  It is something that most companies these days are considering and many across all operations.”

This trip marked the second Net Impact Conference for all of my fellow-second years who attended and I was curious to hear what they thought of the experience being now “older and wiser” than we were just a year ago.  Andrea, a second year MBA in the Center for Sustainable Business Practices and Treasurer of the Graduate Chapter shared her impressions:  “[The] biggest thing for me was the shift in how businesses are developed.  Entrepreneurs are looking at what problems need to be addressed, then building a business to fix the issue.  Also, [there’s a] definite shift away from siloed sustainability departments.  [You] have to have sustainability in all teams.”  Second years also came to the conference this year with a clearer focus on networking and jobs.  Anna, a second year MBA in the Center for Sustainable Business Practices and the President of the UO Graduate Chapter heard some surprising advice: “I loved that both presenters on the sustainable apparel panel told us to not go out and get jobs with sustainability in the title—that we would be more effective implementing these practices in other industries/departments/projects.”

It was an action-packed three-day weekend in Philly listening to well-known keynote speakers, engaging with panels of sustainability professionals, participating in applied case scenarios and eating a lot of pretzels, cheesesteaks, fried chicken, and ice cream served on a doughnut!  Most of the group even arrived early enough Thursday to see the Liberty Bell, the LOVE statue, and accidentally stumble upon the house where Thomas Jefferson signed the Declaration of Independence.  The knowledge gained from the 2016 Net Impact conference, and the powerful, evocative location, accomplished its mission of inspiring this group of University of Oregon Students to go forth and help make history!

all-uo-students-repping

Written by Kate Hammarback

Kate is a 2017 MBA/MPA from the Center for Sustainable Business Practices. Originally from Wisconsin, Kate graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin with a political science degree and spent time working in state and national politics before pivoting to nonprofit resource and program development. Kate is an active member of LiveMove and Net Impact and is happiest when working at the intersection of policy, planning, and business development through social and sustainable enterprise. After graduation, she plans to work where she can use finance and sustainability strategy to impact the triple bottom line.

OMBA takes the Bend Venture Conference

The numbers have been crunched, the presentation decks prepared, and nerves are on high. Your carefully thought out idea is about to become reality…but only if you win. Welcome to the Bend Venture Conference.

img_8388

As an MBA student in the Innovation and Entrepreneurship track, I expected to be provided with insights into the start-up world within a classroom context. But when I found myself, only three-weeks into my MBA program, traveling to Bend, Oregon for my first venture conference I realized that the Oregon MBA exceeds expectations.

A venture conference is an event where ideas turn into actions. A little research on the Bend Venture Conference (BVC) website led me to expect a multi-day entrepreneurship-focused event and close to $1 million in prize money. The start-up companies were broken into three categories of competition: Social Impact, Early Stage, and Growth Stage. 15 founders were going to pitch their start-up ideas to groups of investors. And I was going to be part of it.

After arriving at the Tower Theater in Bend, my classmates and I got settled in for the first round of competition: Social Impact. Here, companies were formed around the idea of helping others. We saw presentations centered around water conservation, fighting human sex trafficking, and blood-borne disease diagnostic tools. To round out this philanthropic group, Rebekah Bastian, the Vice President of Product at Zillow took the stage as the key note speaker. Bastian discussed how she is leveraging her role at the United States’ leading online real estate marketplace to help end homelessness.

img_8391

The Early Stage competition kicked off Day Two. Here we saw six founders pitch their hopeful companies for three minutes each. Again, the company focuses varied. Anything from inner-tire suspension to rainwater collection systems to crowdsourcing apps could be found onstage. These new companies were competing for $15,000 and the vote was decided by the audience. I was amazed to know that my ballet could help the company I most believed in launch.

img_8434

The Growth Stage competition rounded out the conference. The five companies were seeking seeding funding, typically in the amount of 1 million dollars. These companies – like Cartogram, Hubb, and Outdoor Project – have all been around for a few years and the founders were practiced presenters. The keynote speaker for Day Two was Loni Stark, the Senior Director of Strategy and Product Marketing at Adobe and the co-founder of Stark Insider, a West Coast media brand. Stark shared her thoughts on the significance of digital on customer experience and marketing.

a80838a1-4bde-4f5a-85ab-2266cc59750b

As a future entrepreneur and hopeful starter-upper like myself, the face value of attending the BVC was obvious. It was a chance to see how entrepreneurs and investors were going to come together to bring the next big thing to market. I was able to learn impactful tips, like what to wear on stage, at what pace to speak, and how to stand while presenting. I was able to apply the business terms I have been learning in my MBA classes to a real-world application. But the most valuable lesson I learned at the BVC that it is always possible to turn your passion into your career.

