Starting A Business Workshop Series

The Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship is launching a workshop series “Starting a Business”.  This workshop series is for students across all Colleges at the University who want to learn how to start 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–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 four workshops:


Team Building & Ideation workshop.  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.”  Some entrepreneurs have skills needed to help refine a good idea and move the concept forward.  For an idea to have merit as a business, it typically has to solve problem or meet some unmet need, or do a better job solving a problem or meeting a need than currently available.  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.


Business Model Canvas (BMC) and Business Lingo workshop.  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.  It is important for students to understand and begin to employ the appropriate business terms as they move forward.  As examples, students need to understand the distinction between ”revenue” and “profit” or between “margin” and “markup.”


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.


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.


  1. Discussion meetings


Discussion meetings will be held at least two times per week, open to all students participating in the Starting a Business workshop series: 1) brownbag lunches from 12-1 p.m. on Mondays, 2) coffee klatch from 8-9 a.m. Wednesday mornings.  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 immediately following the pitches made by teams seeking to qualify for the Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition.

Ideation & Team Building

Tod Colegrove

Tod Colegrove is a physicist, serial entrepreneur, and professional librarian. He holds doctorate and masters degrees in physics, a master of library and information science degree with concentration in competitive intelligence and knowledge management, has over fourteen years of experience in high-tech private industry, and has taught physics, astronomy, and honors coursework at the University for over a decade.


His career in libraries has grown from Information Systems Specialist, through Manager of the “@One” Information Commons of the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center, to his most recent role as head of the DeLaMare Science & Engineering Library. A common thread throughout has been his passion for catalyzing the transformation of the library from merely quiet repositories of print materials into vibrant hubs of knowledge creation – leveraging technology to enable the library to realize an ever more central role in its communities.


A recognized leader of the maker movement, and a pioneer of the impact that makerspaces in libraries can have on learning, discovery, and engagement, under Dr. Colegrove’s leadership the library went on to become the first academic library in the United States to offer 3D printing and scanning services available not only to students and staff of the University, but to members of the greater community. The resulting explosion of innovation and creativity resulted in the library being named one of the Most Interesting Makerspaces in America by Make magazine, and receiving the Most Innovative Space Award from the regional economic development authority. His work is acclaimed internationally, with invited presentations ranging from TEDx speaker and congressional panels in Washington D.C. to international service that has ranged from work with the International Baccalaureate program in The Hague, to opening a makerspace/Fab Lab with the Belarus State University Fundamentals Library in Minsk, Belarus, and, most recently, work with the top colleges and libraries in China at the intersection of libraries, innovation and entrepreneurship, and design.


Christopher Riche

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.



Business Model Canvas & Business Lingo

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.



Advancing Your Business Concept

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).


Pitch Deck & Pitch

Matt Westfield


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 – the 1st ERM -Entrepreneurial Relationship Management software.   He is the founder of Entrepreneur’s Assembly ( ) – Award-winning Nevada non-profit dedicated to mentoring startups with systems and accountability. 6 Nevada chapters & 6 African Affiliates ( 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).

Schedule – Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship “Starting a Business” workshop series
Description Day of week Date Time Location
Ideation / Team Building workshop Thursday 09/20/18 5-6:45 p.m. DeLaMare Library, Rm 301
repeat Saturday 9/22/18 10-11:45 a.m. AB 108
Business Model Canvas & Business Lingo workshop Thursday 09/27/18 5-6:45 p.m. DeLaMare Library, Rm 301
repeat Saturday 09/29/18 10-11:45 a.m. AB 108
How to Build a Startup – What we now discussion group Monday 10/01/18 12-1 p.m. Ozmen Center – AB 402
know & Business Model customer dev. discussion group Wednesday 10/03/18 8-9 a.m. MIKC 221
Advancing Your Business Concept workshop Thursday 10/04/18 5-6:45 p.m. DeLaMare Library, Rm 301
repeat Saturday 10/06/18 10-11:45 a.m. AB 108
How to Build a Startup – More Business discussion group Monday 10/08/18 12-1 p.m. Ozmen Center – AB 402
Model customer development. discussion group Wednesday 10/10/18 8-9 a.m. MIKC 221
How to Build a Startup – Value discussion group Monday 10/15/18 12-1 p.m. Ozmen Center – AB 402
proposition. discussion group Wednesday 10/17/18 8-9 a.m. MIKC 221
How to Build a Startup – Customer discussion group Monday 10/22/18 12-1 p.m. Ozmen Center – AB 402
segments discussion group Wednesday 10/24/18 8-9 a.m. MIKC 402
How to Build a Startup – Channels discussion group Monday 10/29/18 12-1 p.m. Ozmen Center – AB 402
discussion group Wednesday 10/31/18 8-9 a.m. MIKC 221
How to Build a Startup – Customer discussion group Monday 11/05/18 12-1 p.m. Ozmen Center – AB 402
relationships. discussion group Wednesday 11/07/18 8-9 a.m. MIKC 221
How to Build a Startup – Revenue model. discussion group Tuesday 11/13/18 12-1 p.m. Ozmen Center – AB 402
discussion group Wednesday 11/14/18 8-9 a.m. MIKC 221
Business and Legal Considerations Regarding Funding workshop Thursday 11/15/18 5-6:45 p.m. DeLaMare Library, Rm 301
repeat Saturday 11/17/18 10-11:45 a.m. AB 108
How to Build a Startup – Partners discussion group Monday 11/26/18 12-1 p.m. Ozmen Center – AB 402
discussion group Wednesday 11/28/18 8-9 a.m. MIKC 402
How to Build a Startup – Resources, discussion group Monday 12/03/18 12-1 p.m. Ozmen Center – AB 402
activities and costs. discussion group Wednesday 12/05/18 8-9 a.m. MIKC 221
Pitch Deck & Pitch workshop Thursday 12/13/18 5-6:45 p.m. DeLaMare Library, Rm 301
repeat Saturday 12/15/18 10-11:45 a.m. AB 108