About the Arthur W. Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship

Founded in 1991.
Ranked 10th by Entrepreneur, 14th by U.S. News & World Report.

Activities/Resources

The Business Plan Competition has drawn 1,083 start-up teams (3,392 students) from across the UW and around the state to vie for $1.4 million in seed funding from 1998-2013.

The Jones Milestone Awards/Foster Accelerator provides serious start-up teams 6 months of work space and expert mentorship as well as an opportunity to earn up to $25,000 in follow-on funding if they make progress against their milestones.

The Environmental Innovation Challenge (founded in 2009), is a partnership with the College of Engineering and the College of the Environment. The EIC invites interdisciplinary student teams to define an environmental problem, design a solution, produce a prototype, and create a business summary that demonstrates market opportunity and the potential for impact. EIC teams compete for $22,500 in prize money.

The MentorConnect website contains a list and bios of many of the top professionals in Seattle's entrepreneur community. Students can use this website to search for and contact a mentor, or sign up to meet with a mentor during on-campus Office Hours.

Other Programs: Entrepreneurial Law Clinic, EntrepreneurWeek UW, Program in Technology Commercialization (with College of Engineering and Department of Bioengineering), EAT Lunches, BYOB breakfasts, summer internships and fellowships.

Education

22 percent of all Foster School undergrads take at least one course in entrepreneurship, including 128 enrolled in the ENTRE option. Classes include Creating A Company and Venture Investing. New this year is an Entrepreneurship Minor for non-business UW students. The Lavin Entrepreneurship Program provides an accelerated education for a group of especially motivated young entrepreneurs admitted as freshmen.

90 percent of all Foster MBAs take at least one course in entrepreneurship. Also available are New Venture Internships to help commercialize UW technologies, and the Technology Entrepreneurship Certificate for grad students in non-business disciplines.

The bottom line

Over 75 companies launched through the Business Plan Competition are still in business. In 2011 the Buerk Center performed a survey of start-ups still in existence. The 28 respondents employ 641 professionals (220 earning more than $75,000) and posted estimated 2011 revenues of $92,749,000.

Click here to read about some of the Buerk Center alumni that have gone on to turn their businesses into reality.