Community News

Fall 2017 CONNECTS Series lineup announcement

The Carnegie Mellon Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship will once again opens its doors to the public for the annual CONNECTS Series. Each semester, the series presents speakers, panel discussions, workshops and networking events to prepare students in a variety of entrepreneurial fields. The series’ main goal is to connect students across Pittsburgh and members of the public together.

The 2017 fall CONNECTS Series will be kicked off by a half-day Entrepreneurship Bootcamp held on Saturday, Sept. 9. Aspiring entrepreneurs will dive into a day of networking with the entrepreneurial community at Carnegie Mellon, learning about best practices and the various resources the university has to offer.

The first CONNECTS Series presentation topic will be on cybersecurity with Earl Crane of the Emergent Network Defense, held at the Hillman Center room 4405 on Tuesday, Sept. 12 from 12:30 to 2 p.m.

Individuals can register for sessions via the online CONNECTS Entrepreneurship Seminar Series form prior to the event.

The fall 2017 CONNECTS Workshops include:


Cybersecurity

Tuesday, Sept. 12, 12:30–2:00 p.m. in Hillman Center 4405

Presenter: Earl Crane, Emergent Network Defense

Digital threats target all organizations large and small, affecting the C-suite and the bottom-line. Learn from government and industry cybersecurity experts how to establish an effective cyber defense strategy for your organization, regardless of size.


Start Smart: Protecting Your Company’s IP Assets

Thursday, Sept. 14, 5:30–7 p.m. at University of Pittsburgh’s Baraco Law Building

Presenter: George Dickos and Lauren Shuttleworth Murray, K&L Gates


Customer Discovery: How to Know if Your Idea is a Good One

Tuesday, Sept. 19, 12:30–2 p.m. in Posner Hall 322

Presenter: Kit Needham, CMU Swartz Center

Have an idea or a technology that you think solves a big problem? Before you start building your product, learn how to correctly do “customer discovery” so you create a solution that customers will want and pay for.


Design Thinking Through Understanding People

Wednesday, Sept. 20, 12:30–2 p.m. in Hillman Center 4405

Presenter: Dan Lockton, CMU School of Design, Director of Imaginaries Lab

Explore design techniques for understanding people’s everyday lives and how they think, and how you can use these methods strategically in innovation, to help meet needs and influence the ways people do things.


Creating a Successful Student Startup Team

Thursday, Sept. 21, 12:30–2 p.m. in Hillman Center 4405

Presenter: Kit Needham, CMU Swartz Center, and Bill Courtright, CMU

Got an idea for a startup but need to find co-founders or teammates? Worked on a business startup as part of a class project and want to pursue it afterwards — with or without some of your classmates? Want to join a student startup team and know what to expect or ask for?

Learn successful techniques to help your team create a solid foundation that can help your startup thrive, attract funding and avoid problems in the future.


Top Ten Tech Trends Driving M&A

Tuesday, Sept. 26, 12:30–2 p.m. in Newell-Simon Hall 3305

Presenter: Ivan Ruzic, Corum Group Ltd.


Franchise Opportunities

Wednesday, Sept. 27, 12:30–2 p.m. in Newell-Simon Hall 3305

Presenter: Chris Cynkar, FranChoice

Franchising is a multibillion-dollar industry with over 1,600 franchises available in the marketplace. Our speaker, Chris Cynkar, has direct experience in a variety of industries, and assists franchise candidates in evaluating multiple business opportunities. Chris is also an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon University. Join Cynkar for this seminar to learn how you can fit franchising into your career.


Start Smart: Contract Basics

Thursday, Sept. 28, 5:30–7 p.m. in Gates Center 6115

Presenter: David Lehman and Susan Altman, K&L Gates


Lean Startup

Tuesday, Oct. 3, 12:30–2 p.m. in Newell-Simon Hall 3305

Presenter: Dave Mawhinney, CMU Swartz Center

The Lean Startup is a technical approach to generating and managing startups, helping to get an anticipated product or service into the hands of customers faster. Learn how to make your startup lean and efficient using entrepreneurial best practices in this seminar.


Agile Product Development

Wednesday, Oct. 4, 12:30–2 p.m. in Newell-Simon Hall 3305

Presenter: Sean Ammirati, Birchmere Ventures & Labs

Learn an iterative and interactive framework to manage the process of building your startup’s technology solution. Master specific tips for implementing this framework in your venture and hear case studies from local Pittsburgh companies who have taken advantage of these techniques.


Business Model Canvas

Thursday, Oct. 5, 12:30–2 p.m. in Hillman Center 4405

Presenter: Dave Mawhinney, CMU Swartz Center

Learn to identify and explain innovative business models. Find out what will work and what won’t for developing your business.


How to Access Resources from the Government

Tuesday, Oct. 17, 12:30–2 p.m. in Hillman Center 4405

Presenter: Tim McNulty, CMU

This session will provide an introduction to engaging state, local and federal government agencies and elected officials. Topics will include potential funding sources, strategies for when and how to engage elected officials and when lobbying assistance could be valuable.


