We have a winner! Ozmen Center sponsors UNR student to attend Startup Weekend Reno

The Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship will be sending University of Nevada, Reno student Thiago Arruda to Startup Weekend Reno April 15-17.

He shared with us how the Ozmen Center has inspired him to become an entrepreneur and won our contest!

“Hello Ozmen Center,

My name is Thiago Arruda, Brazilian student at UNR in my last semester here, and for me, The Ozmen center created the environment that I was looking for. A place where you can breathe innovation, new ideas and an entrepreneurship way of thinking and living. I was gradually knowing more about the Center and your branches meanwhile I was pursuing what UNR had to offer about entrepreneurship because I came thinking about bring to UNR the idea of creating a Junior Enterprise, company led by students inside UNR. From it, I met Kylie Rowe and she showed me the EClub, the chance to show this idea on PackPitch last fall. Now, as a member of EClub and doing ENT401, I’m having the keys to understanding even more about business models, start-ups, creativity, how to pitch, and so on. Going to the startup weekend would be the peak of this experience.

Thanks for the opportunity and possibility to go to the Start-up Weekend.”

Congratulations Thiago! We hope you get inspired at Startup Weekend Reno!

Rundown of Events for the Last Week in March

By Brendan Aguiar

We are getting ready for a commendable week here at the Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship. There will be many opportunities for students throughout the week from networking events to idea pitching competitions. Here is a brief description of what’s happening this week.


Today we have our weekly Entrepreneurship Club meeting at the OCE at 12pm. This club often features speakers who discuss the different aspects of creating business start-ups. Next week’s speaker will focus on presenting your ideas.TUESDAY 

On Tuesday we will have our weekly TED Talk Tuesdays. Stop by the OCE anywhere between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. for inspiration and free popcorn as we screen several different TED Talks conferences.


Wednesday is jam-packed starting with our weekly One Million Cups Event at 9 a.m. then the Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition Winner Announcement luncheon at 11:30 a.m. at the Joe Crowley Student Union. You can get free tickets for the event here. We will also have a Speed Mentorship Networking Event at 6 p.m. at the Basement. Complimentary beverages will be provided. Students and mentors sign up here.


2015 NCET Awards white stack new dimensions


The 2016 NCET Awards will recognize the best and brightest technologists and technology companies in Reno. The ceremony will take place at the Atlantis Casino. Tickets can be purchased here.


This Friday will be busy for aspiring entrepreneurs.  Starting at 7:15 a.m. at Reno City Hall is the ASSESS LICENSE LAUNCH where presenters will discuss how to finance a business and alternative sources. Register here for the free event.

Assess License Launch April V3

E-Club will be having their Pack Pitch at the Innevation Center from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Do you have a good business concept? Each competitor will be given 2-4 minutes to pitch their idea to an audience and a panel judges to earn prizes. Any visuals needed to support your concept are recommended. Competing teams will be judged on innovation, market identification, competitive advantage, and financial feasibility.  Submit your idea here.  If you are interested in donating funds for the Pack Pitch winners donate here.


Ignite Reno will also be having it’s ongoing series of speedy presentations by lively and energetic personalities at 6:30 p.m. at 250 Lounge at the Freight House District. Get tickets here.

Brendan Aguiar is the Social Media Intern and the Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship he can be reached here on LinkedIn. 

4 Tips on Networking with Mentors

By Brendan Aguiar

With the Speed Mentorship Networking program coming up this Wednesday, February 24th at the Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship, we would like to provide you with tips for networking with potential mentors. Before we get started, you may be wondering what is a mentor?

A mentor is any person who possesses a certain type of knowledge, resources, and influence in the community, who can help you get your foot in the door for whatever business idea you have or profession you are pursuing. We will be bringing in mentors from throughout the Reno community next Wednesday. Here are five tips to help you network with a potential mentor.

1. Be Prepared

The first thing you should do when getting ready for any event is to make sure you are well prepared. You should always dress to impress. Note, this doesn’t mean anyone should put on lavish make up or buy expensive cufflinks. Be mindful of the kind of event you’re attending and dress appropriately. As for the Speed Mentorship Networking program, casual business attire is recommended. Bringing business cards, portfolios, resumes, sample works, etc. can be useful as well when presenting yourself to potential mentors.

