“Creating A Business” Workshop Series

The Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship is continuing the workshop series, “Creating a Business”.  This workshop series is for students across all Colleges at the University who want to learn how to create a business, but do not plan to take Entrepreneurship courses offered through the College of Business.  It is also intended to prepare student teams to qualify for the Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition.  These workshops are FREE, and no college credits are earned through participation in these workshops.  Students must register, and can do so here.

The workshop series consists of four elements:

  1. The online Udacity course “How to Build a Startup”

Udacity offers a free online course entitled “How to Build a Startup” taught primarily by Steve Blank, based on using Business Model Canvas, developed by Alexander Osterwalder, for how to develop and refine ideas for a new business.  The link to enroll in the course can be found at https://www.udacity.com/course/how-to-build-a-startup–ep245.  The course is taught through a series of video clips totaling around five hours of viewing time.

Steve Blank’s premise is that individuals starting a business should not try to write a business plan before developing the key business concepts and completing significant real-world testing of the hypotheses behind these business concepts.  Business Model Canvas is a great tool for development of a comprehensive business model.

  1. Supplemental workshops

In addition to the video instruction through Udacity, the Ozmen Center will hold seven workshops covering a wide range of topics related to building your business.

Business Lingo and Business Model Canvas (BMC) workshop

It is important for students to understand and begin to employ the appropriate business terms as they move forward. For example, students will learn terms such as “product-market fit” and “customer acquisition cost and long-term value,” as well as why they are important. Business Model Canvas is a tool for developing, refining and testing business concepts.   Many students, particularly if they do not have prior experience starting a business or working for a startup, can benefit from guidance from seasoned entrepreneurs as they begin to employ the BMC tool.

Presented by Jeannie Reeth

Jeannie Reeth is a global Marketing leader and General Manager with more than 20 years experience growing companies and brands of all sizes.  She spent over a decade at eBay where she led Consumer Marketing for North America, managed eBay’s International Marketing team across 30 countries outside the US, and built eBay’s Social Business Unit from the ground up.  Ms. Reeth brings a combination of strategic insight and operational rigor to everything she does and is passionate about developing the next generation of entrepreneurs and marketers.  Ms. Reeth received her BA from Harvard University and began her career at Bain & Company in strategic consulting before helping to build multiple start-ups in the Bay Area in the late ’90’s.  She currently serves as the President of the Harvard Club of Northern Nevada and is CEO and founder of a small gourmet spice business.

Ideation and Team Building workshop

For an idea to have merit as a business, it typically has to solve a problem or meet some unmet need, or do a better job solving a problem or meeting a need than currently available. The most successful startups seem to be created and launched by teams of people, bringing together a variety of skill sets, a diversity of perspectives, a passion for the business idea, and a shared work ethic.  Does the team have members who can fulfill the roles of hacker, huckster and designer (technical, relationships (sales) and visionary)?  Not all entrepreneurs are “the individual with the new idea.”  Most entrepreneurs need help to refine a good idea and move the concept forward.  This workshop will provide opportunities for students to a) get feedback on their ideas, b) attract other students to their teams and/or c) find a team that needs their expertise and energy.

Presented by Rusty Shaffer and Chris Riche

Inventor, Entrepreneur, Business Executive, Rusty Shaffer was the brainchild behind the Fretlight Guitar (www.fretlight.com). Rusty invented the guitar in 1989, patented it and founded Optek Music Systems, Inc. Rusty went on to secure funding for Optek and in 2010, sold a majority stake in the company. Rusty has been the CEO of Optek for over 31 years and left the company in February 2019 to pursue other interests. During his tenure, Rusty engineered the product from simply connecting to a wall outlet and displaying simple chords and scales in 1989 to connecting via Bluetooth to mobile devices and desktop/laptop computers where the Fretlight can display songs note for note, tablature and interactive video lessons. Rusty is highly experienced in all aspects of business from start-up, to overseas manufacturing, to software and digital marketing. The company successfully sold over 75,000 units worldwide under Rusty’s supervision. Rusty has 8 patents credited to him as inventor of various facets of the Fretlight technology.

Rusty has a law degree from Northeastern University Law School, Boston, MA and an undergrad graduate dual degree in mechanical engineering and economics from the University of Connecticut, Storrs CT. Rusty is also an FAA certified instrument instructor pilot. Music being his number one passion, Rusty has played on Stage with various music greats such as Chris Isaak, Brooks & Dunn and America.

Rusty has started a new venture call Seat Amigo (www.seatamigo.com). The app, which recently launched in May of 2019, allows Southwest Airlines passengers to connect, meet and ultimately sit together on their flight in order to take the randomness out of the Southwest Airlines boarding process.

Christopher Riche is a seasoned executive who has successfully grown business in both the B2B and B2C spaces ranging from start-ups through national brands for Fortune 100 companies. Recently, December 2017, the company he joined as employee #11, when the company was virtually unknown, was sold to a private equity firm for top multiples and a price in the nine figures resulting from its high growth rate, high profitability and leadership role in its market. Chris has an MBA in Marketing and an M.S. in MIS.  Chris is in the process of launching a new business, Fox Optimization.

