Scale Up Milwaukee selects ‘Scalerator’ participants

Eleven local businesses have been selected to participate in Scale Up Milwaukee’s “Scalerator” program.

Scale Up Milwaukee is a multi-year, public-private project, part of a new initiative commissioned by American Express OPEN. The entrepreneurship project is based on a model developed by Daniel Isenberg, founding executive director of the Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project at Babson College in Wellesly, Mass., who is also the architect and facilitator of the Scale Up Milwaukee efforts.

The project’s goal is to create an “entrepreneurship ecosystem” in Milwaukee by focusing on existing companies with the potential or desire to grow dramatically.

The ‘Scalerator,’ one of Scale Up Milwaukee’s major efforts, will last two months, beginning on Sept. 19. The businesses accepted into the ‘Scalerator’ will participate in four two-day workshops and a variety of activities between those workshops, and will receive training and mentoring, and participate in structured assignments from a team of experts from Babson College. An overview of those workshops can be found here.

“While this initial group of companies has already demonstrated some success, each embodies a great desire to expand and take their businesses to the next level,” said Isenberg. “The Scalerator is designed to bolster these entrepreneurs with additional skills and knowledge to accelerate their growth trajectory.”

“We are committed to bringing a new, more practical vision of entrepreneurship to the city of Milwaukee,” said Randi Schochet, vice president for brand and advocacy at American Express OPEN. “The Scalerator will take highly ambitious entrepreneurs and help them realize that vision so they can be the examples for other businesses. We are all very excited for the future of entrepreneurship in Milwaukee.”

In addition to American Express OPEN, partners in the Scale Up Milwaukee project include the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC), the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA), the Milwaukee Economic Development Corp. (MEDC), Mayor Tom Barrett’s office, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM), and the Greater Milwaukee Committee (GMC).

“Our Scale Up Milwaukee partners were instrumental in helping us identify Milwaukee-area businesses with high potential to grow,” said Julia Taylor, Greater Milwaukee Committee president. “We’re optimistic that the Scalerator will have a positive impact on the Milwaukee community and provide us with an early indicator of the successes we can achieve through Scale Up Milwaukee.”

The 11 business participating in the ‘Scalerator’ are:

  • Able Access, non-emergency Paratransit transportation service.
  • Advanced Chemical Systems, wastewater treatment providing equipment, chemistry and industry expertise.
  • Bridge Logistics Services, full service commercial warehousing company.
  • Diamond Discs International, provider of construction industry diamond blades, drilling and cutting equipment.
  • Glorious Malone’s Fine Sausage, producer of headcheese for distribution throughout the Midwest.
  • Hands on Garage, full-service automotive maintenance.
  • Pho-Tronics, manufacturer of printed circuit boards.
  • Sosh, an online media and promotions agency specializing in social media strategy, management, promotions and offline events.
  • Spaulding Clinical Research, full service Phase 1 clinical testing facility specializing in cardiac safety.
  • Vistelar Group, consultancy providing training to professionals in areas of interpersonal communication to crisis communications.
  • Visual Impressions, Inc., screen printing production.

The Babson College experts that will lead the workshops are:

  • Dan Isenberg , leader of Scale Up Milwaukee, Babson Executive Education professor of entrepreneurship practice and the founding executive director of the Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project (BEEP)
  • Leslie Charm, Babson faculty and expert on entrepreneurial finance
  • Elaine Eisenman, Dean of Executive Education at Babson College
  • Vincent Onyemah, Professor of Sales and Marketing at Babson College

For more information on the ‘Scalerator’ and Scale Up Milwaukee, read BizTimes’ July 22 special report on the project here or visit its website,

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