2. Have Clear Goals

Think about what you want to accomplish before you attend the event. It is important to have attainable short term goals.  A short term goal could be as simple as wanting to connect with someone who will help turn your business idea into something tangible or someone who could use your expertise to support their business idea. Smaller goals eventually lead to bigger goals until you finally have the bigger picture.

3. Develop a Social Connection

Although it’s important for you to present yourself to a potential mentor, it is equally important to learn about them as well. Be sure to ask them plenty of questions about who they are and what they do, but also get to know them on a personal level.

Ask for stories rather than answers.

See how they view the world and what led them to their accomplishments and it will lead to a stronger relationship between you and your mentor. Even if the person you’re connecting with isn’t a mentor, be sure to ask them who they may know that could be a potential mentor for you.

4. Schedule a Follow-up

Once you’ve developed a connection with a potential mentor, it is time to follow-up with them. Be sure to ask for their business cards and preferred method of contact. Some people prefer texts and emails while others are more centered around social media.

Regardless of your mentor’s preference, it is a good idea to friend or follow them on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin., etc.

It is also a good idea to do a google search on them and the business they’re a part of as well. Follow-up within 3 days to get the best results.

Learning to network is very useful, not just for building relationships with mentors, but with sales people, business prospects, entrepreneurs, and all kinds of people on a professional and personal level as well. It is a technique that is improved upon over time.

With the right mindset and determination, you will be able to harness and find the mentors you need who can help you move forward and succeed in your business career. Special thanks to sales expert, Alice Heiman, for the networking tips she helped to provide for this blog.

You can learn more about Alice at her website here.  Brendan Aguiar is the Social Media Intern and the Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship he can be reached here on LinkedIn. 

Is Crowdfunding for you? 5 Questions from Expert Debe Fennell

Crowdfunding expert Debe Fennell provided students with her insights into crowd funding from years of experience. She offered a free crowd-funding workshop on Tuesday, April 21, 2015. In case you weren’t able to make the workshop she provided a few questions to consider before launching your next crowdfunding campaign. Before you begin it is important to realize crowdfunding is not for everyone, if you aren’t willing to participate in social media, ask for donations, and have an active mailing list, this list is not for you.

1.  Are you a business?

Sounds simple but the importance of having a business plan will help you identify how much financial support you will need. Before you begin you must begin to establish a legal business and have a business plan. This includes having a marketing strategy and ramping up your social media presence.

2. How much money do you want to raise?

There is a correlation between the amount of money you want to raise and your crowd. For example if you want to raise $5,000 and you have 100 people in your email database, your goal would be to have everyone on this list donate $50. Now you must consider realistically how many in your list will click on the link and donate. A smaller list lessens your funding ability. Social media is another key component of crowdfunding.

3. How big is your database?

Not everyone will donate, but using social media gives you the opportunity to grow your crowd and increase your funding pool. Assessing your crowd can help you identify how you can potentially grow that crowd, using lists you can access from connecting with your network.

“The whole point of crowdfunding it to spread the word about your project, what you’re trying to do, and get others talking about it, sharing it, and widening your sphere of influence to a larger and larger group of people,” according to Debe.

4. Who can benefit from your success?
Once you begin sharing your product or idea there may be clients or vendors who can benefit from your success, meaning they will be more inclined to help you find success.

Debe said, “It’s up to you to create a community with the people who’ve shown an interest in what you’re doing.”

5. How hard are you willing to work?

Successful crowdfunding takes a great amount of effort and the willingness to use all available mediums, including Facebook, Twitter, interviews, articles, attending networking events and mixers.

Crowdfunders ask relatives, friends and businesses to help them and employ creative ways to get their product, business or message out. Crowdfunding requires actively telling people about your project and telling them how donating to the project will reward them.

Debe said, “It takes work, but rewards can be great. You can be sure that if you don’t do the work, marketing, no one will ever know.”

Find out more information about crowdfunding follow Debe on Twitter and Facebook.

Recap: Startup Weekend Reno 2014

The Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship was one of many Startup Weekend Reno sponsors. The event, which challenges teams to build a business in 54 hours, marked the end of Reno’s first Startup Week. Here’s a recap in case you couldn’t attend.

DAY 1: Friday, Nov. 21

One Million Cups Reno organizer Krysta Bea Jackson took a photo at the Freight House at Aces Ballpark before Startup Weekend participants arrived.

Mignon Fogarty teaches a media entrepreneurship course at the University of Nevada, Reno. She shared this picture of the official Startup Weekend shirt:

Nolan Nicholson was one of two University students who won a ticket to Startup Weekend after entering a contest hosted by the OCE.

