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Alex Yawpolsky

Exploring Entrepreneurship through The Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship

by Alex Yawpolsky Friday, January 15, 2016

I have a pharmacy degree and five years of management experience in healthcare. I was looking for a way to further my education and my healthcare administration career, while also focusing on healthcare technology. I picked the Operations and Technology Management (OTM) program at UW-Madison because I saw it as a great way to combine technology and healthcare operations. What I’ve learned in my first three months in the program is that – besides thehealthcare management track – there is another track within the OTM program that is quite interesting and has a lot of potential within healthcare. Theentrepreneurship track, or portions of it, can be combined with technology management or healthcare operations classes to prepare students for becoming innovators in healthcare arena.

As students at Wisconsin School of Business, we are fortunate to have exposure to some very accomplished business leaders, faculty, entrepreneurs, investors, and industry pioneers. Through the Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship there are weekly distinguished entrepreneurs lunch talks with some of the best in the industry. So far I’ve attended intimate group sessions with:

  • CEO of Placon Corporation (plastic packaging manufacturer)
  • Partner at General Capital Group (real-estate development group)
  • President of Cleary Building Corporation (building company)
  • Vice President of BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation (investment capital)
  • Founder of HealthX Ventures (healthcare technology venture capital fund) and founder of Nordic Consulting Partners (Epic consulting)

Each of these leaders discussed their path from start to where they are today. They shared their accomplishments as well as some lessons they have learned along the way. These conversations are always very inspirational and informative.

The city of Madison is quickly becoming a hub for healthcare technology entrepreneurship and is attracting entrepreneurs as well as investors. I’ve take advantage of opportunities provided through the WARF, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, to attend various panel discussions focused on start-up accelerators and incubators, the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Madison, intellectual property protection and commercialization, and combining art, technology, and entrepreneurship. All these panel discussions are led by industry experts full of insight and experience. I’ve also had a chance to listen to the founder of EatStreet (online food ordering platform), the founder of Coupons.com (retail coupon site), the founder of Noodles and Company, and the list goes on.

Besides getting the chance to meet, listen to, and learn from accomplished and seasoned leaders, I’ve also had the pleasure of attending an early stage technology symposium where some of the latest healthcare technology entrepreneurs pitched their ideas to a large group of venture capitalists. After their presentations, I got a chance to network with many start-ups and prospective investors. Lastly, through our engineering school’s Internet of Things lab (IoT lab), I met many bright students who are working to invent various products utilizing the latest technologies and even submitted an idea of my own for consideration.

All in all, the first three months at the UW-Madison Business School, and specifically, in the OTM program, have opened my eyes to many opportunities and allowed me to gain insights into how I can better utilize my skills and work experience to contribute to improving healthcare delivery and operations.