UW-Oshkosh partners with Alta Resources to help student entrepreneurs


OSHKOSH -  Some potential business tycoons of tomorrow, may still be in college today.  UW-Oshkosh is looking to make those students moguls, even before they graduate.

Basketball gave Jordan Johnson a light bulb moment.

"Through a lot of video tape and a lot of training sessions, I found that there's a lot of inconsistencies in players' shooting," Johnson explained.

That observation led to Johson's creation of the patent pending GoProShot.  It's a band that goes on a player's hand, that places the fingers in the right position.

"All they have to worry about is shooting the basketball," said Johnson.

To help propel his business, Johnson went to his alma mater, UW-Oshkosh.

"I said, 'here's my product, here's my idea, how can you guys help?'" Johnson explained.

He wasn't the only one.

"I had many students asking me, 'what can I do to start a business?  What kind of resources are available?'" explained Colleen Merrill, the executive director of the Alta Resources Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at UW-Oshkosh.

So Merrill started a program within the College of Business last fall to give student entrepreneurs resources, namely the center for entrepreneurship and innovation.

Wednesday, the school announced Alta Resources of Neenah has stepped up to assist.

"Not only start a business, but validate that their idea is marketable and that someone is actually willing to pay for it," Merrill explained.

Alta Resources will be giving the student entrepreneurs funding and mentoring.

"We have a lot of entrepreneurs in our organization who will engage directly with the students, so they'll have a place to go to talk and I hope for us to invest in some of their businesses," said Alta Resources CEO Jim Bere.

The newly named Alta Resources Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is open to all UW-Oshkosh students.  About 38 have expressed interest so far.  There are about 10 teams in the first cohort of the program.  The next official cohort is scheduled to start in spring 2015.

"Their sense of enthusiasm, their creativity is absolutely incredible," remarked Bere.

Johnson told FOX 11 the program's helped him sell about 2,000 GoProShots since last year.  He also won $10,000 in the college's version of "Shark Tank" to help fund GoProShot, Inc.  He told us if a student is serious, the program is worth it.

"They have these ideas, they think they can make a business out of it, what I wanna tell them is go for it," said Johnson.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation gave the program a $97,000 grant to help.  Other area businesses have also pledged their support.