Advancing Your Business Concept

This workshop helps students with testing their hypotheses and refining their business concepts by interacting with people who are not part of the team creating the business idea.  Depending upon the stage of business concept development and testing, these external people can be friends, family, acquaintances, potential customers, competitors, suppliers, and/or partners, or people with experience within the industry.  Determining who to contact, how to make contact, which questions to ask and how to frame questions will vary from business to business.  This workshop will help teams “find their way” through these processes.

Presented by Kelly Northridge

Kelly Northridge is an angel investor who has worked with, started, and grown several entrepreneurial ventures over the past 20 years across industries including corporate services, fashion, biotech and health tech.  She has a background in finance including venture capital and mergers and acquisitions; economic impact; international strategy; change management and organizational development.   Kelly holds a BS in International Business and Economics, cum laude, from the University of Nevada, Reno, an MBA focused in International Sustainable Development from Cornell University, a Master’s in Public Health focused in International Health Management from UCLA, and is a doctoral candidate at the University of Oxford researching how and why investors invest in women and girls.  Kelly is an avid supporter of the University’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and is pleased to serve as the CEO-in-residence at the Innevation Center, as well as the leader of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative at the Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship.  Fall semester she is teaching Applied Entrepreneurship (ENT 403).

Competitive Analysis and Pricing

Not only do business founders need to understand where their startup is positioned relative to direct and indirect competitors, they need to be able to communicate this information to key stakeholders (i.e. their team, potential investors, partners, etc.). They also need to understand how pricing fits into their overall business model and marketing plan. Finally, they should understand the key factors that should be considered in making pricing decisions.

Presented by Matt Westfield and Mark Stiving

Matt Westfield is a Serial Entrepreneur/Investor. His specific startup acumen is in: Scalable software, Horticulture, Graphics, Promotional Products, Scalable non-profits. He has been a Founder/Co-Founder in 7 startups with 4 cash Exits, and 3 interesting experiences!  His 1st cash exit was @ 28, when he sold his debt-free design/build company. Matt is an Owner/Partner in 3 unrelated for-profit companies, and on 4 Board’s. His latest software venture as cofounder of LezGo.io – the 1st ERM -Entrepreneurial Relationship Management software. He is the founder of Entrepreneur’s Assembly (www.EA-Global.org ) – Award-winning Nevada non-profit dedicated to mentoring startups with systems and accountability. 6 Nevada chapters & 6 African Affiliates (www.EA-Africa.org). He has raised over $5M for early stage startups.  He was the charter Judge for the Reynold’s Governor Cup Biz Plan Competition and charter policy member for the Sontag Business Competition. As a business plan mentor, his winners include 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2018. He is the Entrepreneur-in-Residence, University of Nevada Reno College of Business, as well as the Adams Hub incubator, Carson City. Matt holds a Masters Degree in Marketing from City University, Seattle.  Matt is an Adjunct Professor for the University of Nevada, Reno– College of Business since 2011. He is the Chairman Emeritus of JOIN Inc., a $5M private non-profit with 8 chapters around Nevada (2006 to 2012).

Mark Stiving, PhD, MBA, is a widely recognized pricing expert and marketing pro who teaches companies how to boost revenues and realize their true value. With 25+ years experience in price segmentation, pricing product portfolios and visionary pricing, Mark’s analytical skills provide specific direction—and quantifiable results.  Mark has consulted, trained and/or coached hundreds of companies including Cisco, Procter and Gamble, Grimes Aerospace, Splunk, and Crowdstrike.   An award-winning speaker, Mark speaks at professional conferences for the Professional Pricing Society, International Quality and Productivity Center (IQPC), American Marketing Association, Consumer Electronics Design and Installation Association (CEDIA), Marketing Science and other professional settings.  Mark is also the author of Impact Pricing: Your Blueprint for Driving Profits, which has helped business owners answer the fundamental question, “Am I pricing right?

Financial Analysis and Projections

Before proceeding “too far” down the path of a business startup, the founders need to understand the unit economics of their business. Can this business make a profit? Can this business survive on the cash flow generated by the business, or will it need investment during the startup and/or early growth phases? How far in advance is reasonable to make financial projections, and what level of detail is appropriate?

Presenter TBA

Legal Considerations

When creating a new enterprise, common questions include: a) what form of business should we use (i.e. C-Corp, S-Corp, LLC, partnership)? b) what legal considerations should we be concerned about when raising capital? and c) what arrangements make sense for founders’ equity? This workshop addresses these and related issues.

Presented by David Lewandowski

David is a corporate attorney with Fennemore Craig, and entrepreneur himself, who focuses his practice on assisting entrepreneurs with legal issues that arise during the formation, financing, and operational phases of a business.  He counsels business owners in understanding their risks, effectively solving legal problems, and designing strategies to structure and capitalize on opportunities.

