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Resource Nights: ENTRE 440/540

Resource Nights (ENTRE 440/540 Business Plan Practicum), offered throughout winter quarter by the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, bring in experts from the local entrepreneurial community to teach various aspects of creating a startup venture, from idea generation to legal issues to raising capital. Attending Resource Nights (ENTRE 440/540) is a great way to prepare for the Dempsey Startup Competition (Dempsey Startup) , the Environmental Innovation Challenge (EIC), and the Health Innovation Challenge (HIC).

Resource Nights

Thursdays, 1/10/19 through 3/14/19
6-7:50 p.m.
2 credits, Pass/No Pass basis
PACCAR Hall, room 192 (Shansby Auditorium)

Optional class credit

Resource Nights lectures are open to the community, but only UW students may register to take the class for credit. UW students can take Resource Nights for 2 credits by registering for ENTRE 440 (undergraduate) or ENTRE 540 (graduate), Business Plan Practicum. Undergraduate students register as usual. Graduate students email

Resource Nights 2019 Schedule

There will be guest speakers at nearly every session, and Resource Nights sessions are open to students and the public. These CEOs, CFOs, CMOs, CTOs and functional experts, come from industries ranging from software to healthcare and from finance to food to fashion; and experience from failures, major saves to IPOs.

You can expect to see speakers such as:
Tom Gonser—founder, Docusign (DOCU)
Amy Nelson—founder, the Riveter
John Gabbert—CEO, Pitchbook
Hope Cochran—CFO, King/Clearwire, director Hasbro
Terry Drayton—CEO of Livible,
Ben Gilbert—Founder, Pioneer Square Labs
Ambika Singh—Chief Bosslady, Armoire
Xiaoyu (Renee) Wang—CEO, Castbox
Other early stage founders and teams
Other marketing, legal, financial experts

Step 0. Introduction


  • Introduction to key concepts
  • Class outline
  • Dempsey Startup basics
  • Being an entrepreneur

To watch the recording from this course, please click here.

Step 1: Product


  • Review of survey results
  • The “ABCs” of company vision
  • Identifying key trends (picking your parade)
  • Filling a gap


  • Review of product picks–what makes a great idea?
  • Problem/solution–interest and feasibility
  • Getting a team together

Step 2: Plan


  • Review of survey results
  • “3 Cs” of playing field assessment
  • How investors look at risk
  • Using “SWOT” to your advantage
  • SWOT/3Cs workshop


  • Review of idea submissions
  • What is a Play?
  • Crossing the Chasm
  • Practical approaches to starting/navigating, including bootstrapping


  • Review of company submissions
  • Some surprising business model stories
  • Defining/choosing a business model
  • Estimating basic financials

Step 3: Pitch


  • Positioning “XYZs”
  • Differentiation
  • Messaging “123s”
  • Getting the word out, efficiently


  • Fundamentals of a good pitch (“gambit, nutshell, gift”)
  • Investor mindset
  • Friendraising/fundraising
  • Student pitch contest


  • Who says the sky is the limit?
  • Team Presentations
  • Class recap and discussion


Find a Team for the EIC, HIC, or Dempsey Startup

Are you a student with a business idea but still need team members? Interested in joining an existing team? Watch the Buerk Center’s Facebook page for upcoming networking events fall and winter quarters. In addition, if you’re a student seeking members for your HIC, EIC, or Dempsey Startup startup team, watch for notices in December for a new student team formation site!

Q: Do I have to enter the Dempsey Startup Competition if I take ENTRE 440/540 during winter quarter?
A: No, taking ENTRE 440/540 (in winter quarter) does not require you to enter the Dempsey Startup Competition.

Q: Does turning in the class assignment for ENTRE 440/540 enter my idea into the Dempsey Startup Competition?
A: No, the assignment for ENTRE 440/540 is the foundational research you need to help you prepare the executive summary required to enter the Competition.

Q: What is the deadline to enter the Dempsey Startup Competition?
A: The deadline to enter the Dempsey Startup Competition is: Monday, April 3, 2017 at 11:59 p.m.

Q: How many credits can I receive for competing in the Dempsey Startup Competition?
A: You can receive up to four credits: two in winter quarter (ENTRE 440/540) for attending the Resource Nights and completing the BOA assignment, and two in spring quarter (ENTRE 440/540) for competing in the Competition. You must make it to the Investment Round (second round) of the Competition in order to receive credit for competing.

Q: What is the difference between ENTRE 440/540 in winter and ENTRE 440/540 in spring?
A: ENTRE 440/540 in winter is for the Resource Nights, which are intended to prepare you for the Dempsey Startup Competition. ENTRE 440/540 in spring is for competing in the competition. If you make it to the Investment Round (second round) of the competition, you are eligible to earn two credits for competing. You can do this even if you did not take ENTRE 440/540 in winter quarter.

Q: Can I defer credit to another quarter?
A: No, you must register for the course and receive credit in the quarter you take it.

If you have additional questions, contact Amy Sallin at or 206-685-9868.