Carnegie Mellon University
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CONNECTS

Our CONNECTS series enhances the experiential education of any individual interested in innovation and entrepreneurship. Tailored mainly for students to help take their ideas from conception to commercialization, the workshops run throughout the academic year. Teams looking for talent and talent looking for teams can CONNECT at these events.

CONNECTS Through the Years


Attend Entrepreneurship Bootcamp, our kick-off to our CONNECTS events!

Cybersecurity*

Wednesday, September 13, 2017
12:30-2 pm
Tepper Room 322
Presenter: Dr. Earl Crane, Emergent Network Defense
Register
*Bring your own lunch

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, September 14, 2017
5:30-7 pm
University of Pittsburgh, Baraco Law Building
Presenter: George Dickos & Lauren Shuttleworth Murray, K&L Gates
Register

This seminar will cover legal issues related to intellectual property, including: 

  • How to protect your company's IP
  • How not to infringe on another's IP
  • How to handle IP created by your employees, including non-compete clauses
  • Which IP protection to use: copyright, patents, trademarks and/or trade secrets
  • First to file vs. First to invent: changes in US patent law

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

Tuesday, September 19, 2017
12:30-2 pm
Tepper, Room 322
Presenter: Kit Needham, CMU Swartz Center
Register
*Bring your own lunch
*I-Corps Site Program curriculum

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, September 20, 2017
12:30-2 pm
Gates Hillman Center 4405
Presenter: Dan Lockton, CMU School of Design; Director of Imaginaries Lab
Register
*Bring your own lunch

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, September 21, 2017
12:30-2 pm
Gates Hillman Center 4405
Presenter: Kit Needham, CMU Swartz Center, & Bill Courtright, CMU
Register
*Bring your own lunch
*I-Corps Site Program curriculum

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, September 26, 2017
12:30-2 pm
Newell Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: Ivan Ruzic, Corum Group Ltd.
Register
*Bring your own lunch

No company has the foresight to always lead the innovation curve, so the most successful acquire the pioneering firms with the expertise to help them continue that success. In this age of disruptive technology, understanding the trends currently driving M&A—distilled from tens of thousands of conversations with buyers and sellers globally—is vital for entrepreneurs at every stage.


Franchise Opportunities*

Wednesday, September 27, 2017
12:30-2 pm
Newell Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: Chris Cynkar, FranChoice
Register
*Bring your own lunch

Franchising is a multibillion dollar industry with over 1600 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 Chris for this seminar to learn how you can fit franchising into your career.


Start Smart: Contract Basics*

Thursday, September 28, 2017
5:30-7 pm
Gates Hillman Center 6115
Presenter: David Lehman & Susan Altman, K&L Gates
Register
*I-Corps Site Program curriculum

This seminar will address what startup business owners should know about contracts and the contracting processes, including pre-agreements (e.g., binding and non-binding letters of intent, term sheets and memoranda of understanding), common terms in contracts and typical types of contracts (e.g., licenses, leases, corporate agreements, commercial and customer contracts and employment agreements).


Lean Startup*

Tuesday, October 3, 2017
12:30-2 pm
Newell Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: Dave Mawhinney, CMU Swartz Center
Register
*Bring your own lunch
*I-Corps Site Program curriculum

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, October 4, 2017
12:30-2 pm
Newell Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: Sean Ammirati, Birchmere Ventures & Labs
Register
*Bring your own lunch
*I-Corps Site Program curriculum

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, October 5, 2017
12:30-2 pm
Gates Hillman Center 4405
Presenter: Dave Mawhinney, CMU Swartz Center
Register
*Bring your own lunch
*I-Corps Site Program curriculum

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, October 17, 2017
12:30-2 pm
Gates Hillman Center 4405
Presenter: Tim McNulty, CMU
Register
*Bring your own lunch

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, October 17, 2017
5:30-7 pm
University of Pittsburgh, Baraco Law Building
Presenter: David Lehman & Mike Pavlick, K&L Gates
Register

This seminar will address legal issues related to the different types of startup personnel, including students working on projects, unpaid internships, independent contractors and employees. The seminar will be followed by a workshop where startups will have the chance to meet with law students to develop a form of employment agreement and consultant agreement tailored for the specific startup.


