Last updated on June 24th, 2019 at 04:08 pm
Milwaukee entrepreneurship training program The Blueprint has narrowed the field in its second cohort, selecting 12 startups to complete its Cultivator 1 class.
This second edition of The Blueprint, which is hosted by Young Enterprising Society, began with an application and interview process. There were 32 applicants, and 20 were selected to take part in the first portion of the program, an entrepreneurship bootcamp. From April 5 to 7, the bootcamp companies pitched their businesses, and 12 were ultimately selected for Cultivator 1.
The entrepreneurs selected for Cultivator 1, which culminates in a Demo Day pitch competition in June, began this final portion of the program on April 13. Ten of the companies will receive $2,500 in seed funding upon completion of the program. They are:
- Justin Goodrum of Good Entertainment, a multimedia production company with a focus on ownership by the independent filmmaker.
- Lawrence Norwood of Norwood Media Group, a social media management company targeted to small businesses.
- Jessica Cropp of Privy Consult, an on-demand app for gig economy employees.
- Selwyn Jarvis of Ready, Set, Sub, a real-time staffing platform that allows for rapid scale up or scale down.
- Thomas Hughes of Aerial Driven Vision Photography, a drone imagery service.
- Aisha Pasha of ATC Hair Care, a hair loss therapy provider.
- Aichelle White of MuSample, a rights management platform for musical artists.
- Chanel Brown of GoodVibeZ, a music-focused social platform.
- Chineva Smith of Crowned Soles, an online women’s shoe retailer that offers customization.
- Jasmine Bailey of Bosom Buddy, a tool aimed at helping bras last longer.
- Brandon Methu and Marquise Keys of Opportunity Crowd, an opportunity zone investment platform for non-accredited investors.
- LaKeesha Brown and Lategra Kimmons of Essentially You, a personalized body and home care product developer.
YES founders and brothers Khalif and Que El-Amin launched The Blueprint in July with the aim of supporting growth in the central city, helping residents develop technology and innovation skills, and increasing diversity in Milwaukee’s professional millennial population. The Cultivator is a 12-week program, during which investors and experienced entrepreneurs from the community teach a variety of classes on building a company. The classes are held at the Century City Tower, 4201 N. 27th St. on Milwaukee’s northwest side.
“We’ve had some good presentations so far. A lot of the companies are starting to get used to how we do things and the expectations are there and they’re set, so they’re working their butts off,” Khalif El-Amin said. “This time we ramped it up a little bit with the amount of work and the intensity, the rigor of the coursework. The companies, they’re doing a great job handling it. I see a lot of internal collaboration already between companies, so that’s always a good thing.”
YES has also now added a second program, Cultivator 2, for later-stage companies, many of which have graduated from The Blueprint. There are seven companies currently taking part in Cultivator 2, which is also 12 weeks. Five of the companies will receive $7,500 upon completion of the program. They are:
- StyleQ, an on-demand booking platform for beauty and wellness.
- INPOWER, a growth acceleration project management tool for growing businesses.
- NewWay Innovation, a manufacturer of e-bikes for urban transit.
- PumpFive, a remote car fueling service.
- Fresh Smoked Cafe & Market, a meal service focused on high-quality herbs and spices.
- The B.E.E. Narrative, which highlights positive black people, places and experiences to change the Milwaukee narrative.
- Potty Pearls, a portable toilet air freshener that won the top prize in the inaugural Blueprint.
The Demo Day will take place June 30 and will be open to the public. The location is to be determined.