Impact Report

Notes from The Director

As we review another successful academic year, I am eager to highlight the achievements of student entrepreneurs that have engaged with the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at UW Oshkosh.
The Center impacted dozens of students across all colleges with it’s dynamic programming and one-on-one consulting — supporting the startup, funding, and growth of many student-led ventures. From participation in competitions to hands-on programs, students learn and practice in all aspects of entrepreneurship, resulting in the development of an entrepreneurship mindset that is beyond valuable in today’s World.
We are grateful for the support of our staff, faculty, students, alumni, and the greater university community, as the passion and commitment to the development of student entrepreneurs is truly pivotal to their success personally and professionally.
Furthermore, in alignment with the University programs, our engagement with local high schools has ignited the entrepreneurial spirit in youth across Wisconsin. We are happy to give back and support the upcoming generation of entrepreneurs.
Lastly, we are proud to serve a pivotal role in the development of a Higher Education Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Toolkit, generously funded by the Kaufmann Foundation. This toolkit will revolutionize entrepreneurial education nationwide by promoting collaboration and resource-sharing among higher education institutions.

We look forward to the community’s continued support as we embark on a new and exciting year of entrepreneurial programming at UW Oshkosh!


Dan Brosman
Executive Director

Learn more about uwo cei

Event Highlights

High School Business Plan Competition May 21, 2022
Culver's Business Model Competition April 7, 2022

  By the numbers

combined investment and revenue generated

program funds invested into student businesses


Active funded companies

Student consultations

Jobs created

Student businesses funded

Students received the family business and entrepreneurship concentration

Students earned their entrepreneurship certificate in 2021-2022


A hub of rapid, engaging, impactful innovation on the UW Oshkosh campus, the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation empowers students and community members to find their own places and spaces in the startup world. These signature programs continue to encourage students on their path to becoming world-class innovators and entrepreneurs. Here are a few updates from the 2022-2023 academic year. The Center focuses on three main areas during the academic year. 

Learn about Entrepreneurship

Today every business needs to be innovative to compete in the marketplace and they seek employees with an entrepreneurial mindset. UWO provides students with experiential opportunities to build knowledge in the development of new business ventures, as well as support innovation and growth in existing businesses.

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Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation

The Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation compliments any major program at the university by providing a pathway to pursue the study of entrepreneurship and innovation in a cross-disciplinary approach – empowering students to use innovative thinking, in their pursuit of knowledge.

6 students earned their entrepreneurship certificate in 2021-2022

Entrepreneurship Internships

The Entrepreneurship Internship provides College of Business students the opportunity to focus on their business ventures while earning internship credit to graduate.  

This is an alternative option for students who envision starting or growing their own business as opposed to seeking traditional employment upon graduation. The business endeavor may come in the form of researching a nascent (idea stage) venture, assisting/launching an early-stage venture, or working on an existing venture project. 

2022-2023 STATS:

  • 4 students completed an internship in the Fall of 2020.
  • 3 students completed an internship in the Spring of 2021.


Family Business/Entrepreneurship Concentration

A Family Business/Entrepreneurship Concentration provides management majors with the training and knowledge they need to launch new businesses, develop new entrepreneurial ventures within existing firms, or manage family businesses.

Collegiate Entrepreneurs' Organization (CEO)

The Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) at UW Oshkosh informs, supports, and inspires students to be entrepreneurial and seek opportunity through enterprise creation. In addition to providing a peer support system for students interested in entrepreneurship, CEO provides opportunities in networking, leadership development, and hands-on experience. 

Speaker Series

In collaboration with Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization, speakers are invited monthly to share their entrepreneurial experiences with students. The speaker series gives students a glimpse into the life of successful entrepreneurs and fosters beneficial connections within the Wisconsin startup ecosystem.

Our speaker line up in 2022-2023 consisted of the following:
  • September 2022 – Tyrone Powell, Founder & CEO of Unext
  • October 2022 – Joe & Tammy Lefeber, Owners of Cruisin’ Tikis OSH
  • December 2022 – Kimberly Stoeger, Owner of Nutritional Healing
  • February 2023 – Jason Salisbury, Cornerstone Business Services
  • March 2023 – Tamara Mugerauer, Tamara’s the Cake Guru
  • April 2023 – Alex Belville, Founder of Mirrorless Productions
  • May 2023 – Sean Lynch, Owner of Winnebago Bicycle


Starting A Business

Education and training are critical components to success in business. However, working within the business provides an experience that is often unmatched by formal education. We offer two cohort-based programs that are designed to test early-stage concepts, validate key areas of the business model, and accelerate the growth of a venture to the next level.

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Titan Accelerator Program

The Titan Accelerator Program is a 10-week cohort-based program that assists student participants with the development of their ventures through a hands-on lean-startup curriculum focused on business model validation and product-market fit. Students are provided with funding, mentors, and other essential resources to gain skills to advance their entrepreneurial knowledge.

2022-2023 STATS:

  • In the tenth year of operation
  • 20 applications with five teams accepted into the program

  • *iSense Data| Jessica Solano; Human Services Leadership 
  • *Luster Technology | Cole Saathoff; Business 
  • *Life Map | Maggie Baiyewu; Leadership and Development 
  • Shadowbox Studios | Jana Simmerman; Business Management 
  • Rzad Softworks (Rzervit) Adrian Girone; Information Systems 

*These three teams were invited to participate in the Summer Incubator Program.

