Startup Milwaukee founder Matt Cordio and startup consultant Ed Javier are leading a statewide effort to build connectivity among Wisconsin’s startup communities by expanding last year’s successful Startup Milwaukee Week into Wisconsin Startup Week.
“Other cities that observed what we had built in Milwaukee wanted to figure out how to bring the energy of an event like this to their hometowns,” says Cordio of the launch of Wisconsin Startup Week.
“Each city has a unique entrepreneurial identity and compelling case of why an entrepreneur should launch a business there,” says Cordio. He adds that the state’s business environment has improved over the past few years, and there are wonderful programs such as the WEDC’s Qualified New Business Venture program that are incenting investors around the state to invest in early-stage companies here in Wisconsin.
The week’s events are designed by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, offering opportunities to access resources to help grow and scale businesses in Wisconsin, and for entrepreneurs to increase connections with potential investors, fellow entrepreneurs, established companies and potential customers.
While there are more than 70 events scheduled for the week, Cordio noted there are a few to watch:
- Reverse Pitch MKE: Northwestern Mutual will pitch to entrepreneurs, outlining potential business challenges and big ideas the company is looking to explore and solve; teams that accept the challenge can earn a seed investment of up to $85,000, access to corporate mentors and networks, and working space at Northwestern Mutual’s downtown Milwaukee headquarters. This event, says Cordio, is meant to be a model that other established companies in the state can follow to solve their own business challenges while creating growth in their local startup communities.
- Free entrepreneurial bootcamp program: With Concordia University Wisconsin, the bootcamp is designed to be a resource for entrepreneurs; bootcamp event are slated in Appleton, Beloit, Green Bay, Kenosha, Madison and Milwaukee.
- Hatch Finale: Run by Brightstar Foundation and NEWaukee, this event is the culmination of a new program has helped to ignite Northcentral Wisconsin’s startup culture.
“Entrepreneurs are the leading creators of net new jobs in the American economy. It is important to celebrate the successes, wealth and jobs created by entrepreneurs around the state,” said Cordio. “We believe that by highlighting all of the startup activity happening around the state during Wisconsin Startup Week, we can help build positive momentum and raise awareness of all the resources available to entrepreneurs throughout the state of Wisconsin.”
To learn more about Wisconsin Startup Week visit, WIStartupWeek.org.