Digital Marketing: It’s All About the Numbers*

Wednesday, October 18, 2017
12:30-2 pm
Gates Hillman Center 4405
Presenter: Eric Boduch, Pendo
Register
*Bring your own lunch

Learn how marketing has changed in the last 10 years while discussing the marketing stack of today, how to experiment and scale a digital marketing organization and look at how a high growth startup grew its revenues.


Splitting the Equity Pie*

Thursday, October 19, 2017
12:30-2 pm
Newell Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: Frank Demmler, Innovation Works
Register
*Bring your own lunch
*I-Corps Site Program curriculum

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, October 24, 2017
12:30-2 pm
Gates Hillman Center 4405
Presenter: Des O’Connor, Innovation Works
Register
*Bring your own lunch

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


Financial Modeling*

Wednesday, October 25, 2017
12:30-2 pm
Newell Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: Phil Compton, SingleSource Property Solutions
Register
*Bring your own lunch
*I-Corps Site Program curriculum

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, October 26, 2017
12:30-2 pm
Newell Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: Eric Close, TrueLearn
Register
*Bring your own lunch

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 M&A.  Opportunities for disruption and innovation are everywhere, get into the game.


Start Smart: Raising Capital*

Thursday, October 26, 2017
5:30-7 pm
University of Pittsburgh, Baraco Law Building
Presenter: David Lehman, K&L Gates
Register
*I-Corps Site Program curriculum

Learn about the legal issues associated with raising capital through friends and family, seed and series A, B, C, etc. Discuss the following:

  •  Structuring the investments to maximize growth
  • Opportunities available due to the new JOBS Act
  • Crowdsourcing and proposed SEC regulation
  • Funding from incubators/accelerators, government and foundations

Startups’ Option to Manage Supply-Chain from Japan*

Tuesday, October 31, 2017
12:30-2 pm
Gates Hillman Center 4405
Presenter: Nobuhiro "Nob" Seki, FabFoundry
Register
*Bring your own lunch

Do you assume manufacturing in Japan is expensive? It's not only higher-quality but inexpensive as you thought. Learn alternative manufacturing supply-chain services.


Start Smart: Finding the Right Lawyer for Your Startup

Tuesday, October 31, 2017
5:30-7 pm
Gates Hillman Center 4405
Presenter: Kit Needham, CMU Swartz Center, & Stephanie Dangel, Pitt Law school
Register

Finding the right lawyer is a key strategic business decision for a startup. Your lawyer can be one of your best business advisers OR a poor choice that costs you time and money. Learn the right questions to ask, how to avoid common mistakes and how to manage your relationship.


Changing Approaches to Entrepreneurism*

Wednesday, November 1, 2017
12:30-2 pm
Newell Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: Dr. Lynn C. Yanyo, De Novo Ground
Register
*Bring your own lunch

Entrepreneurism is a hot topic today but was not visible in the late 1900's.  Invention or innovation were prized back then.  Invention or 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, what is needed to be successful today and focus on how anyone can be a successful entrepreneur, if they choose.


Intellectual Property*

Thursday, November 2, 2017
12:30-2 pm
Newell Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: Meg Brindle, George Washington University
Register
*Bring your own lunch

Learn how IP can return $100million more income per year for producers using a 6 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, November 7, 2017
12:30-2 pm
Newell Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: Elijah Wiegmann, Founder of Base Design Studio
Register
*Bring your own lunch

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. Elijah will be discussing how, and his experience in bringing hundreds of products to market.


Go to Market Planning*

Wednesday, November 8, 2017
12:30-2 pm
Newell Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: Mary Beth Green, University of Pittsburgh
Register
*Bring your own lunch

Building a new product and business can often be chaotic and confusing. Learn Go-to-Market planning practices that complements any methodology to design and deliver your offer that complement any methodology. Entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs will benefit from this session.


Creating a Successful Video Pitch*

Thursday, November 9, 2017
12:30-2 pm
Gates Hillman Center 6115
Presenter: Brian Staszel, CMU
Register
*Bring your own lunch

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, November 14, 2017
5:30-7 pm
Newell Simon Hall 3305
Presenter: David Lehman, K&L Gates
Register

Third party relationships can come in a variety of forms, e.g. joint ventures, partnerships and licensing. Creating strategic partnerships can add tremendous value, if the partnership is structured properly. Since every partnership is different, startups must understand the differences between the forms and how to negotiate the best terms to ensure the partnership success.