Each year, up to 90 UA undergraduate and graduate students from all fields of study are accepted into the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program.
This is what the yearlong McGuire Experience looks like.
Summer is about strong foundations
The McGuire Program is a full year and engages you in experiential learning right from the start. You'll attend an orientation series in the spring to prepare you for summer assignments and team building.
1. Learn When to Apply
2. Prepare Your Application Materials
3. Apply By Dec. 10, 2016
You'll head into summer with a framework for developing innovative new venture ideas. You should look beyond small ideas and familiar approaches. Innovation in concepts, business models, operations, or delivery is a must.
There are no case studies in the McGuire Program. You'll launch directly into testing your business concepts with potential customers. The get the most impact our of your summer assignments, get out into the community and talk to people. Speaking with potential customers and industry experts is the best way to validate your business concepts. You'll quickly learn firsthand that validation is essential to innovation.
By the end of summer, you'll have practice in identifying market opportunities, conducting primary research and industry analysis, and engaging in customer validation. You will also have spent time getting to know your fellow classmates, finding people with complementary values and skill sets, and thinking about team formation.
You become an entrepreneur from day one of the McGuire Program. Take your ideas seriously from the start and your efforts over the summer will pay off for the rest of the year.
Fall is about feasibility
You'll finalize your team and choose your initial new venture concept in the first few weeks of the fall semester.
Choosing the right teammates — ones who have complementary skill sets but share similar interests, passions, and work ethics — is essential for success. Once business ideas are pitched and chosen, teams are matched up with experienced and successful Entrepreneurship Mentors in Residence based on expertise and background. You'll learn the principles of entrepreneurship and innovation in class and receive venture-specific mentoring in weekly meetings with your mentors.
Every new venture encounters legal questions. That's where the Business/Law Exchange comes in. Legal advisors from the UA College of Law mock law firm provide student teams with legal advice about corporate law, finance, startups, and entity formation.
Additionally, you'll benefit from the first of two annual Speed Networking events. At each event, 10 angel investors and industry experts listen to pitches from venture teams and provide critical feedback to help students refine and expand their business ideas.
The semester is jam-packed with benchmarks. There are three presentations your team must pass in order to demonstrate your understanding of concept development, product and customer validation, and financial feasibility in relation to your new venture. Before the semester ends, you'll prove that your new venture concept passes the operational requirements to be feasible.
Once the interviews, research, surveys, and analysis are complete and you've proven that your venture is viable, you can apply for Experiential Learning Funds to build proof of concept prototypes, travel to conferences, and hire domain and technology experts.
Spring is about opportunities
In the spring, the focus changes from planning to communicating.
You will be creating a business plan investors want to fund, telling a story that attracts partners and customers, hitting on every benefit, addressing every cost concern, and polishing delivery for every audience. To get the most out of your McGuire Experience, take advantage of the additional opportunities the program offers, such extra mentoring to prepare for regional and national business plan competitions.
You'll publicly unveil your new venture for the very first time at McGuire on the Mall, a tradeshow where you'll showcase your business idea to investors, business leaders, the media, and potential customers.
Your new entrepreneurial skills will be put to the test by visiting scholars and experts during Academic Review, our version of a final exam. These independent professionals aren't evaluating whether your business concept will be successful, but rather how successfully you apply the principles of innovation and entrepreneurship to your ideas.
Finally, you'll bring everything together for the McGuire New Venture Competition and Showcase, where you'll present your venture in an interactive tradeshow and rapid-fire rocket pitch competition. A panel of successful entrepreneurs and investors judge teams and tens of thousands of dollars in funding and prizes on the line.
The year ends with awards, but the real prize is much bigger. In one year, you'll have developed from a student into an entrepreneur. You may leave the program with a sustainable business concept that's ready to launch, but you will finish the program empowered with an entrepreneurial skill set that will last you a lifetime.
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