The McGuire Entrepreneurship Program provides many hands-on opportunities for student ventures to actively engage with the start-up community. Each event is an occasion for students to meet potential stakeholders, refine their venture concept and become more fluent in communicating about their venture.
The McGuire Entrepreneurship Program has partnered with the Desert Angels to develop a mentoring program for McGuire students. Twice yearly, approximately 10 Angel investors and industry experts come to the McGuire Center to listen to pitches from student venture teams. The experts provide critical feedback to help the students refine and expand their ventures. In addition, McGuire students have adopted the Angel-supported Gust format to shape their pitches, presentations, executive summaries and business plans. For more information on the Gust format, visit gust.com.
The Desert Angels are a Tucson-based non-profit organization of accredited investors who seek opportunities to invest in Southwest regional startup or early stage companies. The organization serves as a forum for its 80+ members, who invest individually from their personal funds. Since 2000, Desert Angel members have invested over $20 million in more than 55 presenting companies.
Business Plan Competitions
McGuire Program new venture teams can decide to compete internally to be selected to participate in a number of regional and national business plan competitions. The competitions selected change each year, but recently we have sent students to:
- California Dreamin’ Business Plan Competition at Chapman University
- Ventures and Values Business Plan Competition at the Neeley School of Business
- University of Oregon New Venture Championship
- Giants Entrepreneurship Challenge at the University of North Dakota
Carnegie Mellon University Venture Challenge
McGuire students also participate annually in the Arizona Collegiate Venture Competition. Four McGuire new venture teams that intend to launch their business after graduation are selected each year to pitch their new venture concepts and compete for funding at the Arizona Collegiate Venture Competition. Four team from each Arizona university compete in the ACVC's rocket pitch competition judged by regional investors for more than $30,000 in cash prizes.
McGuire Innovation Expo
McGuire Innovation Expo is the McGuire Program’s annual trade show where student teams present their innovative new ventures to the public for the very first time. This trade show allows our students to gain experience taking about and presenting their new ventures to a variety of stakeholders, including potential customers, partners, investors and employees, and is a chance to network with the local start-up community. Student teams debut their prototypes, launch beta apps and pilot test their services at this interactive event.
Learn more: McGuire Innovation Expo
McGuire Program Academic Review
In order to sustain our top-rated, innovative curriculum, the McGuire Program conducts a rigorous annual Academic Review each Spring. For this review, we bring entrepreneurship educators from universities around the world to our campus for two full days to assess student learning. This event not only challenges students as they reach a fundamental milestone in the entrepreneurial process - going public with a plan - but also ensures that the McGuire Program continually provides students with the skills necessary to apply principles of entrepreneurship and innovation to any field.
McGuire New Venture Competition and Showcase
The McGuire New Venture Competition and Showcase is the signature event of the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program. After a year spent creating investment-ready business ventures, McGuire teams present their ventures to hundreds of spectators including UA faculty, investors, and the media. The event opens with a tradeshow, during which teams debut highly polished and professional tradeshow booths. In the afternoon, McGuire teams compete in rocket pitches for more than $30,000 in prize money and in-kind contributions.
Learn more: McGuire New Venture Competition and Showcase