Start Smart: Contracts Part II

Tuesday, Oct. 17, 5:30–7 p.m. in the University of Pittsburgh, Baraco Law Building

Presenter: David Lehman and Mike Pavlick, K&L Gates


Digital Marketing: It’s All About the Numbers

Wednesday, Oct. 18, 12:30–2 p.m. in Hillman Center 4405

Presenter: Eric Boduch, Pendo


Splitting the Equity Pie

Thursday, Oct. 19, 12:30–2 p.m. in Newell-Simon Hall 3305

Presenter: Frank Demmler, Innovation Works

Equity compensation can be a very mysterious concept for first-time entrepreneurs. Learn how to make critical decisions from the division of the Founders’ Pie through stock option grants.


The Art of the Pitch

Tuesday, Oct. 24, 12:30–2 p.m. in Hillman Center 4405

Presenter: Des O’Connor, Innovation Works

Is your pitch effective to investors? Learn about the strategies, tactics and rationale for the successful investor pitch.


Financial Modeling

Tuesday, Oct. 24, 12:30–2 p.m. in Hillman Center 4405

Presenter: Des O’Connor, Innovation Works

If you’re going to start a company, mapping out your financial projections will be an important part of that process. Learn the basics and gain insight on how to incorporate assumptions and flexibility into a model. Understand and be able to discuss key terms such as burn rate, cash runway and EBITDA, which will allow you to more confidently support your projections to investors, board and fellow team members.


Enterprise Through Acquisition

Thursday, Oct. 26, 12:30–2 p.m. in Newell-Simon Hall 3305

Presenter: Eric Close, TrueLearn

Interviewing for a job envisioned by someone else? Instead, create a job by hiring yourself, finding a company to acquire and transforming the company into a disruption machine.

Become a business artist! Express yourself by mastering the nexus of entrepreneurship and mergers and acquisitions. Opportunities for disruption and innovation are everywhere. Get into the game.


Start Smart: Raising Capital

Thursday, Oct. 26, 5:30–7 p.m. in the University of Pittsburgh, Baraco Law Building

Presenter: David Lehman, K&L Gates


Startups’ Option to Manage Supply-Chain from Japan

Tuesday, Oct. 31, 12:30–2 p.m. in Hillman Center 4405

Presenter: Nobuhiro Seki, FabFoundry


Start Smart: Finding the Right Lawyer for Your Startup

Tuesday, Oct. 31, 5:30–7 p.m. in Hillman Center 4405

Presenter: Kit Needham, CMU Swartz Center, and Stephanie Dangel, University of Pittsburgh School of Law


Changing Approaches to Entrepreneurism

Wednesday, Nov. 1, 12:30–2 p.m. in Newell-Simon Hall 3305

Presenter: Lynn C. Yanyo, De Novo Ground

Entrepreneurism is a hot topic today but was not visible in the late 1900s. Invention or innovation was prized back then. Invention and innovation are only small, small components of entrepreneurism. Getting from idea to market to profit requires a big-picture view and many different talents. Entrepreneurism also requires an ability to be accepting of ambiguity, unquantifiable risk or simply being luckily uninformed.

Learn how entrepreneurism has changed over the last 50 years and what is needed to be successful today and focus on how anyone can be a successful entrepreneur, if they choose.


Intellectual Property

Thursday, Nov. 2, 12:30–2 p.m. in Newell-Simon Hall 3305

Presenter: Meg Brindle, George Washington University

Learn how IP can return $100 million more income per year for producers using a six-step method and our case study successes including Ethiopian coffee, the Maasai and Divine chocolate. IP is typically considered the domain of lawyers, but it is essential for entrepreneurs to learn the IP business model.


Design for Manufacturability

Tuesday, Nov. 7, 12:30–2 p.m. in Newell-Simon Hall 3305

Presenter: Elijah Wiegmann, Founder of Base Design Studio

Today’s entrepreneurs understand the importance of design in creating the best products and services. Unfortunately, most try to “save up” for design, sometime in the future. If design is at the forefront of the process, it can actually save a ton of money, time and energy. Wiegmann will be discussing how, and his experience in bringing hundreds of products to market.


Go to Market Planning

Wednesday, Nov. 8, 12:30–2 p.m. in Newell-Simon Hall 3305

Presenter: Mary Beth Green, University of Pittsburgh


Creating a Successful Video Pitch

Thursday, Nov. 9, 12:30–2 p.m. in Gates Center 6115

Presenter: Brian Staszel, CMU

Is your video pitch effective for competing in an online business competition for entrepreneurs? Learn how to create a successful video and capture the attention of venture capitalists.

If you are planning to participate in the McGinnis Venture Competition, your first video pitch will determine if you advance to the second round!


Start Smart: Structuring 3rd Party Relationships

Tuesday, Nov. 14, 5:30–7 p.m. in Newell-Simon Hall 3305

Presenter: David Lehman, K&L Gates