UWM Alumni Fall 2017 Magazine

UWM’s Lubar Entrepreneurship Center already provides entrepreneurial resources for UWM’s community and the greater Milwaukee region. That collaboration will be enhanced by its new twostory campus facility at the corner of Kenwood Boulevard and Maryland Avenue. Groundbreaking for the 24,000-square-foot center is expected in the fourth quarter of 2017, with an opening date targeted for early 2019.

“Our vision of the UWM Lubar Entrepreneurship Center is to engage the university and broader community in entrepreneurship and education programs that enhance the success of our students and our region’s prosperity,” says Lubar & Co. founder Sheldon Lubar.

The center’s genesis stemmed from a $10 million donation by Lubar and his wife, Marianne, in July 2015.Since that initial gift, the UW System has contributed $10 million to cover construction costs. Another $3 million comes courtesy of gifts from the Kelben Foundation, established by Mary and Ted Kellner, and from Milwaukee entrepreneur Jerry Jendusa.

The center will feature classrooms for courses and workshops, gathering spots for speakers, and labs for prototyping products and software. Center programming will make entrepreneurship an integral part of the UWM experience for all students and faculty members, offering avenues to collaborations with business leaders and entrepreneurs.

One example is the I-Corps program. Backed by the National Science Foundation, it recruits researchers from five area universities and teaches scientists how to turn academic discoveries into products and startups. In the program’s first two years, 55 teams were trained, including 21 from UWM.

Among them were UWM physicists Carol Hirschmugl and Marija Gajdardziska-Josifovska, who discovered a hybrid material that could improve the performance of lithium-ion batteries. I-Corps training helped them identify the next steps in commercializing their product, and they’ve since formed a startup company, SafeLi LLC.

“When we began, we didn’t have an outcome in mind,” Hirschmugl says. “I-Corps made our startup possible in a way that we never would’ve expected. It’s turning physicists into capitalists.”

Read the full UWM Fall 2017 Alumni Magazine.