BizStarts Milwaukee has named Jacquin Davidson executive director.
The nonprofit organization, which helps entrepreneurs develop their companies, hired Davidson as its entrepreneur director in May. She was previously a successful entrepreneur in southern California, starting and growing a company that provided services for the television commercial production industry and international print media, and later launching a consulting company for nonprofits called Davidson Associates. Davidson also has several years of experience in private banking.
BizStarts in April launched BizForge, a resource center for startups at its new 5,000-square-foot office at Schlitz Park. The space offers coaching, programming and other resources in a collaborative atmosphere to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
At the same time, BizStarts shifted from focusing just on “gazelles,” or high-growth companies, to also including “deer,” or small and medium-sized businesses across a variety of industries. Since there is less competition for entrepreneurs among those companies, the shift has been very successful, said Dan Steininger, president of BizStarts.
The expanded mission and the success of BizForge have driven a 300 percent increase in deal flow, which has resulted in the need for Davidson to take on more responsibilities, Steininger said.
Davidson will manage the day-to-day operations of the organization, develop funds and assemble a staff to assist her. BizStarts will hire two new employees immediately, bringing it to four full-time employees.
“She’s proven herself to be terrific. She’s got a great rapport with entrepreneurs,” Steininger said. “She’s also got a strong background in fund development.”
BizStarts is currently working with about 130 entrepreneurs.
“I’m very excited about it,” Davidson said. “BizStarts is really just in such a solid position right now and we are seeing so many entrepreneurs. We really see a huge increase in the number of entrepreneurs we’re seeing and expect that to increase probably by three times in the next year.
“We realized that there are so many companies that are deer and we want to make sure we are inclusive because those are the companies that stay here in our M7 region and those are the companies that make jobs.”