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Albers School of Business and Economics

Photo of HSBP winners with IEC Team and Donor

Innovate SU

Seattle University continues to offer great programs such as: Founder Fridays, Family Business Exchange, Albers-SJIM Competition, Jones Idea Challenge, Jones Progress Awards, Harriet Stephenson Business Plan Competition, and a new Founder Mixer.  We encourage you to stay connected with us through our newsletter in the upcoming months while our website gets a new look.

(Photo above features 2023 HSBC Winner:  SMER, Vincent Rettinger, Shen Ren and Herbert Jones Foundation Board Member Michael Bauer)


Photo of winning team

Jones Idea Challenge

Teams were challenged with finding innovative ways to solve real-world business problems. First place winner: Raia Gulam and Areesa Gulam - Camp Korey.

Flyer of the three teams photos

Jones Progress Awards

DySports LLC (John Verduin, MBA '18),  Votegrity (Tom Thomas, MBA '20), and Ellebit (Anna Del Toro, MBA '20) emerged as the winners for this year's JPA.   Each team was awarded $10,000.


Photo of Deans, IEC, and Harriet Stephenson

Harriet Stephenson Business Competition

In its 25th year, we had a great turn out of participants.  The top four teams in the finals were: SMER (1st), JANE (2nd), Oakmoss (3rd), and SmartDashAI (4th). 

Photo of Team SMER holding certificate

Photo of Team JANE holding certificate

Photo of Oakmoss holding certificate

Photo of Team SmartDash AI holding certificate




Photo of Dean and Heidi Yu

Founder Fridays

Fireside chats with CEO and founder alumnus Bettina Paek, MD, MBA '19, eDoula and Heidi Yu, MBA '12, Social about their start up journey.

Screenshot of Judges

Albers-SJIM Virtual Business Plan Competition

SU student Cam Nguyen was the winner of the Urban Greenspaces competition, a collaborative program jointly organized with Seattle University and St. Joseph's Institute of Management in Bangalore, India.


Flyer of Family Business Exchange with sponsors listed

Family Business Exchange

Ainsley Close (CEO, Guardian Security), Bob Wallace (CEO and founder, Wallace Properties) shared their insights to maintaining a healthy work-life balance and challenges with generational transitions. 

Flyer of founder mixer

Founder Mixer

A new program launched Spring 2023 to connect entrepreneurs throughout the SU campus. Meetings were held in Billodue Maker Space allowing for organic conversations, idea exchanges, and collaborations for founders to build relationships and entrepreneurial endeavors.


We appreciate your support!

Our programs are generously funded by the Herbert B. Jones Foundation, Madeline Haydon Award for Entrepreneurship, and Friends of the IEC. 

Congratulations and thank you to our interns Kate Angulo and Camila Romero Juarez.

Photo of interns



Judge Bulletin: June 2023



Greetings from the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship!  We officially wrapped up competition season, ending with a fun and award-filled dinner celebration of this year's teams. Take a look back below as we recap the 2023 Dempsey journey: starting with a record-setting Screening Round, advancing through the Investment Round and Sweet Sixteen, and then ending with the Final Four! Check out two quick shout outs before reading the full recap of the Dempsey Startup Competition. What's next for teams who participated in Dempsey, HIC, and EIC? We hope it's the Jones + Foster Accelerator, kicking off later this summer! Stay tuned for the July bulletin where we will introduce the accelerator teams and reveal the dates for the 2024 competitions! Warmly, Jessica Roberto, Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge manager
Lauren Brohawn, Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge manager
Yuko Oaku, Dempsey Startup Competition, Jones + Foster Accelerator manager



Congratulations Graduates


A special thank you to our amazing student staff assistants who have supported the Buerk Center and the competitions throughout their academic careers at UW. Introducing them now as UW alumni, Morgan Schiebel, Kira Dudsic, and Jake Rhyner all graduated this spring! We highly recommend them for any upcoming opportunities you have.  



Top Business Talent Available 


Foster MBA students offer a diverse set of experiences and talents that can make an immediate impact. This is a great opportunity to gain help with immediate project needs at your firm – think market research, data analytics, SWOT analysis, etc.. If you’re looking for talented, driven, collaborative candidates to fill short-term/contract roles, please reach out to Bronica Sam, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Colette Vogel, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with our Foster MBA Career Management team. They can connect you with our amazing MBA students and help with arranging initial conversations.



Recap: Dempsey Startup



Screening and Investment Rounds



More than 200 judges selected 37 student teams to advance to the Investment Round from a record 117 submissions from 13 colleges across the Cascadia Corridor. Learn more about the innovations these 37 teams brought to the Investment Round on May 4.



Sweet Sixteen


220+ judges chose 16 student teams to advance to the Sweet 16 Round following a trade-show style Investment Round in Seattle Center's Exhibition Hall.  Learn more about the 2023 Sweet 16 teams showcasing innovations ranging from environmental, to healthcare, to consumer products.



Top Four Prizes


Judges awarded the $25,000 Herbert B. Jones Foundation Grand Prize to team Cledge for its novel application of AI to democratize college advising. The team of UW computer science students created a platform that uses AI to help students find the best college fit without having to resort to hiring private advisors to help with admission.

Cledge also made history as the first team of students from the Lavin Entrepreneurship Program to win the multi-stage competition hosted by the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship in the Foster School of Business. Cledge previously made the Sweet 16 Round in the 2023 Dempsey Startup.


