UW Oshkosh’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) Technology Commercialization program facilitates the transfer of technology and ideas from the research lab to the marketplace – both established and startup. UW Oshkosh students have the opportunity to learn about what it takes to bring products to market by helping researchers evaluate product potential and protect intellectual property as they facilitate collaboration with industry to commercialize innovations.
UW Oshkosh students from any discipline across campus can apply for the CEI entrepreneur team positions. Selected students will work an average of 10 hours per week and be responsible for performing market research, managing product development, soliciting potential customers, formalizing a business entity and eventually commercializing the selected intellectual property. The end goal is to launch a startup company that maintains an exclusive license to the product/service.
Weekly meetups are completed to review the teams progress and connect them with advisory mentors (i.e., manufacturers, attorneys, accountants, marketers, etc) who provide intensive 1v1 business consulting to the team. In addition to these weekly meetings, the team has an opportunity to participate in the CEI’s spring and summer accelerator programs where they can learn about lean startup curriculum practices to effectively validate their assumptions of the business model.
Three UW Oshkosh business administration majors were selected for a CEI technology commercialization team: senior Jessica Tarter of Sommerset, junior Parker Schmidt of Combined Locks and then-senior (now alumnus) Macall Hill, ‘19 of Darien. The trio was presented with five possible products to take to market.
After conducting market research on all five products the team chose the Bee Shield™, originally invented by UW-Superior biology professor and apiary manager Edward Burkett and friend and colleague Kenn Raihala.