You developed an app that might have a place in the market and are conducting beta testing – but what comes next? Do you form an LLC? Do you need a trademark?
These were just a few of the questions that junior Timothy Caish had when he walked into StartUpUMW, hosted by the UMW Center for Economic Development (CED).
One of five students in the pilot program this fall, Caish is learning essential skills and strategies for starting and running a business. Pooling resources from the CED’s network of business owners, the program creates a packaged education that leads young entrepreneurs through ideation and planning to the final pitch. Students meet once a week to hear faculty, staff and local business owners share their knowledge and expertise on topics like commercialization, business models, legal structure, marketing and accounting.
“We’re really passionate about providing applied learning opportunities and real-world experiences to undergraduate students,” said Kelsey Whitman, a 2014 alumna and EagleWorks business incubation program manager who initiated the StartUpUMW program. “We wanted to extend the services and resources [the CED] offers to local businesses to the student body and get them connected with people who have been through the process.”
For Caish, the program is the launching pad for his app, Safety Simplicity, which he developed as a personal security support tool for students studying abroad with UMW’s Center for International Education.
“I was in the beta-testing phase this summer and had no clue where to go next,” said Caish, a computer science major who took iOS development courses on his way to making the app. “StartUpUMW helped me immensely.”
Designed to provide a safety network for individuals, the app includes a live feature that can send danger alerts or “I’m safe” notifications to selected groups of family and friends. Caish is currently talking to a lawyer about trademarking, planning to start an LLC, and working to further his app development hobby. He hopes to have Safety Simplicity on the market in early 2017.
“It helps your network understand when you might need help,” said Center for International Education Director Jose Sainz, who had 17 students test the app during this summer’s UMW in Spain program, “It was useful for us as students landed in Spain or were walking home in the dark and couldn’t find a taxi.”
StartUpUMW is accepting applications for students interested in participating in the spring 2017 program. To apply or learn more, visit http://economicdevelopment.umw.edu/student-entrepreneurship/, or contact Kelsey Whitman at 540-654-1038 or email@example.com.