Judges awarded the $15,000 BECU Second Place Prize to AMOR from UW. The team of mechanical engineering students developed a liver support system that helps liver failure patients increase their survivability in recovery, or while waiting for a transplant. Their device is also set up so any dialysis operator can use it with minimum training. AMOR previously won the $10,000 Herbert B. Jones Foundation Second Place Prize in the 2023 Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge (HIC).


The $10,000 WRF Capital Third Place Prize went to Simpl-E-Vac for designing a way to address the improvised nature of existing endoscopic vacuum therapy devices. The UW team of mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, and Master of Science in Entrepreneurship (MSE) students aim to help gastroenterologists treat leaks more reliably and effectively. Both Simpl-E-Vac and AMOR are student-created startups that came out of UW’s Engineering Innovation in Health (EIH) program.


Team Waltz won the $7,500 Friends of the Dempsey Startup Fourth Place Prize with another innovative AI-based service. The UW team of Foster Evening MBA and computer science and engineering students created a way for media companies and content creators to easily translate and dub content into 100+ languages without losing emotion, intonation, or the voice of the speaker.

Waltz also won the $2,500 DLA Piper Best Idea with Global Reach Prize, which recognizes a venture that has aspirations for acquiring customers around the world.



Additional Prizes Awarded to Dempsey Startup Investment Round Teams


11 Best Idea and Big Picture prizes were awarded to teams who competed in the Investment Round (Top 37) on May 4. You can find photos and learn more about each of the teams here.



UW Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year Award


The Buerk Center also awarded the second annual UW Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year Award to John Gabbert (Business Administration ’96), founder and CEO of Pitchbook Data. Gabbert founded the company in 2007, and in 16 years, grew it to $650 million in sales with 3,000 employees.


Pitchbook Data was acquired in 2017 and valued at $225 million. Pitchbook Data fosters a unique company culture that develops strong relationships and employee engagement while also building up the global private equity, venture capital, and M&A markets with data, technology, and services.



On Saturday, April 30 in 2022 Pacific Lutheran University will hold its annual PLU Business Plan Competition, which is sponsored by the Herbert Jones Foundation! 

This business plan competition is a unique opportunity for emerging entrepreneurs to gain valuable skills through a real-world process. 

The competition will engage students and local community members (including alumni) interested in launching a new business or organization (for-profit and not-for-profit).

Stay tuned for updates on the competition and check out additional information at:

Central Washington University today announced the establishment of a new Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I4IE) within the College of Business(CB) with the support of the Herbert Jones Foundation.

CWU will receive $15,000 for each of the next three years from the Herbert B. Jones Foundation to develop and sustain the institute. 

“I truly believe this new institute will become a key leader for economic development in central Washington, and also serve as the practical arm to commercializing university research and development ideas,” said Dr. Roy Savoian, CB dean. “It will become what we’re calling the confluence of our faculty and students with the business community we serve, including entrepreneurs in our region.”

For over 16 years, the Northwest Entrepreneur Competition has welcomed between 60-100 student teams from over 10 higher education institutions and regional high schools to compete, receive feedback, and ultimately improve their odds at entrepreneurial success.

As a collaborative, community-organized event, the NEC is managed by North Idaho College, the Spokane University District, and a large group of community judges, sponsors, and that value and support entrepreneurship in the Inland Northwest and beyond.

Exciting news and a great recap from the Engineering Innovation in Health (EIH) center at the University of Washington! 

The EIH Summer Incubator is supported by a grant from the Herbert B. Jones Foundation and is making a difference by helping UW teams and their projects advance from planning to real-world commercialization. 

UW's EIH accepted a record number of seven health innovation projects to continue development in the EIH Summer Incubator. The innovation projects called pHastCam, Safe&Sound, Mask Fit Testing, ProtectIV, Biloccult, Aeroception, and Under Pressure have continued to advance their projects towards clinical evaluation and commercialization.

This year, four past and current EIH teams were selected as finalists in the UW Holloman Health Innovation Challenge, including Under Pressure, who won 3rd place prize for $5000, and Mask Fit Testing, who won the $2500 Best Idea for Pandemic Preparedness award. Two EIH teams were recently awarded the $50,000 CoMotion Innovation Gap Fund award. Sensit-IV is a bedside diagnostic tool for targeted assessment of shock before, during, and after treatment to aid clinicians in managing fluid therapy. H2neo is an innovative, life-saving technology that provides affordable and accessible means of delivering IV fluids to vulnerable newborns in low-resourced settings globally to prevent neonatal dehydration. Sensit-IV has also gone on to win both Phases I and Phase II of the national VentureWell E-Team award for bringing high-impact innovation out of the lab and into the market. H2neo has also gone on to negotiate a licensing agreement for their innovative technology. The ProtectIV, Sensit-IV, pHastcam, and h2neo EIH teams were awarded $10,000 Murdock Foundry for Biochemical Diagnostic Pilot Awards.

Congratulations to all the EIH teams and the tremendous success you have achieved this year!

Learn more from the official press release below...




What's the Purpose of the Jones Progress Awards Program?




The Jones Progress Awards support graduating Seattle University students and recent alums in ramping up their new businesses by providing a solid infrastructure of mentoring, grant funds, and connections within the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Who Are the Program's Sponsors?

The Herbert B. Jones Foundation has provided a generous grant to the Albers Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center (IEC) to seed the first series of awards.  The IEC welcomes sponsors that want to fund additional teams.

Taking a startup from idea to reality is a daunting process. The Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship’s Jones + Foster Accelerator, now in its fifth year, helps student-led startups navigate that process with six-months of mentoring from Seattle entrepreneurs and investors, a framework for defining measurable milestones, guidance in achieving those milestones, and the opportunity to earn up to $25,000 in follow-on funding.

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