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Lavin Entrepreneurship Program

The application cycle for the Lavin Program during the 2023-24 academic year is CLOSED. If you are interested in hearing about the application for the 2024-25 academic year, please fill out your information HERE.

Program Overview

Do you dream of creating your own startup? Aspire to launch a business, disrupt a market or change the world with your big idea? Would you stay up all night designing a logo, reworking a product, or filling a customer order—if the business were your own?

If so, you need to be part of the Lavin Entrepreneurship Program! The Lavin Program is a highly-competitive program for undergraduate entrepreneurs from all majors and disciplines across campus. Only the brightest, most passionate and driven students are accepted into the program each year. By combining curriculum with hands-on learning, the UW Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship gives Lavin students the experience, skills and know-how to succeed in their future business ventures.

  • Spend 3 to 4 years immersed in entrepreneurship
  • Develop companies and collaborate with Lavin peers
  • Get expert feedback and mentoring from the best of Seattle’s entrepreneurial community
  • Score paid internships in early-stage companies and a matching scholarship
  • Form teams and compete in the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge, the Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge, and/or the Dempsey Startup Competition
  • Network with entrepreneurs, founders, venture capitalists and angel investors
  • Graduate with the connections, real-world experience, and skill set needed to turn an idea into a reality!

Lavin is not a club, it is a competitive and binding program for students who want to take their entrepreneurship coursework and career to another level. Students sign a contract and agree to complete the extra-curricular requirements of Lavin and have an option to enroll in Entrepreneurship (ENTRE) classes to receive the Lavin Certificate. This means 16 credits of optional entrepreneurship coursework and consistent involvement in the “heart” of Lavin activities, including:

  • Lavin Welcome Weekend Reception and Retreat: Every fall, we kick off the year with a weekend of awesome events. Students hear from guest speakers and bond over dinner and icebreakers Friday evening on campus. On the following day, students depart from campus for an overnight retreat. During this retreat, students engage in team building activities and compete in the annual Lavin Pitch Competition, where students form teams to create and pitch an idea according to the year’s theme. Winning teams choose from among three amazing Seattle entrepreneurs to have dinner with. It is during this weekend that students bond as a cohort and form friendships that last a lifetime.
  • Winter Quarter Class: The newly-admitted Lavin students in Cohort 2022 are required to register for a 2-credit class in Winter quarter 2023. “ENTRE 490B: Startup Skills for Lavin Founders” is the title of the course and it is graded C/NC. Class meets every Thursday from 5:30-7:20pm through winter quarter. This class is reserved for Lavin students only, and will be your opportunity to add tools to your entrepreneurial toolbelt and meet/interact with the other members of your cohort. Each week will focus on a new useful skill and may include a guest speaker as an expert in that subject area. You’ll learn about various aspects of entrepreneurship while making friends with your Lavin peers!
  • Lunches and Fieldtrips: Every quarter, Lavin students choose among numerous opportunities to either have lunch with or visit the offices of major players in the Seattle entrepreneurial community, from startup headquarters and venture capital firms to incubators and chocolate factories. Groups are small, so getting engaged and asking smart questions is a must!
  • Meetings and Social Events: Throughout the year, students attend quarterly All Student Meeting and any number of fun, social events. These are great opportunities for students to deepen their relationships within the Lavin community while gaining insight into the inner workings of the program!
  • Internships and Job Fairs: Not only are students given a scholarship to intern in an early-stage company, but are also supported in their job search by the UW Buerk Center. Lavin students have year-round access to an exclusive Lavin Jobs Board, where internships and jobs are posted regularly. In addition, students are invited to the UW Buerk Center’s Startup Job Fair in April. After all, what better way to gain the skill set you need than to learn by doing?

The Lavin Entrepreneurship Program is competitive. We look for the most driven, passionate and creative individuals we can find. Whether you’re intending to major in engineering, business, computer science, or are undecided—if you know your path is entrepreneurial, you belong in Lavin!

The online application for Lavin opens in mid-September, and decisions are made by early November. Any University of Washington undergraduate student (including incoming first-years) with at least three years remaining in their time at UW is eligible to apply.

On your application you will be asked to write about your ‘entrepreneurial’ experiences, skills you have taught yourself, and what you hope to learn to further your entrepreneurial journey. We encourage you to think broadly about how being an entrepreneur can include times in your life where you take action to solve the problems you see in your world and that does not necessarily mean your actions resulted in a new business being started–though if you did start a business or non-profit, we’d love to hear about it!

Questions? Contact the Buerk Center at [email protected] or 206.616.0734.

Lavin Information

Lavin Entrepreneurship Program