There is little scarier than introducing yourself as a Master’s student specializing in innovation and entrepreneurship to a room of innovative entrepreneurs. There is a pressure to have that next million-dollar idea researched and ready. So when you don’t have it all figured out, it is easy to feel apprehensive. But the BVC showed me how to discover that million-dollar idea… Or at least where to start. Despite how varied the ideas presented on stage were, the theme was all the same: do what you love. Discover your passion and work within that space. And if no one is doing exactly what you want to, go out and build that company from the bottom up.

I had high expectations for the MBA program at the University of Oregon. But looking back at the connections made, ideas inspired, and knowledge grasped while attending the BVC with the classmates, I realize that the Oregon MBA is already exceeding expectations.

 

Written by Tess Meyer

Tess is a 2018 MBA in the Innovation and Entrepreneurship track. With a background in Psychology and experience managing extensive teams, she is passionate about driving human potential. Tess' aim is to enter career services where she can encourage sustainable career passion for clients and businesses alike. When she is not writing or studying, Tess can be found hiking, reading, or trying a new restaurant. Learn more on www.frombrowneyes.com.

New Venture Championship from Behind the Scenes

This past weekend I had the honor of being a moderator at the New Venture Championship (NVC) in Portland which is an international entrepreneurial investment competition presented annually by the University of Oregon’s Lundquist College of Business. The 16 selected student teams from around the world pitched their business plans to a panel of judges, gained valuable feedback, and had the chance to win over $60,000 in cash prizes.

Day 1duck

The first session teams practiced their 60 second elevator pitches and received feedback from the judges. The second portion consisted of 30 minute presentations during which a judge could interrupt at any time. Judges challenged teams to defend their plans and their ability to move a pitch along, simulating a meeting at a busy VC firm. The first day was not scored, however, timing was critical because it was my job as moderator to stop them at exactly 30 minutes – no exceptions. Teams were meant to take the judges’ feedback from Day 1 to prepare for Day 2.

That evening, the teams competed in a tradeshow and elevator pitch competition. Not only was this a great opportunity to network with students, judges, and guests, but it was a chance to learn how to effectively talk about a business idea (and to get an unexpected photo-op with the Duck).

Day 2

The second day we welcomed a new set of judges for the semi-finals which consisted of the same format as the previous day, but this time the judges scored the presentations and selected teams to advance to the final round. After the pitches, all teams, judges, and moderators met in the ballroom to enjoy an amazing lunch and keynote panel of successful female entrepreneurs.

The panel was a chance to hear real business women discuss the grueling process of heading up a start-up, how they continuously pivoted, and what they have learned. As a previous NVC competitor, UO alum and Red Duck co-founder, Shannon Oliver gave input on the competition, stating “you can’t do well in this competition if you don’t know what you’re talking about, and in order to know what you’re talking about you have to have done your research”. This was spot on. The most successful teams were the ones that could authentically talk about their business and motives behind their venture, and convince the judges that they were knowledgeable about the industry.  After the lunch and judging deliberations, all participants, judges, and organizers took time to relax and mingle at the Portland Bowling Mixer where students showed off their bowling and gaming skills!

finals2

VivImmune from the University of Arkansas presenting to the judges during the finals round.

Day 3

The final day of the competition was an amazing learning experience. All moderators took on the roles of “shadow judges”. We watched the final presentations, critiqued each pitch as a group, and gave final recommendations to the judges. After providing feedback, we got to sit in on judges’ deliberations, and were proud when our rankings matched. As someone who wants to work with start-ups and may participate in this competition next year, the opportunity to hear the judges’ questions for the teams and rationale behind final decisions was an irreplaceable educational experience.

The winners were announced at the Awards Reception where we got to end the weekend on a high-note – the TougHer team from the UO won second place and took home $10,000!  Congrats!

