UIC student entrepreneurs face challenges, but they’re not giving up on their dreams
Posted November 03, 2018 08:31:21It’s been a busy year for the UIC Entrepreneurship Student Network.
Last fall, the network opened a new facility in St. Peter to house its first-ever student entrepreneurship students, who come to UIC for a semester-long training program that offers a variety of training opportunities, from coding to entrepreneurship.
The network also opened a first-of-its-kind student startup incubator at the university.
And the network has been busy with a slew of new initiatives this year, including launching its first national competition, which it’s calling the Student Entrepreneurs Challenge.
The challenge seeks to recruit and retain a group of students from across the country who are pursuing entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship, and related careers.
“We have a group that we think is incredibly qualified and we have an opportunity to attract them to come to our campus,” said UIC President Michael D. Linskey.
The competition, hosted by the Institute of Technology, the University of Connecticut and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, is open to anyone from anywhere in the country.
Applicants must be at least 18 years old and have completed at least one semester at a UIC-affiliated school or college.
They must also have a high school diploma or equivalent and a net worth of at least $150,000.
The first round of applications will close in early November.
“They are coming from all over the world, but especially from the U-19s.
And they are not coming from places that have had a lot of investment in entrepreneurship,” said Linsker.
For UIC, the Student Challenge offers a chance for students to showcase their skills and to gain valuable experience in an industry that has been slow to catch up.
The network is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and is committed to creating and fostering opportunities for UIC students to become successful entrepreneurs.
Lunsford is a U-18 student who works as a part-time bartender at the bar and grill on campus.
“I think it’s really cool to see a group like UIC coming together to help bring students together, to help them understand how to do business and how to create opportunities for their peers and help them learn how to get started,” said Ms. Lonskey.
In addition to the Student Competition, the UCC also announced a new partnership with UIC’s UIC Venture Accelerator, which provides $250,000 to a program of entrepreneurship projects and startups that are based in UIC.
The UCC will be awarding $50,000 in prizes to the winners of the UCTA, which has already raised more than $3 million.
“This is an opportunity for our students to have an impact and for them to be part of a very big national organization that is helping to support the growth of entrepreneurship in this country,” said David G. Levett, the Executive Director of UIC Ventures, the nonprofit that sponsors the competition.
For the first time, UIC has launched a national competition to recruit young people who want to pursue their passions.
The organization is also recruiting more than 3,000 students from UIC to come in as students this fall and help to grow the network.UIC has partnered with the UConn Entrepreneurs Network to launch a series of new, more collaborative, and entrepreneurial programs.
The program, called the Startup Academy, will teach students how to apply to the U of I, and how the network’s students and alumni will be used to launch and grow startups across campus.
The Academy will begin at the Uic campus in 2019, with the first students expected to graduate in 2021.
Students can also apply for the $25,000 UIC Career Award, which is awarded to students who have completed a two-year program and have a net wealth of $150 and have established themselves as entrepreneurs in their community.
The UIC Community Entrepreneurs Award program will give up to $2,500 in grants to local businesses to help launch their businesses, and a $1,000 scholarship will be awarded to one UIC entrepreneurship student.
For more information, visit uiccommunityentrepreneurs.com.