Summer Incubator Program

The Summer Incubator Program is an extension of the Titan Accelerator Program that provides participants with additional funding and resources. In 2021, four teams were selected to participate. The companies have an exclusive opportunity to focus 100% on the growth of their businesses. Teams receive office space and additional funding of $5,000, which allows them to work on their businesses full-time throughout the summer. Students receive 1-on-1 consulting with the Center and are connected to mentors during weekly lunches. To date, 18 companies have participated in this program with over $160,000 of capital infused into student businesses. 

  • iSense Data, Jessica Solano
    At iSense Data, we use IoT technology to help people with sensory disorders. We make sensory products that are personalized to each individual, so they can have better sensory experiences and receive more effective treatment. Our devices collect data about how users respond to different sensory inputs, which gives caregivers, professionals, and families valuable insights to provide personalized support.
  • Luster Technology, Cole SaathoffLuster Technology‘s initial product is rethinking the light switch as we know it. Our initial product is a smart light switch where we have completely removed all physical movement in favor of a minimalist, nearly flat design.
  • Life Map, Maggie Baiyewu 
    • Life Map is a platform that organizes your personal and family information so that when you need it, it’s a secure login away. In addition to storing and organizing personal information, our app will provide support for our users when facing new situations like registering to vote, obtaining a driver’s license, applying for college, and learning about retirement plans. 

Competing For Funding

The Center offers several on-campus and off-campus competitions for students to compete for seed funding and in-kind support resources. Participation in business pitch events provide many benefits and “unlock” further professional and startup development resources. We meet students where they are and offer tailored assistance to support their needs.

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Elevator Pitch Contest

Co-hosted with the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) at UW Oshkosh, the 90 Second Elevator Pitch Contest is a low-barrier opportunity for students to pitch their business idea in a welcoming environment. 

  • First Place – Cole Saathoff – Luster Technology – $1,000 cash
  • Second Place – Ari Malloy – Soulution – $350 cash
  • Third Place – Matthew Hansen – Forest Fit Clothing – $150 cash

Read more on The Advance-Titan –  UWO’s own ‘Shark Tank’ casts $1,500 to innovative students

Culver Business Model Competition

In its ninth year, the Culver’s Business Model Competition provides students with an opportunity to compete for seed funding, in-kind assistance, and access to other venture development resources.

  • First Place – Colin Schuler – Spot2Hunt
    Received: $15,000 in cash and in-kind prizes
  • Second Place – Baylee Cottrell – Blush House
    Received: $9,000 in cash and in-kind prizes
  • Third Place – Cole Saathoff – Luster Technology
    Received: $6,000 in cash and in-kind prizes

14 students applied to compete; 10 students pitched

Read more on The Advance-Titan  – Students compete for $30,000

The Pitch (Northeast WI Regional Pitch Contest)

The Pitch is a startup business pitch competition among college student teams in Northeast Wisconsin. Competing teams have advanced from their campus competitions or at-large round and have the opportunity to win cash and in-kind services to further their entrepreneurial pursuits.

Two students represented UW Oshkosh at the 2023 event. Colin Schuler (Spot2Hunt) and Baylee Cottrell (Blush House) qualified from the Culver’s Business Model Competition.

WI Big Idea Tournament

The Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament is an entrepreneurship competition open to undergraduate and graduate students attending University of Wisconsin System school across the state (except UW-Madison). The competition teaches cutting-edge lean startup business development tools, provides business mentorship and allows participants to compete at a state level for a chance to win seed funding for their idea.

Jessica Solano – iSense Data – represented UW Oshkosh 

 2022-2023 Advisory Board

We acknowledge that a strong support team is imperative for our student’s success. Thank you to our 2021-2022 Advisory Board members for their commitment to the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation by providing top-quality mentorship to our students, as well as advisement support to our program staff.

John Beré
Alta Resources, Vice President – Care Operations

Dennis Bonn
Alta Resources, Vice President of Marketing

Chris Burns
Midwest Fleet and Safety, The Social Station, Co-Founder

Will Deppiesse
Nicolet National Bank, VP – Commercial Banking

Jon Dudzinski
Mersberger Financial Group, Inc.
Portfolio Manager 

Kevin Eismann
Davis & Kuelthau, s.c, Shareholder & Business Attorney

Arnie Enz
A.J. Enz & Company, Founder/Principal

Christine Gantner
UW Oshkosh, Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving

David Gerczak
WatchCo.com, Founder, President and CEO

Russ Katzman
Progeny, Founder/CEO

Jason Kreidler
J.J. Keller and Associates, Director of Innovation

Bob Larsen
J.J. Keller and Associates, VP of Research and Development

Marcos Mello
sBusiness Brazil, Founder

Colleen Merrill
Wisconsin SBDC, Associate State Director

John Muraski
UW Oshkosh, Assistant Professor

Tricia Rathermel
GO EDC, President and CEO

Lisa Schulze
Boldt, HR Business Partner Director

David Swintosky
Dunning Capital, Managing Director 

Jason Tienor
Telkonet, Inc., CEO and President

Priscila Troian
Amcor, Sr R&D Director

David Trotter
Winnebago Seed Fund, Founder and Managing Director

Alta Resources Logo 2020


Thank you, Alta Resources, for 8 years of the initiative, enthusiasm, and support in developing student entrepreneurs. Through Alta’s contributions, the Alta Resources Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation has engaged thousands of students, assisted dozens of businesses, and created hundreds of new jobs in our communities. The legacy of Alta’s gift will live on in all the businesses you supported and will continue to have a lasting impact in the Fox Cities and across Wisconsin.