 

Thinking of participating in NVC in the future? Here are some quick tips: 

  1. Be passionate.It’s not enough just to have a polished presentation. The most successful and convincing teams were the ones that were the most authentic and presented from the heart.
  2. Get your financials in order.When a judge doubts one number, they begin to doubt them all. Then they begin to question your credibility. Not sure about your numbers? Go the conservative route, but be able to explain your reasoning.
  3. Be prepared to be interrupted. A real pitch is a dynamic conversation. Come ready to answer any question about your business plan and anticipate judges’ concerns. Including answers to these concerns in your appendix will also help you maintain your cool during the Q&A.
  4. Network.This competition is rich with knowledgeable students, judges, and business people – use this opportunity to your advantage. And don’t forget to have fun!

    tougHer

    The Oregon MBA TougHer Team

  5. Be there to learn.We get it – this idea is your baby. However, if you’re open to critique and look for the learning opportunity in every situation, you are more likely to pivot in a direction that will lead to success.

Written by Kathryn Butera

Kathryn is originally from the Bay Area and is currently a first year MBA student in the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship.

WOMEN’S WORKWEAR: A Celebration of a Formidable Force

The Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship has fostered some impressive start-up companies over the years. One of the current MBA start-ups is TOUGHER a woman’s workwear company. The company’s new blog describes the evolution of the concept. Check it out below or on the Wear TOUGHER blog.

Stacey Founder of TOUGHERDuring today’s 3-mile run fraught with rain, Beyonce’s anthem of female empowerment fueled an extra “umph” in my stride despite what felt like nature spitting in my eye. As the talented singer rhetorically asks, “Who runs the world? (Girls),” I thought of the nearly 400 women we have interviewed who Grow, Build, and Make. Women who similarly motivate me to work harder and leave me inspired after every conversation we have shared.

TOUGHER women run the world along with some incredible men, who are their colleagues, partners, friends, and supporters. The major difference between the two sexes, however, is that a serious oversight has long existed for women who need and want durable clothing that fits their body’s frame and protects them while they repair fences, birth calves, or grow stunning crops and flowers.

Men have had their pick of workwear brands; whereas, nearly all women we have interviewed are left to shop the men’s aisles (98%) and must modify their clothing to make them work in clunky fashion (89%). Imagine having to hack your clothes with scissors and duct tape just to make them work for your job or passion.

TOUGHER‘s mission is simple: Great workwear. Built for women. Yet, emails received from women nationwide remind us that what we represent is more than that. TOUGHER acknowledges and celebrates the importance women in skilled trades and artisanal crafts represent. What our customers create matters and deserves our attention.

Imagine a time before sports uniforms were made specifically for women and girls. A not-too-distant past where sports bras did not exist, but had to be made by 3 women sewing together two jockstraps because no such thing existed in 1977. Once apparel was produced to outfit women and girls for sports, it signaled to the world and its wearers that what they contributed to sports mattered- regardless of whether they were a professional athlete or not.

In similar fashion, designing and selling durable, comfortable apparel for women is our way of raising a glass to all women who grind it out each day and work hard with their hands.

We’re so proud of all of you and what you’re doing. Keep sending us your photos of the home projects you build, bridges you designed, or plowed acres you accomplished in a day’s work. You can send them to: weartougher@gmail.com or post to our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/weartougher/

Your apparel is in the design phase and coming. We can’t wait to see what you do in it! Here’s a toast raised to you.

Stacey, Founder and CEO

Written by UO Business

The UO Lundquist College of Business empowers an engaged community of students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders who create, apply, and disseminate knowledge that contributes significantly to their professions, communities, and society. The college delivers a dynamic learning environment where world-class professors engage and get to know students, where students work on real projects for real companies, and where alumni go on to high-powered jobs worldwide.

Showing Up Fit and Well

Kathryn Butera USF Graduation

When I graduated from the University of San Francisco in 2013 with a B.A. in International Studies, I had no idea what I would do with my degree. Everyone talks about the mid-life crisis, but no one ever talks about the the post-graduation crisis. I spent four years scheduling out every day with homework, extracurricular activities, and part-time jobs, all while exploring everything that San Francisco had to offer. However, when it came time to go off and pursue a full-time career, I was unclear about my direction.

I decided to take advantage of my freedom and move to Panama City, Panama. I figured I would work any job I could find while exploring what I was actually passionate about. After about six months of living in Panama, I found myself working at a small financial consulting company as an executive assistant.

Panama%20City%20PanamaWhile we handled some of the biggest clients in the country, I didn’t have the skills I needed take the next step in my career and take on the projects that interested me. I discovered that I didn’t want to simply be present for my 9-5 schedule, but rather that I needed to be more emotionally invested in the work I was doing. Although I loved living abroad, I decided that it was time to leave Panama after about a year and a half, and I chose to seek a graduate program that would help push past the barriers I had previously experienced.

