First-ever initiative includes 70+ events in 10 cities to assist startups, promote entrepreneurship

Nov. 6, 2017 — Governor Scott Walker has proclaimed Nov. 6-12 as Startup Week throughout the state to celebrate the achievements of Wisconsin’s entrepreneurs and to promote efforts to provide additional support for startups and early-stage companies.

The proclamation is being issued in conjunction with the first-ever Wisconsin Startup Week, in which entrepreneurs, investors, business executives and community leaders will share advice and resources in more than 70 events statewide this week.

Sponsored in part by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), Wisconsin Startup Week will feature free events that will build momentum and celebrate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the state.

The initiative aims to help entrepreneurs discover resources in their communities, highlight the importance of startups to the growth of the state’s economy and showcase innovations developed by Wisconsin startups.

“Wisconsin’s entrepreneurs and startup businesses play a vital role in Wisconsin’s overall economic success,” Governor Walker said in the proclamation, adding that Wisconsin Startup Week is one of the efforts developed by WEDC and its partners to support entrepreneurship statewide.

Workshops, startup pitch competitions and “hacker” events, seminars, roundtable discussions, meetups, social  activities and other events will take place in 10 Wisconsin cities: Appleton, Beloit, Fond du Lac, Green Bay, Kenosha, La Crosse, Madison, Milwaukee, and Stevens Point. All events are free and open to the public.

Topics include raising startup capital, finding resources to start or grow a business, social media and branding, networking, how to pitch to investors, and marketing. There also will be special programs for veteran and women entrepreneurs.

One of the highlights of the week is the Reverse Pitch MKE event set for Monday in Milwaukee.

At the event, Northwestern Mutual, a presenting sponsor of Startup Week, will pitch to startup teams and outline potential business challenges and big ideas it is looking to solve. Teams that accept the challenge can earn a seed investment of up to $75,000, access to corporate mentors and networks, and work space at Northwestern Mutual’s downtown Milwaukee headquarters.

Another event held during the week is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) national Conference for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR), which be held in Milwaukee from Tuesday through Thursday. During that conference, entrepreneurs and researchers in the biohealth sector will get expert advice on how to how to tap into the more than $900 million in federal grants available annually under the program.

Other key events include:

For a complete list of events, visit

The Wisconsin Startup Week initiative is supported by Aurora Health Care, Concordia University Wisconsin, Husch Blackwell and Northwestern Mutual. WEDC is a statewide media partner, along with BizTimesMedia and Newsradio 620 WTMJ.

Link to Governor Walker’s Startup Week proclamation