Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies

Events & Competitions
Upcoming Event Info

These calendars showcase our upcoming events on and off the Saint Mary’s campus, as well as some local entreprenurial events in the Winona and Rochester areas. Check out the details below, and for updates leading up to an event, be sure to follow us on Facebook @KabaraSMUMN and Twitter @KabaraSMUMN too!

Kabara Guest Speakers

Kabara hosts an entrepreneurial guest speaker on campus for every month of the academic year. Below are the upcoming speaker dates and topics for the 2019/2020 school year.

30 September

Topic: Arts and Entrepreneurship

21 October

Topic: Franchising – Leveraging a Proven Model

18 November 

Topic: Living with Purpose – Social Entrepreneurship

9 December

Topic: Pop Up Shops, E Commerce and the Gig Economy

27 January 

Topic: The Science of Business – Medicine and Research

24 February

Topic: Tech and the World of Start Ups

23 March

Topic: Women Founders – Passion Lived Out

20 April 

Topic: It Runs in the Family – Creating and Counting a Family Business

1 Million Cups

1 Million Cups is a monthly event that brings together the local community of entrepreneurs for a cup of coffee and a conversation. These sessions are an amazing opportunity for those looking for first hand entrepreneurial advice from start-up business owners.

1 Million Cups Winona

123 Lafayette Street, Winona, MN 55987

1MC Winona takes place on the second Wednesday of every month from 7:30 – 8:30 A.M at the Garage Co-Work Space. For more information on their monthly guest speakers, follow them on their Facebook page for updates!

1 Million Cups Rochester

14 4th Street SW, Rochester, MN 55902

1MC Rochester takes place on first Wednesday of every month from 9:00 – 10:00 A.M. For more information on their monthly guest speakers, follow them on their Facebook page for updates!

For more details regarding the national 1 Million Cups community, check them out on their official website.

WE Forum Events

Women Entrepreneurs Forum events are a chance for women entrepreneurs to gain insight, seek advice and harness their entrepreneurial spirits.

All WE Events on our calendar will be located at Saint Mary’s University – Rochester at Cascade Meadow from 7:30 – 9:30 A.M.

Upcoming Event Details

June 27

WORKSHOP: Building your Leadership Style – “Using StrengthsFinder”

by Bethany von Steinbergs

July 18

PANEL: Becoming Known – “Effective Marketing Strategies for your Business”

September 19

WORKSHOP: Marketing with a Team of One – “Promoting your Business without a Marketing Department”

October 17

PANEL: Turning challenges into Opportunities – “Navigating Potholes on the Road to Success”

November (TBD)

Global Entrepreneurship Week and RAVE Event (Recognizing Awarding Valuing Entrepreneurs)

December 12

WORKSHOP: Evaluating your Business – “Pivot of Fresh Start”

Startup Weekend

Techstars Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event where entrepreneurs are placed in small teams to brainstorm and create an innovative business or product idea. Teams then work together for the rest of the weekend to create an elevator pitch, business plan and presentation with a basic prototype to share with the other teams and receive feedback from experienced entrepreneurs at the end of the event.

A great opportunity for those looking to collaborate with other rising entrepreneurs and to gain experience that will help pave the way for future startup endeavors.

June 21-23

Friday June 21, 6:00 P.M. – Sunday June 23, 8:30 P.M.

Cascade Meadow Wetlands & Environmental Science Center

2900 19th St NW

Rochester, MN 55901


For more information and the daily event schedule, visit the Techstars Website, or to purchase tickets, visit Startup Weekend’s official EventBrite page.

Recent Event

SMIF Student Bridge Competition

After previously winning first place in SMUMN’s own elevator pitch competition last spring, James Perreault spent the summer developing his pitch even further to present his ideas at the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation’s Entrepreneurial Bridge Competition.

Perreault, a Finance and Entrepreneurship double major, entered the Competition with his idea, the “UV Canopy,” a product that would use UV-C lighting to disinfect bacteria off the surfaces of many day-to-day items.

Overall, Perreault not only showcased his entrepreneurial ideas within his presentation, but also his entrepreneurial spirit; he was an admirable representative of the SMUMN community.

To hear more about Perreault’s journey, check out his story on the Student Spotlight page.

Elevator Pitch Competition

Kabara hosts a semi-annual elevator pitch competition where students have the opportunity to pitch their business idea in 90 seconds or less for cash prizes. Learn more about the completion by reading the rules and requirements.

Our 2018 Fall Semester Winners were:

1st Place – Sarah Hardy and Anna Dale with “Ensemble”

2nd Place – Carolyn Klaesges and Luis Avila with “Drive Coin”

3rd Place –  Jakira Robinson with “#GIRLCHAT”


“Athletes United” – Justine Schultz and Kris Shepard

“Providing Opportunities for Prosperity” – Katherine Lofquist

“Eat Green and Go” – Lily Figel


“Weight to Wake” – Izamar Leon

“Solar Pot” – Taliya Harris

“Soaker Socks” – Stephany Beck

Our 2018 Spring Semester Winners were

1st Place – James Perreault with “Sani-Cart”

2nd Place – Jake Mencacci, Bailey McKnight, Steven Reamer & Alex Kleve with “RIGHTFITSports”

3rd Place – Rowan Flynn and Carolyn Klaesges with “Utilizing Predictive Modeling”

Business Plan Competition

To further foster the entrepreneurial spirit within its students, the Saint Mary’s University Business Department and the Kabara Institute will periodically sponsor the business plan competition to engage and encourage business-minded students at SMUMN.

Learn more about the competition by reading the rules and requirements.