Fast forward to my acceptance to the Oregon MBA Program and orientation week. I was anxious and excited about meeting my cohort, starting classes, and acquiring all the skills I had lacked in my previous positions. While orientation week was exhausting, it was also one of the most rewarding experiences I have had in a group setting. I was particularly impressed by the improv group “On Your Feet”, whose presentation focused on how to be successful both in the program—and in life. One of the points most strongly emphasized was the concept of showing up “fit and well” and how that simple shift can change the outlook, mood, and outcome of a situation.

Since learning that lesson, I have been able to identify moments where I strategically changed my attitude so that I Lillis Business Complexcould show up ready to share positivity with my cohort. Now, as we approach midterms and stress levels rise, I try to remind myself to be grounded in the “fit and well” concept so that I can continue to get the most out of the program, while helping my classmates be successful as well.

Written by Kathryn Butera

Kathryn is originally from the Bay Area and is currently a first year MBA student in the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship.

Oregon Grads Attend and Compete at the Willamette Angel Conference

As I have said in previous posts, Oregon has a lot of money to spend on venture investments and Thursday held one of those amazing opportunities.  The Willamette Angel Conference is one of multiple angel investor conferences held in Oregon annually.  It attracts companies from all over Oregon, Washington, and California.  Last year, I had the amazing opportunity to be a due diligence intern for the investors.  I was able to experience looking at prospective companies through the eyes of the investors.  It was wonderful to compare what I thought was important to what they thought was important.  Seeing life from the other side of the table was great insight should I ever be in the pitching position someday.  This year, finance turned entrepreneurship second year MBA Tommy Thwing and Warsaw turned finance second year Andrew Green were given the opportunity for due diligence.  They have been working all term to help the angels effectively vet the prospective companies for their investment.

With that, multiple students made the venture to the land of orange and black to watch our friends and alumni present their ideas on the OSU campus.  Below is the summary of the Oregon companies representing:

  • Red Duck Foods: Pitched for growth stage investment (made it to the final five out of 32 applied companies). Red Duck was founded by Jess Hilbert (JD/MBA 2013), Karen Bonner (MBA 2013), and Shannon Oliver (MBA 2013) in 2013.   Red Duck is a food company that began by making ketchup tasty again by maintaining the highest quality of organic ingredients and creative flavors.  They have since expanded into organic cocktail sauce.20150514_112857
  • Cricket Flours: Pitched for concept stage.  Cricket Flours was founded in 2014 by Charles Wilson (JD 2015) and Omar Ellis (MBA 2015).  They are revolutionizing the sustainable nutrition market by introducing milled crickets to our diets.20150514_133453
  • Manage My Co-op: Pitched for concept stage. MMC was founded in 2014 by Nathan Gustafson (BS, Business/Entrepreneurship 2006) and Kimmy Gustafson (BS, Journalism, 2005).  MMC is an online platform and marketplace for buying clubs.  It saves time, money, and effort for coordinators by simplifying the group buying process.20150514_135813

All in all, there was a fun day full of great ideas and inspiration seeing all the hard work and dedication these individuals have shown to make their dreams of changing the world a reality.  The keynote speaker, David Rose, founded Gust and spoke about a mile a second.  While I was in slight shell shock after hearing him (my brain was not running as fast as his mouth), he had some great insights into who can be an entrepreneur.  All entrepreneurs are a little crazy but it is that crazy which makes new things happen.

And now for the information you have read this whole post to learn:  The growth stage winner was Moonshadow Mobile and was awarded at least $400,000 of angel equity investment as well as a complimentary update to the Keiretsu Forum, worth $5000.  There is also the potential of sidecar deals with other pitching companies–details are yet to be worked out.  The concept stage winner was Cricket Flours and was awarded $2500 from Palo Alto Software. There was also a people’s choice winner, Red Duck Foods.  While they did not win any money, they get the bragging rights. The concept stage and people’s choice winners were selected by audience vote which made this a very interactive environment.

Oregon is a very entrepreneurial state.  We have established multiple partnerships to help all ideas grow into profitable business through small investments and large amounts of mentoring.  We want to see the success rate of new companies increase from 1% to the sky is the limit.

