WISCONSIN ENTREPRENEURSHIP RESOURCES
Need some training? Seeking a mentor? Hoping to collaborate? Searching for shared work space?
Here are some of the key groups providing services to entrepreneurs in Wisconsin.
(Know of an organization or program that should be added? Let us know — Email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
CENTER FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP: Madison Area Technical College’s Center for Entrepreneurship offers several — typically free — workshops geared toward entrepreneurs. There’s also a chef’s series and sustainable agriculture program. Plus, the website contains a specific entrepreneurship resources list.
THE DOYENNE GROUP: Doyenne supports women entrepreneurs through a variety of methods, including training, mentoring and funding. Founded in Madison, Doyenne is in the process of expanding to Milwaukee and Green Bay.
GENER8TOR: Three times a year, this startup accelerator chooses five start-ups to participate in 12-week program that “supports the growth of these startups through our network of experienced mentors, technologists, corporate partners, angel investors and venture capitalists.”
SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTERS: Located at four-year universities around the state, the SBDCs offer training and guidance on everything from business planning to loans and finances to marketing and sales. (NOTE: SBDCs are located across the United States. So if you’re not in Wisconsin, find one near you here.)
SECTOR67: Sector67 is self-described as a Community Workspace/Hackspace/Makerspace that provides all types of equipment (3D printing, woodworking, automotive, art/textiles …) as well as office and co-working space on the east side of Madison.
STARTINGBLOCK: Opening in June 2018, StartingBlock aims to be an “entrepreneurial hub”, putting several entrepreneurial programs and entities in a single, 40,000-square-foot space near Capitol Square. The goal is to make it easier for entrepreneurs, investors, advisers and community members to connect, share ideas and help each other succeed. (More on StartingBlock)
UPSTART PROGRAM: UpStart is a free WARF program for women and people of color. It’s a 10-week class (held one evening a week) that walks participants through the starting-a-business process. Topics include the business model canvas, what legal information you need to know and how to use the Internet to improve your business.
WARD4: Ward4 is a co-working hub in Milwaukee that offers office and co-working spaces to entrepreneurs, start-ups and larger businesses. (It’s also genera8tor’s Milwaukee home.)
WARF: Supporting businesses is just one aspect of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. Among WARF’s offerings is the Entrepreneurons program, a series of presentations on business-related topics. Recent presentations have included “Why choose Wisconsin for your business?”, “Social entrepreneurship: Can you do well by doing good?” and “Startup serendipity and strategy: Seizing opportunities, navigating troubles.”
WEDC: The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation is the state government agency that replaced the former Department of Commerce. It’s a public-private partnership that offers grants for non-profits and communities in support of entrepreneurs, as well as tax incentives for investors. But WEDC also offers micro-grants to support business planning and strategy for entrepreneurs.
WISCONSIN TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL: A non-profit and non-partisan organization, the Wisconsin Technology Council is the science and technology adviser to the governor and Legislature. Its Innovation Network is intended to foster entrepreneurship, and among its events are the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in June.
WWBIC: The Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation focuses on “individuals who face barriers in accessing traditional financing or resources.” WWBIC offers training — most classes are free — and helps entrepreneurs access capital for their businesses.