Taking Action with WAVE During a Pandemic

By Megan Stock

“Don’t talk yourself out of things; every action you take makes you better,” said Bruce Neviaser, WAVE Advisory Board Member and Principal of Imagine Resorts & Hotels. Bruce shared his entrepreneurial journey with students in Weinert Applied Ventures in Entrepreneurship (WAVE) class in February. WAVE is an applied learning practicum focusing on starting or growing an entrepreneurial business. The class serves as a capstone for many of the students in the Fellowship program and is open to all graduate students.

In reflecting on my past year in the Fellowship program and in WAVE, Bruce’s words have been extremely encouraging. There is so much uncertainty in the world right now, but the only way to start making progress and learning from this experience is to take action. Without making light of the current situation, I see many similarities in entrepreneurship and the philosophy practiced in WAVE. Getting ideas outside of your head to talk to people; taking action is what allows you to succeed. Small business owners are displaying this experimentation and resilience now as they offer services and products in ways they had not considered two months ago.

This semester, 16 students from across campus made up five business teams. A variety of business ideas were under development this semester including a sensor technology to monitor variables in food production, a bio-based recycled PET plastic technology, a tool to improve tumor localization procedures, an essential oil extraction kit, and an indoor dog park and bar. The students were from backgrounds as diverse as the startups, specializing in business, biomedical and mechanical engineering, law, and synesthetic biology. The assortment of ideas and backgrounds brought unique perspectives to the weekly discussion and enhanced the conversations.

Following the Lean Start-Up approach for customer and market discovery, groups present on a different area of their business model canvas focusing on the experiments that led them to the information presented. Rich discussions allowed us to learn the motivations, explanations, and customer insights that led teams to their recommendations. Each week, I was motivated by the progress teams made and the engagement and ownership groups showed for their businesses. The detail that goes into taking an idea and turning it into a viable business model is difficult to teach, that’s why the WAVE class pairs business principals with experimentation so each team can learn what works for their specific product, market, and customer.

Read the full article at: https://bus.wisc.edu/centers/weinert/blog/2020/05/06/taking-action-with-wave-and-the-fellowship-in-enterprise-development-programs?utm_source=iContact&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ctr-weinert-news&utm_content=2020-05-entreprenews