Written by Jenny Palm

Jenny a current Oregon MBA and Graduate Teaching Fellow in the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship. When she is not busy exploring how she can change the world, you can find her outside doing almost anything...especially finding that secret stash of powder on her skis! She has hopes to either help develop an awesome outdoor-oriented start-up or flex her organizational prowess in ski resort event operations.

Winning the Day @ Global Venture Labs in Austin, TX

The following was announced and written by Nathan Lillegard, Center Director for the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship on May 9, 2015:

I am pleased to share news about a successful campaign by our students from the Oregon MBA and Oregon Law School at the Global Venture Labs Investment Competition (formerly MOOT Corp) this past weekend at the University of Texas at Austin.

For the first time ever the University of Oregon placed 2 teams in the semifinal round. To put that in perspective, there were 33 teams that started the competition on Thursday, with 10 advancing to the semis. That’s 20% of the top 30% representing the UO – not bad! This is the best showing for our program at this competition in many years. I couldn’t be more proud of their efforts.

Our teams:

Airfit – Second year MBAs Cynthia Sandall and Ty Manegold have brought a concept to life. The idea, fitness facilities in airports behind TSA, is simple. The execution of the concept and the actual market launch of the concept is quite complicated. I applaud their tenacity of research and the way they’ve leveraged every possible LCB class project to gather amazing customer research and build a great plan. You will see the first location in SFO within a year and JFK shortly thereafter. They’ve made this real and are launching. Bravo!

Cricket Flours – Charles Wilson (2015 JD) and Omar Ellis (2015 MBA), with help early on from Paul Butler (JD/MBA) successfully pitched their cricket based protein powder business to the judges in a way that focused on their deep understanding of customers, the business model, and their markets while far overcoming anyone’s “You want me to eat what?” objections. Their best customer validation? How about a half dozen or so orders from judges and other competitors over the past 2 days? They have a rapidly growing business that will be a great success story.

I thank the many staff and faculty members who have helped our teams develop into poised and confident entrepreneurs. Specifically, I want to thank Allan Cochrane, my co-instructor for MGMT 625 and the Venture Startup courses. Al has logged many miles and hours helping prepare ‘investor ready’ teams. Additional thanks goes to Michael Crooke and John Hull who have given these teams countless tips and spent a good deal of time coaching them individually and as teams. I should also recognize the contributions of Randy Swangard, who was in attendance as the head of the GVLIC rules committee and without whom the program to do all of this wouldn’t exist. Every faculty member who has taught any class to these fine students should give themselves a pat on the back, as the overall education of our students is outstanding and it shows when we’re up against some of the brightest minds in the world and come out successful.

Although their journey ended in the semi-finals (the competition is tough and only 4 of 10 teams advanced) I am 100% confident that we’ll soon have two more inspiring stories of Oregon MBA led student startups. Success at these competitions shows the depth of research they’ve done and their commitment to making their ideas real. At the end of the day, that’s why we (faculty and staff) do what we do – to inspire students to be the best they can be and reach higher than they might think they can. That is Winning the Day, that is what we do.

Written by Jenny Palm

Jenny a current Oregon MBA and Graduate Teaching Fellow in the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship. When she is not busy exploring how she can change the world, you can find her outside doing almost anything...especially finding that secret stash of powder on her skis! She has hopes to either help develop an awesome outdoor-oriented start-up or flex her organizational prowess in ski resort event operations.

UO Dominates Pitch Stream

The first Saturday in May was a busy day! Not only was it the Kentucky Derby but it was also the Spring Scrimmage game for our football team (Oregon won). However, the most important event was the second annual Pitch Stream hosted by the Fertilab Thinkubator, a local resource network for the Eugene entrepreneurial community. Pitch Stream was held at the Wildish Theater in Springfield and awarded over $5000 in cash and prizes for the winners. 16 companies were selected to present a 7 minute pitch (3 minutes for Q & A) about the awesomeness of their value propositions. Kimmy Gustafson, last year’s winner, Fertilab community manager, and start up CEO, kept the event running smoothly and on time.  Not a small task for entrepreneurs.  Kimmy and her husband Nathan (both UO alms) started Manage My Co-Op, a software platform to ease the coordination of orders for buying clubs.  We were lucky enough to have our two MBA Venture Track teams complete: Cricket Flours and AirFit. I am not sure if it was the luck of the draw or a deliberate arrangement, but Charles B. Wilson started the contest off with a fantastic presentation promoting the health benefits of adding milled crickets to your diet and Cynthia Sandall ended the competition by introducing gyms in airports post security to increase your healthy options during layovers.  Capitalizing on primacy and recency effects, Cynthia took home the People’s Choice award and Charles Wilson took home the grand prize of $2500 in cash. Way to represent Oregon Entrepreneurship, teams!!

