Concordia University Wisconsin adds small business innovation center

New business school will include more entrepreneurship programs

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Concordia University Wisconsin has established a new innovation center aimed at driving economic development by providing mentorship and marketing assistance to early-stage businesses in the Mequon-Thiensville area.

The Mequon university’s Batterman School of Business has partnered with Vertz Marketing and Rotary International to form the Vertz Marketing Rotary Small Business Innovation Center, and will accept 10 area businesses into the free program this fall. Three student interns will be assigned to each business for the semester.

Concordia ran a pilot of the new program in the spring, and now plans to offer it once per year in the fall semester, said Daniel Sem, dean of the Batterman School of Business.

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“We have a theme of students learning business through applied entrepreneurship,” Sem said. “I love tapping in to the expertise of business people that have done it and are doing it.”

“We are proud to be a part in creating the Vertz Marketing Rotary Small Business Innovation Center at Concordia University and help give back to our local community,” said Tim Vertz, founder and chief executive officer of Vertz Marketing.

The Mequon-Thiensville Chamber of Commerce, Thiensville Business Association, Thiensville-Mequon Rotary and Ozaukee Economic Development are also sponsoring the program. Applications are now being accepted at

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Concordia’s existing entrepreneurship programming includes a health care innovation program aimed at addressing chronic illnesses and a CU Launch pitch competiton for student startups.

The university’s new business school is currently under construction, and plans are in the works to add more entrepreneurship programming there, Sem said. Among the plans are an accounting and finance clinic, a center for character and ethics, and a legal clinic.

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