Kyle Ilenda: UWM student, small-business owner

My name is Kyle Ilenda. I’m studying mechanical
engineering here at UWM. I’m also a freelance videographer, which has led me to merge both
engineering and video production into a startup that creates video camera accessories. I knew that my strengths were in video and
I enjoyed doing and I just thought of it as a really good hobby. A few semesters ago I asked my academic advisor
if there was any way to integrate entrepreneurship or small business into an engineering degree. This was at the same time that the Student
Startup Challenge was starting. I was able to, in the second year, formulate
my idea to a point where I felt I could submit and compete and I was fortunate enough to
get chosen as a Student Startup Challenge winner and receive $10-thousand. And now I’ve
been able to take this idea that was just sketches or parts that I had made in my free
time to something that I can now do you more formally and move at a quicker pace than just
tinkering on the weekends. What I’m most proud of is not the end prototype
that we’ve come up with, but kind of how we came to it. For us it’s been about learning and this has
really enhanced our education because we’ve learned things that are really key to engineering
and video. I think the Student Startup Challenge, it
says a lot about the school and what they think of their students, you know. We’re about
to grow our ideas here and get shown that we can be innovative and we can be strong
members of the business community.

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