 20150502_121508   20150502_150126

Oregon is quite an outdoorsy and health conscious state. But, who says that work and travel need to get in the way of that?  Oregon MBAs and JDs see the potential for everyone to live healthy lives amongst the ever increasing busyness of our daily schedules.  Having the opportunity to exercise over layovers will disrupt the traditional use of time at major airports and help you not miss your daily workout.  And, using crickets as a source of protein in your everyday diet is not only more environmentally sustainable than traditional sources, but provides the opportunity for people to increase the protein and nutrient density in everyday foods.  (Don’t worry, the crickets are milled so fine you can’t even tell they are there.  Once you try it you will get over any ick factor you may have.  Trust me!)

The Entrepreneurship Center at the University of Oregon produces companies in all shapes and sizes. With help from the community, I know these teams will make it far! What is up next for these amazing ventures is the University of Texas at Austin Global Venture Labs Investment Competition held May 7-9, 2015.  Cricket Flours and AirFit will go up against the best graduate venture teams in the country. However, the academic framework, extensive faculty support of Nathan Lillegard and Al Cochrane, and individual drive will no doubt give our teams a fighting chance. If you are in Austin, swing on by the competition and introduce yourself. Who knows, you may be the next great Oregon Entrepreneur!

Written by Jenny Palm

Jenny a current Oregon MBA and Graduate Teaching Fellow in the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship. When she is not busy exploring how she can change the world, you can find her outside doing almost anything...especially finding that secret stash of powder on her skis! She has hopes to either help develop an awesome outdoor-oriented start-up or flex her organizational prowess in ski resort event operations.

MBAs and the First WSBC Action Sports Summit

The First Annual Warsaw Sports Business Club Action Sports Summit took place on Friday, March 6, 2015 up at Mt. Hood Meadows. The undergraduate club assisted by faculty member Whitney Wagoner decided that the idea of sports marketing is expanding far beyond the traditional team and ball sports, which has been the main focus. The club organized an event-filled day which included a keynote speaker, Adam Cozens of The Enthusiast Network to discuss the state of the space, a panel discussion, and an interactive team challenge where groups of students paired with a panel member to tackle a real problem he/she is facing. Finally, the day ended with play time. What is having an action sports summit without participating in some action sports? Students could choose from getting a lift ticket, snowshoeing or yoga. Overall, this inaugural event was very successful and I hope it continues for many years to come.

20150306_112709

The bus left at 5 AM and was primarily filled with undergraduate students, but 5 brave MBA students ventured forth to participate in the first Action Sports Summit. Four were from the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center and there was one lone Entrepreneurship student. But that is okay, since this is right up my alley with my passion for the outdoor industry. Whitney and the WSBC did a great job organizing this event with the panelist representing DaKine, Mahfia.tv, Evo and Mt. Hood Meadows. All brought a different perspective and presented new sets of challenges facing this industry. I found the speaker from Mahfia, Kim Woozy, particularly engaging. She is not only a woman entrepreneur (male dominated field) but also does women action sports (which is often overshadowed by the men). Its hashtag and overarching theme is “killinitsoftly,” which as Kim put it “embodies the female persona. It is usually the woman who stands the side but gets stuff done and makes it happen and pushes the norm without standing up to take the attention.”

My biggest take aways from this experience are 1) this industry is quite sexy and cool, but you still have to work your butt off to prove yourself in whatever role you choose to do; 2) passion and expertise are key. If you lack passion you won’t get very far. If you lack expertise, be willing to learn and take the initiative to get that expertise. Be knowledgeable enough to have an intelligent conversation with someone smarter than you! 3) Embrace who you are and always be authentic. Authenticity is key to any successful brand and that includes the individual. While the snow was a little depressing (everyone do your snow dance now!) the environment and discussions were absolutely amazing and I am glad I survived the hairpin turns on the back roads avoiding the accident on 36 to make it up there.

Written by Jenny Palm

Jenny a current Oregon MBA and Graduate Teaching Fellow in the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship. When she is not busy exploring how she can change the world, you can find her outside doing almost anything...especially finding that secret stash of powder on her skis! She has hopes to either help develop an awesome outdoor-oriented start-up or flex her organizational prowess in ski resort event operations.