Pioneer Launch Lab teaches UW-P student entrepreneurs

Alexander Graham, Staff Reporter

Located in the Pioneer Tower, the Pioneer Launch Lab is a new facility at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville that aspires to assist young entrepreneurs with starting their own businesses.

The Launch Lab is open to students with entrepreneurship minors for product or service innovation, small business development and research activities.

Also, faculty members and alumni are welcome to join if they have professional ideas they wish to pursue, as well as students who are not business majors.

Head of the Pioneer Launch Lab Brock Waterman’s office is directly located next to the facility.

The facility consists of multiple computers for students to complete their work, as well as tables for meeting with clients; students can also use the whiteboards in the room in order to plan for their future businesses, according to Waterman.

The Launch Lab also presents a unique business model to the campus.

“We have different colored Post-it notes, where they can put their assumptions about a business model,” Waterman said. “Then, they go out to talk to customers to see if their business model is correct.”

Waterman explained that this is an effective way for students to determine whether or not their business is potentially progressing in the right direction.

In order to become a member, individuals must meet with Waterman to complete the application.

Regarding the interaction between group members, various requirements are specified at the facility.

“We have them attend group meetings. That way, they teach each other,” Waterman said.

Jonathon Geisler, a sophomore mechanical engineering major, is working on his own product with the club.

“As a part of this club, I’m networking and getting help from current business owners,” Geisler said. “[I’m] also [getting help] from people who are well-informed with how to launch a business.”

Geisler is working to create an automatic feeder for pet food, and he plans on using the Launch Lab in order to continue on with the development of his product.

Justin Bader, a freshman software engineering major, also has an entrepreneurship minor, and he is strongly considering to join the club.

Bader further explained his decision to approach this minor in a way that displays his ambitious nature.

“Bill Gates has the same 24 hours in the day as I do, so I can do the same exact things in those 24 hours as he does,” Bader said.

Bader is a salesman for Vemma, an energy supplement company.

“This business spends the fifth of their net wage that could go into advertising and puts it into the people who are advertising,” Bader said. “The most effective way to advertise right now is through face-to-face contact.”