FOCUSED ON A NEW IMPERATIVE
Chancellor Sheila Edwards Lange
Teaching and scholarship related to entrepreneurship is a critical component of our work as an urban serving university. It drives both social and economic mobility for our students and the region.
Milgard School of Business
Dean, Altaf Merchant
The Milgard School aims to create and nurture entrepreneurs who will be catalysts of economic development in our region. We are building a future in which strong companies and nonprofits will be spun out of our backyard.
Director, Jill Purdy
Our goal is to bring students, faculty, staff, and the community together to build leaders in innovation and entrepreneurship. We promote an entrepreneurial mindset and connect entrepreneurs to the information, talent, and resources that they need to succeed.
Entrepreneurship is everywhere at UW Tacoma. Across our campus and our community, people are engaged in generating ideas, solving problems, building solutions, and fulfilling needs to create value for others.
FEATURED PLACES / FEATURED SPACES:
Milgard Hall is UW Tacoma’s newest building, designed and built with a focus on collaboration. Housed together are the Milgard School of Business, the School of Engineering and Technology, and the Global Innovation and Design Lab. Together with UWT’s VIBE business incubator, these academic areas are connecting to foster new programs that support entrepreneurs. https://www.tacoma.uw.edu/advancement/milgardhall
The Global Innovation and Design Lab promotes innovation through design thinking across the UW Tacoma campus and community. Its courses and workshops support user-focused problem solving with rapid prototyping and testing of solutions.
VIBE incubator provides a welcoming environment for entrepreneurs, with coaching, mentoring and a business plan competition for all students. Its special emphasis on serving veterans leverages the talents and experience of our military-connected students.
The UW Tacoma Library Makerspace provides UWT students, staff, and faculty with the tools and resources to build and prototype their next great idea! The social, multidisciplinary, and collaborative environment connects you with UW Tacoma’s creative community.
CONGRATULATIONS VIBE COMPETITION WINNERS
The VIBE's Business Plan Competition (BPC) allows entrepreneurial-minded college students to showcase their business plans to investors and promote new business creation in the South Sound. After a two-year hiatus, the BPC was back in 2023 with business plan submissions from veterans and students all over Washington. The field was narrowed to the “sweet sixteen” who showcased their business ideas in a trade-show style event on February 16. Eight finalists advanced to the final round, where they made pitch presentation to a panel of funders and entrepreneurs..
Learn more about our 2023 contest winners in South Sound Business
1st place: $30,000 ($15,000 cash + $15,000 in-kind services)
2nd place: $5,000
3rd place: $2,500
Meet our Entrepreneurs in Residence
CEO and Founder, Reach Service LLC
Greg Biersack is a multi-disciplinary senior executive, able to lead and collaborate across numerous functions. Greg is the CEO and Founder of Reach Service LLC, (reachforservice.com) a company dedicated to helping service technicians succeed and eliminating stress for clients associated with dental equipment. He is responsible for providing the vision and direction for the company. He also manages the company’s finances, marketing efforts and technology direction. The company currently serves dental offices in OR, WA, CA, MO and KS, with a goal to serving practices nationwide within the next 5 years.
Prior to starting his own company, he was VP of Operations at Burkhart Dental, acting as both the COO and CFO. As the VP of Operations, Greg led and developed deep expertise in multiple functional areas, including finance, marketing, human resources, information technology, legal, and operations. His efforts resulted in continued operational improvements and increased profitability. His leadership helped to shape a positive culture that resulted in Burkhart being rated one of Washington’s Best Places to work. Earlier, as VP of Sales, Greg led and accounted for 15 branch locations, guiding the company to six consecutive years of record setting sales growth.
Greg has served as a Marketing Professor at UW Tacoma since 2017. He brings real life experiences and practical knowledge to the classroom, creating excitement for his students about becoming a business leader in the community. His students view him as a caring coach and mentor for their college experience and in preparation for professional career success.
Dedicated and service-minded, Greg spent his early career serving nine years of active duty in the Navy, including serving as a Naval Flight Officer during Desert Storm and Desert Shield.
Greg has been a part of several nonprofit and community boards, including the Goodwill Heritage Foundation, University of Washington—Tacoma Milgard Executive Council (receiving their Business Leader of the Year Award), and the Tacoma/Pierce County Economic Development Board. Greg holds a BSA and MBA from the Fisher School of Business at The Ohio State University.
Founder & CEO, Celebrity Gourmet Ventures
Ms. D’Aniello holds a BA in Political Science and East Asian Studies from the University of Arizona, a Master in Education from the University of Guam, and a Certificate in Food Finance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Odette is a graduate of the Business Growth Collaborative program and the Minority Executive Business Program, both at the UW Foster School of Business. She is a native of the Philippines who also grew up in Guam.
Along with her entrepreneurial expertise, Odette is a former educator who is dedicated to supporting learning and growth among entrepreneurs. Odette is a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), a global network of business owners whose companies earn more than $1 million in annual revenue. She serves as EO’s Accelerator Expert for the U.S. West, guiding entrepreneurship education and mentoring programs for EO programs in 9 states. She serves as a mentor to women and BIPOC small business owners in western Washington and has served as a judge for Seattle University’s Business Plan Competition. She has been featured in various podcasts and publications, and a November 2022 interview can be found at https://youtu.be/fggKrkL0gw0
FEATURED COURSES IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP:
Innovation and Design Studio
Studio-based course focused on situated, practical, and adaptive design. Students work in small teams where they undertake design projects to develop innovative solutions to challenges arising within the campus, local community and beyond.
T MGMT 474
Entrepreneurship: Idea Development
OFFERED SPRING 2023
Explores techniques used to develop business opportunities. Examines the heart of entrepreneurship: the idea. Focuses on idea development, emphasizing the strategic feasibility of the business idea. Builds critical thinking skills and encourages professional communication skills via student projects and class activities.
T INST 475
Entrepreneurship in Computing and Software Systems
Study of the process of developing a product or service in the field of computing and software systems, preparing a plan for commercialization, and implementing that plan.
MINOR IN INNOVATION AND DESIGN
The Minor in Innovation and Design (25 credits) equips students with ways of thinking, creating, and intervening in problems in the world in a way that invites collaboration and ethically engages communities. Learn more >>
Maritime Blue: Tacoma Maritime Innovation Incubator
RAIN: Biotechnology incubator
SpaceWorks Tacoma: Creative Community
William Factory Small Business Incubator