gener8tor launches social impact program

Partners with American Family Insurance on Madison offering

Joe Kirgues, co-founder of gener8tor.

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:04 pm

Milwaukee- and Madison-based entrepreneurship organization gener8tor today announced it will launch another iteration of its gBETA program, this one focused on early-stage nonprofits and companies launching K-12 education-related products, services or content.

Joe Kirgues of gener8tor welcomes attendees to Premiere Night.

The new seven-week program, gBETA Social Impact, is being offered in partnership with Madison-based American Family Insurance, and will be based at new Madison entrepreneurship space The Spark. The location in The Spark is aimed at fostering collaboration among the participants and other entrepreneurs.

Like other gBETA programs, the non-equity accelerator is reserved for companies with Wisconsin roots, is free to entrepreneurs and is focused on gaining customer traction. Each cohort gains one-on-one coaching, as well as connections to gener8tors investor, mentor, corporate and customer networks. Five applicants will be chosen for the first gBETA Social Impact cohort.

“gBETA Social Impact is gener8tor’s newest, exciting program that will give entrepreneurs the resources and mentorship they need to make a difference in education in their communities,” said Joe Kirgues, co-founder of gener8tor. “Investing in our best and brightest has always been gener8tor’s mission, and this program does exactly that.”

“We could not be more excited to partner with gener8tor to make gBETA Social Impact a reality,” said Peter Gunder, chief business development officer at American Family Insurance. “One of the things that American Family Insurance is passionate about is our community, and this program is another way to make a substantial investment in the future.”

gBETA Social Impact is accepting applications through Sept. 14 for the fall cohort, which begins Oct. 4.

gener8tor’s eponymous seed accelerator program accepts just five companies per year, and invests $90,000 in each in return for an equity stake. Its gBETA program helps fledgling businesses with local roots become competitive for angel financing or accelerators, but does not take an equity stake. And its gALPHA program goes a step earlier in the process and helps creative, innovative people with ideas see if they could be developed to form a company.

The organization has been expanding its non-equity programs rapidly this year, adding Milwaukee musician mentorship program Backline, Milwaukee artist accelerator, Los Angeles music technology accelerator gBETA Musictech, Cincinnati accelerator The Brandery, and several new gBETA cities. gener8tor now has 30 employees, 20 of whom are full-time.

This is one of several social entrepreneurship efforts undertaken in Wisconsin recently. Milwaukee organizations The Commons, NEWaukee  Startup Milwaukee earlier this month launched co:lab, a new “civic accelerator” to apply entrepreneurial thinking to social challenges, which is set to launch in Milwaukee in January.

And Marquette University and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation last year established the Force for Positive Change Awards to recognize and fund social entrepreneurship efforts in Wisconsin.

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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