The event, being held Nov. 1 to 6, aims to help entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. The week’s events will be hosted by more than 20 organizations that can provide assistance to startups, from BizStarts, to Golden Angels Investors, to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.
But it will also serve to connect some of the startup-focused organizations in the Milwaukee area, which have been criticized by some entrepreneurs as being in too many separate silos.
“Research shows that strong startup communities have increased collaboration and connectivity between the organizations that are helping entrepreneurs grow and scale their companies,” said Matt Cordio, co-founder of Startup Milwaukee and co-organizer of Milwaukee Startup Week. “Going into this, our goal was to increase collaboration and I think we succeeded at that.”
The goal is to host the Milwaukee Startup Week every year, Cordio said.
“I think that this will take a long-term commitment from all these organizations,” he said. “We hope this is a starting point of something new and exciting.”
All 21 events will be free, sponsored by the organizations hosting them. Programming will include educational workshops, a Speaker Crawl with startup stories from local entrepreneurs, a pitch event, a road trip to see Beloit’s startup scene and a discussion of southeastern Wisconsin’s entrepreneurial activity. The collaborators hosting events include gener8tor, NEWaukee, Milwaukee Tech Engine, Irontek Beloit, Ward 4, IdeaWake, Marquette University, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Granular Marketing, Accelity Marketing and Technori.
“Some of them have sponsors for their specific events, but our belief is we need to make each event free for the entrepreneurs because that’s really what this week is about,” Cordio said. “It’s really about entrepreneurs helping entrepreneurs launch their growth in southeastern Wisconsin.”
This inaugural event’s overarching themes are: building a stronger startup community; connecting startups and corporations; educating entrepreneurs launching and growing new ventures in southeast Wisconsin; supporting startups on college campuses; providing an opportunity to create new products and ventures; and experiencing southeast Wisconsin’s co-working spaces.
Cordio said he’s most excited about the event on Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 8:30 a.m. called “1 Million Cups: Building a Stronger Startup Community.” It will open up the discussion about Milwaukee’s dismal entrepreneurship activity rankings and how to improve the climate for startups in the area.
“We’ve all heard the negative news regarding startup growth for our region. Instead of complaining about it, we decided to do something about it,” said Ed Javier, co-organizer of Milwaukee Startup Week. “We believe that by hosting this event we can highlight the organizations out there who are helping entrepreneurs in southeast Wisconsin and help foster the long-term growth of the community.”
Milwaukee Startup Week will be sponsored by Meissner Tierney Fisher & Nichols S.C., Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority and Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.
More information about Milwaukee Startup Week, including the calendar of events, is available here.