UWT’s VIBE promotes real-world knowledge with weekly workshops

The Veterans Incubator for Better Entrepreneurship — known as VIBE — hosts three weekly workshop series Mon­day through Wednesday from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. to help students apply their education outside of the classroom. Grit City Mondays deal with mental tough­ness, Technical Tuesdays discuss leader­ship and pitching ideas, and the Brown Bag series on Wednesdays allows students to hear from successful entrepreneurs.

Each series is held in the VIBE office located in the Tioga Library Building, room 307A.

VIBE began in 2013 with late Chan­cellor Debra Friedman’s vision to help veterans apply their unique skills to en­trepreneurship. Thomas Kuljam became Director of VIBE in 2015 after 20 years in the U.S. military and 24 years in com­mercial banking.

According to Kuljam, VIBE needed “clarity, consistency and legacy.” While VIBE has a special focus on veterans, their programs are open to all students.

“Students get their formal education in the classroom, I put it into practice,” Kuljam said.

During Grit City Mondays, Travis Daigle — who has experience as an Army Special Forces medic, an engineer and entrepreneur — helps students de­velop mental toughness and put their ideas into action. Kuljam explained that this series helps students deal with the “why” of going into entrepreneurship and avoid burnout.

Technical Tuesdays help students with leadership skills, confidence and pitching ideas. This series is headed by Kristina Maritczak, who has over 20 years of experience as a lawyer, and Heidi Grace, founder of Heidi Grace Designs.

The Brown Bag series allows students to hear stories from local successful en­trepreneurs. Each week is a new speaker but Kuljam explained, “it’s the same story: purpose, purpose, purpose.” Su­zanne Boyd — founder and CEO of Olympia-based Anthro-Tech — will speak at the next Brown Bag series on Feb. 28. Each talk is also posted online for students to view.

While many of VIBE’s weekly pro­grams seem to be aimed towards busi­ness students, Kuljam believes all students can benefit from their focus on practical knowledge. Kuljam ex­plained that earning a degree is im­portant, but learning how to apply those skills in the world is also neces­sary. His goal is to get students to think outside of the box.

“I want them to push the envelope,” Kuljam said.

COURTESY OF VETERANS INCUBATOR FOR BETTER ENTREPRENEURSHIP
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