As Day 1 drew to a close, attention turned to the Startup Weekend trophy.

Read more

OCE announces Startup Weekend ticket winners



Congratulations to University of Nevada, Reno students Jack Currie and Nolan Nicholson. The students won tickets to Startup Weekend Reno after entering a contest hosted by the Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship. Participants were asked to explain how the OCE has helped them.

Check out excerpts from the winning entries:

Read more

OCE Roundup, Nov. 12, 2014

Do you talk in hashtags?
If yes, this job is for you. The Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship is hiring a communications intern. Applications are due by midnight on Nov. 26.

Want to protect your intellectual property?
The OCE–in collaboration with the Nevada Small Business Development Center and the City of Reno–is hosting Assess, License, Launch on Friday. This month’s focus is tech development and how to license your intellectual property. To register, visit the event page.

Startup Week/Weekend
Startup Week begins Monday and concludes with Startup Weekend. The OCE is giving two University of Nevada, Reno students tickets to the event. For contest details, check out this post.

Getting schooled in entrepreneurship
Are you looking for an elective for Spring 2015? Two classes have been added to the University’s entrepreneurship program. Courses are open to undergraduate and graduate students studying any discipline.

Read more

Reno Startup Week celebrates entrepreneurs

A series of social and educational events promoting Reno startups and entrepreneurial thinkers will be held from Nov. 17-23.

Leading up to Startup Week, Chris Guillebeau–author of The $100 Startup–will speak at a Nov. 11 luncheon hosted by the Reno Tahoe Chapter of the American Marketing Association. Non-RSVP tickets are available on a “space-available, first-come, first-serve basis,” according to the event page.

Startup Week events also include a Startup Crawl, a Startup Row tour and Ignite Reno. For the full event schedule, visit www.renostartupweek.com.

The weeklong celebration culminates with Reno Startup Weekend, which begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 21 and ends 9 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 23. Participants will pitch startup ideas, vote to determine the top projects and form teams to build those products.

The Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship will give away two Startup Weekend tickets to University of Nevada, Reno students. Tickets include T-shirts and meals. The contest ends Nov. 14, and details can be found by liking the OCE Facebook page (or, just see below).

Startup Weekend organizers also have a 50 percent off discount code for students. Email OzmenCenter[at]gmail[dot]com for the discount code.

Photo by Kylie Rowe.

Sontag competition offers weekend workshops

Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition organizers will hold the first in a series of weekend workshops designed to prepare students for the contest.

The focus of the Saturday workshop — being held from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. in AB 110 — is the Business Model Canvas, or a blueprint of a business idea and the different aspects that will affect the venture.

The Intent to Compete stage for the Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition ended Oct. 17. Participants will be required to submit a BMC and a preliminary business plan by Nov. 30.

The weekend workshop schedule is below. All meetings will be held from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. in AB 109.

Nov. 1 – Business Model Canvas
Nov. 8 – Marketing
Nov. 15 – Sales
Nov. 22 – Financials

Thanks to Dave Croasdell for the tip.

Edited Nov. 8

Ozmen Center staffer attends Reno’s ‘How to Start a Startup’ group

Photo by Rick Winfield

Photo by Rick Winfield

By Rick Winfield

The Reno Collective, a co-working space on Arlington Street in downtown Reno, hosts a weekly discussion group for How to Start a Startup every Friday from 6-7 p.m.

How to Start a Startup, offered through Stanford University, became somewhat of a legend after Blake Masters posted his detailed notes from the Spring 2012 section of the class. Taught by Silicon Valley legend Peter Thiel (PayPal founder and CEO, Palantir Technologies founder, hedge fund manager, venture capitalist, and the first outside investor in Facebook), Thiel and Masters have gone on to publish a book based on Masters’ notes called Zero to One.

This semester, the class is facilitated by Sam Altman, president of Silicon Valley startup incubator Y-Combinator. The class is made up of twice weekly lectures given by a combination of Silicon Valley “all stars” (including Thiel, Y-Combinator founder Paul Graham, legendary angel investor Ron Conway, and investor/inventor of the Mozilla web browser Marc Andreessen) and the founders of Y-Combinator-backed companies. The lectures follow typical “how to” startup topics, evaluating your idea, building your product, raising money, growing your user base, building your team, PR, etc.

Read more