The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Alta Resources Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) and WiSys announce a new collaboration that will result in the development of the WiSys Entrepreneur Team.
The team will assist in the development and expansion of WiSys-owned intellectual property (IP) and will work towards successful IP commercialization by working collaboratively with customers, mentors, faculty, economic development entities and the business community. UWO students will gain a true startup experience focused on product development and sales.
Colleen Merrill, executive director of UW Oshkosh Alta Resources CEI, said the new partnership is a win-win for everyone involved and will amplify CEI’s and WiSys’s ability to grow the entrepreneurship environment in the state of Wisconsin.
“This partnership illustrates our commitment to support experiential learning, entrepreneurial activity and initiatives that provide a tangible economic impact. We will focus on highly scalable technology to develop strong community-supported startups that will employ regional talent and tap into the vast supply chain throughout the New North,” Merrill said.
Originating in 2013 from very “grassroots” and humble beginnings, the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) has grown to an entity recognized across the region and globally for its entrepreneurial programming, businesses launched and seven-figure funding from local supporters.
With the support of Alta Resources, the CEI has welcomed hundreds of students through the personalized consultations and the entrepreneurship speaker series and accepted 80 students into their idea pitch contests. Twenty-five students have completed the accelerator program, in which they were equipped with grant seed funding, mentor support and the environment to validate their business concept, often resulting in the launch of their own business.
WiSys is a unique nonprofit supporting organization of the UW-System that helps great ideas—born on University of Wisconsin System campuses—reach the wider world by connecting inventors and businesses with the resources they need.
For 18 years, WiSys’ experienced licensing managers have worked hand-in-hand with innovators (UW students, professors, researchers and artists) from almost every field of study to protect their ideas and bring them into the commercial marketplace. Currently, there are 34 cutting-edge technologies listed on the WiSys online catalog of innovations from students, professors, researchers and artists throughout the UW System.
Shaping the future
UW Oshkosh students from any discipline across campus are encouraged to apply for the WiSys 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.
Chancellor Andrew Leavitt is grateful to WiSys and the staff at UWO’s Alta Resources CEI for opening this door to Titans.
“The WiSys Entrepreneur experience will be as transformational for UW Oshkosh students who earn the job as it is for our state. Not only will four students get an incredible opportunity to collaborate with and learn from faculty, economic development leaders and start-up visionaries, but they also will be part of a strategic team helping identify and bring new ideas, products, services and companies to life in Wisconsin,” Leavitt said.
WiSys president Arjun Sanga said his staff is excited about the partnership.
“We’re excited to partner with Alta Resources Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation to engage UW Oshkosh students as WiSys entrepreneurs to create new companies based on our WiSys technologies,” Sanga said. “Tapping into Alta Resources’ top-notch business process programs will be instrumental in launching these new businesses.”
The WiSys entrepreneur position is posted, and UW Oshkosh Alta Resources CEI is now accepting applications on behalf of WiSys. The project is expected to kick off at the beginning of the spring semester and continue and expand into the summer.
“We are excited to tap into the expertise on campus while engaging students in a unique (and real-world) startup experience. We anticipate that the UW Oshkosh Alta Resources Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation will help students commercialize numerous innovative products in the years to come,” Merrill said.