El-Amin brothers launch accelerator program in Green Bay, aim for Madison next

Khalif and Que El-Amin, owners and founders of the Young Enterprising Society, were the recipients of the 2019 Bravo! Entrepreneur Regional Spirit Award.

Young Enterprising Society (YES) has deployed its Milwaukee-based accelerator model in Green Bay and has plans to take its programming to Madison next.

The Blueprint accelerator invests in startups and provides mentorship to founders throughout Milwaukee’s entrepreneurial ecosystem with an emphasis on supporting people of color, women and veterans.

The program, founded by brothers Que and Khalif El-Amin, has held six cohorts and supported dozens of local startups including washbnb, Safety4Her, Tip a ScRxipt and Carvd N Stone. Now the El-Amin’s are offering their accelerator to Green Bay area startups at Urban Hub, a co-working space in Green Bay’s downtown Rail Yard Innovation District.

The Blueprint is designed for early-stage companies in technology, eCommerce and advanced manufacturing. The program looks to attract scalable startups that have been in business for less than five years and with annual revenue of $1 million or less.

Khalif El-Amin says Green Bay’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is growing, and its stakeholders have shown they are committed to supporting a demographic that is underrepresented in entrepreneurship, he said.

“With organizations like Titletown Tech, they’re making an intentional push to uplift that community,” Khalif El-Amin said. “I just think the time is right to bring our programming, and offer more access, exposure, resources and confidence to those underrepresented entrepreneurs in that region.”

Khalif El-Amin says YES would like to bring The Blueprint to Madison next, although he did not provide a specific timeframe.

“We’re trying to create a triangle between Milwaukee, Madison and Green Bay,” Khalif El-Amin said. “Just how the timing worked out, Green Bay was ahead of schedule.”

The Blueprint-Green Bay will be run by YES, Greater Green Bay Chamber of Commerce and New North, Northeastern Wisconsin’s economic development organization.

Like The Blueprint-Milwaukee, the Green Bay program consists of two 12-week cohorts per year – an idea validation cohort and a market validation cohort. The first 12-week cohort curriculum focuses on the ideation phase of the business like creating revenue models to ensure their idea is viable.

The market validation cohort that follows teaches entrepreneurs to identify market opportunities, like defining target markets, connecting with a manufacturer, learning go-to-market strategies and how to build a customer base.

Idea validation cohort graduates could receive up to $5,000 in grant funding upon completion of the program while market validation cohort graduates could receive up to $25,000 in grant funding.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is supporting the The Blueprint-Green Bay with a $150,00 grant to New North, Inc., which will provide seed capital to founders upon successful completion of the program, according to a press release.

Applications for The Blueprint Green Bay’s idea validation cohort open today and are due by July while applications for the market validation cohort open in January 2022. Click here to apply.

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Brandon covers startups, technology, manufacturing. He previously worked as a general assignment and court reporter for The Freeman in Waukesha. Brandon graduated from UW-Milwaukee’s journalism, advertising and media studies program with an emphasis in journalism. He enjoys live music, playing guitar and loves to hacky sack.

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