Key roles: Founder, Attorney

Key skills: Addressing startup legal issues

Key industries: Tourism, Travel, All startups

Pitch Deck and Pitch

Being able to convey the essential elements of a business idea to others is key to launching a business.  Whether the audience is potential employees, partners, investors or other stakeholders, the team needs to be able to effectively, accurately and succinctly convey key concepts and articulate a call to action.  This workshop will help student teams use the information represented by their BMC to create a presentation slide deck, and then assist the teams to make presentations based upon that slide deck.

Presented by Matt Westfield

  1. Discussion meetings

Discussion meetings will be held periodically throughout the semester, open to all students participating in the Creating a Business workshop series, currently scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday evenings from 5:00 – 6:45pm. More discussion groups may be scheduled, depending upon demand.  Advisors and coaches will be in attendance.

  1. Advisors, coaches, consultants and mentors

Advisors: UNR faculty who have entrepreneurial experience and who will be in attendance at the workshops and at some of the discussion sessions.  They have also set aside a few hours per week, by appointment, for one-on-one assistance to students registered for the Starting a Business workshop series.

Coaches: Entrepreneurs from the community who will also be in attendance at workshops and discussion groups and who are interested in providing “general” assistance to students as they work their way through the Business Model Canvas.  Advisors have also set aside a few hours per week, by appointment, for one-on-one assistance to students registered for the Starting a Business workshop series.

Consultants: UNR faculty members or individuals from the community who are willing to provide specialized expertise in certain areas.  They may offer workshops from time to time, and also have set aside a few hours per month, by appointment, for one-on-one assistance to students registered for the Starting a Business workshop series.

Appointments:  Advisors, coaches and consultants will set aside time for one-on-one appointments with teams.

Mentors – Mentors typically agree to provide assistance to a limited number of teams (one or two).  While student teams may recruit mentors at any point in time, the Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship will ask the individuals who are serving as advisors, coaches and/or consultants for the Starting a Business workshop series not to commit to serving as a mentor for any team until after the end of Fall semester.

The Ozmen center will host a Mentor Mixer for student teams and potential mentors shortly before teams make their initial pitches seeking to qualify for the Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition.

Schedule – Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship

“Creating a Business” Workshop Series

Description Day of Week Date Time Location
Business Lingo & Business Model Canvas workshop Tuesday 09/17/19 5-6:45 p.m. Ozmen Center – AB 402
repeat Wednesday 09/18/19 5-6:45 p.m. Ozmen Center – AB 402
Ideation & Team Building workshop Wednesday 9/25/19 5-6:45 p.m. Ozmen Center – AB 402
repeat Thursday 9/26/19 5 – 6:45 p.m. Ozmen Center – AB 402
Discussion: Product-Market Fit and Value Proposition; Team Building discussion group Tuesday 10/01/19 5 – 6:45 p.m. Ozmen Center – AB 402
discussion group Wednesday 10/02/19 5 – 6:45 p.m. Ozmen Center – AB 402
Advancing Your Business Concept workshop Tuesday (Cancelled) 10/08/19 5 – 6:45 p.m. Ozmen Center – AB 402
repeat Wednesday 10/09/19 5 – 6:45 p.m. Ozmen Center – AB 402
Discussion: Validating your Assumptions; Team Building discussion group Tuesday 10/15/19 5 – 6:45 p.m. Ozmen Center – AB 402
discussion group Wednesday 10/16/19 5-6:45 p.m. Ozmen Center – AB 402
Financial Analysis and Projections (New) workshop Tuesday 10/22/19 5 – 6:45 p.m. Ozmen Center – AB 402
repeat Wednesday 10/23/19 5 – 6:45 p.m. Ozmen Center – AB 402
Competitive Analysis and Pricing (New) workshop Tuesday 10/29/19 5 – 6:45 p.m. Ozmen Center – AB 402
repeat Wednesday 10/30/19 5 – 6:45 p.m. Ozmen Center – AB 402
Legal Considerations: Form of Business, Raising Capital, Founders’ Equity workshop Tuesday 11/05/19 5 – 6:45 p.m. Ozmen Center – AB 402
repeat Wednesday 11/06/19 5 – 6:45 p.m. Ozmen Center – AB 402
Discussion: Customer Segments, Revenue Model, Partners discussion group Tuesday 11/12/19 5 – 6:45 p.m. Ozmen Center – AB 402
discussion group Wednesday 11/13/19 5 – 6:45 p.m. Ozmen Center – AB 402
Pitch Deck and Pitch workshop Tuesday 11/19/19 5 – 6:45 p.m. Ozmen Center – AB 402
repeat Wednesday 11/20/19 5 – 6:45 p.m. Ozmen Center – AB 402
Discussion: Written Business Description Overview and Business Plan discussion group Tuesday 12/03/19 5 – 6:45 p.m. Ozmen Center – AB 402
discussion group Wednesday 12/04/19 5 – 6:45 p.m. Ozmen Center – AB 402