Young Enterprising Society launches entrepreneurship training program

The Blueprint aims to create more inclusive startup community

Que El-Amin

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

Young Enterprising Society plans to launch a new training program for urban Milwaukee startups called The Blueprint.

Que El-Amin

The Blueprint will offer technology, e-commerce and advanced manufacturing training to entrepreneurs seeking to establish new companies or grow existing businesses in Wisconsin.

YES co-founders and brothers Khalif and Que El-Amin, entrepreneurs and real estate developers, will lead the training program at the M-WERC Energy Innovation Center, 4201 N. 27th St. They aim to support growth in the central city, help residents develop technology and innovation skills, and increase the diversity in Milwaukee’s professional millennial population.

“We’re looking for all of the existing (central city startups), and we’re also at the same time looking to create new startups,” Que said. “There are some in the urban community but a lot of them have to be identified so that’s part of the process.”

“We are beyond excited to be involved in the professional growth of this inaugural cohort of businesses,” Khalif said. “The knowledge, connections and opportunities these businesses will gain from this innovative and unprecedented program will be invaluable to them.”

Que credited Alderwoman Milele Coggs with helping the program get started by allocating funding in the city’s budget for it.

“What we had noticed and what she had noticed is we needed more startups in the inner city of Milwaukee,” Que said. “The more businesses there are, it will create more tax revenue for the city and the state.”

The program is accepting applications through Aug. 12 from companies that have been in business for 10 years or fewer, and have revenue of less than $1 million for its first cohort. Forty companies will be selected to participate in a bootcamp Sept. 7 to 9 to teach business model, legal, marketing, financial, mentor, tax and technical concepts. Then 10 bootcamp participants will move on to an eight-week training program called The Cultivator from Sept. 22 to Nov. 10, which will provide more in-depth training on those topics. At the end of the program, the top business will receive $10,000, second place will receive $5,000 and third place will receive $2,500. Two businesses will receive heavily discounted office or industrial space, and Legacy Redevelopment Corp. will provide access to capital of up to $200,000 through a new revolving loan fund.

The City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee Institute and Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. will help fund the program.

“Providing Milwaukee entrepreneurs with support resources and training is critical to help cultivate a startup ecosystem in our city,” said Karl Gouverneur, vice president of digital workplace, corporate solutions and head of digital innovation at Northwestern Mutual. “Growing and diversifying the talent pool is important for the success and growth of our city, and we’re proud to support the Young Enterprising Society Blueprint Cultivator program, which will build up skills to help entrepreneurs from Milwaukee’s central city run and grow their businesses.”

“Milwaukee Institute is committed to thinking of the inner city as a resource rather than a problem,” said Kathleen Gallagher, executive director of the Milwaukee Institute. “We appreciate the way Alderwoman (Milele) Coggs spurred our resolution to get behind a program that promises to improve the inner city from within.”

“I am thrilled that this project has been met with broad support,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. “I applaud Young Enterprising Society for spearheading this effort. It’s important for the city to invest in projects like this that spark entrepreneurial talent and grow an inclusive tech startup ecosystem in our city and jobs of the future.”

Instructors for The Blueprint will be drawn from startup communities around the area, which will be an opportunity to build bridges among the communities, Que said. YES also plans to host quarterly “Lunch and Learn” sessions to recruit new entrepreneurs.

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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