Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of startups do you admit into Launch Pad?
The Launch Pad program focuses on rapidly-scalable, high-growth startup businesses. The majority of those admitted tend to focus on web-based startups or other technology-intensive value propositions. However, not all startups fall into this category we are open to receiving applications for any startups or startup ideas.
Does Launch Pad really have an impact on student startups?
Yes. Recent Launch Pad Scholars have been featured on Shark Tank, raised millions in startup capital, hired many employees and gone on to enjoy careers where they control their own destiny. Want to hear directly from Launch Pad Scholars? Just check the testimonials page to hear directly from Launch Pad Scholars.
Do you take an equity stake in my company?
No. Launch Pad does not take an equity stake in any student startups. We are supported by grants, sponsorships and the university. We do maintain relationships with a variety of capital providers (angels, super angels, venture capital firms and startup accelerators) and can make the appropriate introductions if we feel that they might have interest in you and your idea. Because we are employees of the University System, however, we cannot officially represent you or your business in discussions with these organizations
How do I apply to Launch Pad?
Applicants for the Launch Pad program submit an application which is then reviewed. Approved applicants are then invited to provide a 3 minute pitch on their startup idea. The pitch includes: applicant background, the market to be served, the market need, the product or service and the sustainable competitive advantage.
Can I obtain university credit for being in Launch Pad?
Yes. You can receive up to three university credits through the UW-Whitewater College of Business and Economics, but participation in Launch Pad does not mean that you are automatically enrolled in a course. One of the many benefits of being in Launch Pad is that participants have the option of taking an independent study course as a complement to participating in the program. This option is available to any undergraduate or graduate UW-Whitewater students. You are NOT required to be a CoBE student, only to meet academic performance requirements that would allow you to be accepted into CoBE. When you enroll in this course, your performance would be determined by the Launch Pad Directors.
How long is the program?
The initial period in the Launch Pad program starts and ends with an academic semester. Applications need to be submitted no later than 1 month prior to the semester in which a participant wishes to initially participate. However, unlike many accelerators where participants have a short window to complete all of the developmental stages necessary to solicit capital in a few weeks, we allow a longer time period for the preparatory process. We believe that strong long-term growth prospects can warrant the provision of on-going coaching and access to resources beyond the end of the initial semester. We do require evidence of progression toward the goals of self-sufficiency and viability as a condition of continued participation in Launch Pad. Existing participants may reapply after the initial semester to continue their status.
Startups don't stop during the summer. What happens then?
We can provide ongoing coaching, mentoring and support for student entrepreneurs during the summer as well as during the academic year. If an entrepreneur decides to participate in the program during summer, however, we may require that he/she be present for occasional roundtable meetings during the summer period. We will make every effort to schedule these roundtable meetings at a time that is convenient for the participants.
Do I have to be a business major to be in Launch Pad?
No. We serve all undergraduate and graduate students from all colleges within the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater including: College of Arts and Communication, College of Business and Economics, College of Education and Professional Studies, College of Letters and Science and School of Graduate Studies.
Do you prefer to admit upper division or graduate students?
No. Some of our most successful entrepreneurs are freshmen and sophomores. We select individuals with passion, resilience, intelligence and high-quality, scalable business ideas. The presence of these factors is not necessarily related to academic progression.
Do the leaders of the program really understand "the real world" of startups?
Yes. Our directors and mentors all have "real world experience." They have founded startups, held executive or board positions on startups, invested in startups and consulted with startups. Additionally, they have acted as judges or successful coaches for statewide and national business plan contests.
Do I have to be a University of Wisconsin-Whitewater student to be in Launch Pad?
Yes. Initial participation in Launch Pad requires that participants be undergraduate or graduate students currently enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Continuation in the Launch Pad program may be available for previous participants, but these individuals would be strongly encouraged to continue with other programs associated with the University and the community. Additional programs are available for University of Wisconsin-Whitewater faculty and external regional startups through the Whitewater Innovation Program.
Where is the Launch Pad program held?
Launch Pad training typically takes place in Hyland Hall. One-on-one coaching meetings are typically held at the Innovation Center in the Whitewater University Technology Park. This facility is rapidly becoming a hub of entrepreneurship, innovation and business growth in Wisconsin. This state-of-the-art facility is home to student, faculty and regional startups, which fosters synergies rarely available in many other startup accelerators. Some meetings may also held at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater University Center.