Your next mentor could be here
BizStarts held a Mentor/Advisor Networking Event at the offices of Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek in Milwaukee this past Thursday. Venture Track Director Todd Sobotka provided three dozen mentors and advisors new opportunities to connect while getting updated information on specialties and more. For entrepreneurs, this means an even better "bench" of advisors for special topics and mentors for overall guidance as they go out starting and launching their companies. Contact Todd Sobotka for details on each mentor.
BizStarts honors student start-ups, awards $15,000 in Collegiate Business Plan Competition
Five student-run startups from area colleges and universities now have one thing in common: they are award-winning.
BizStarts Milwaukee capped its fourth annual Collegiate Business Plan Competition April 24th at the Milwaukee School of Engineering's Todd Wehr Conference Center. Attendees from across the region celebrated collegiate entrepreneurship as BizStarts
and members of its College Consortium recognized five finalists and awarded $15,000 in prizes, courtesy of event sponsor Mason Wells.
"There's definitely a new wave of entrepreneurship and innovation in southeastern Wisconsin," said BizStarts Executive Director Eric Paulsen. "We're getting more entrepreneurs coming to us than ever before, and many are college students or recent grads. It's a pleasure for BizStarts to recognize and honor entrepreneurial students and schools, and provide some funds to help them advance."
Entrants came from schools across the region; the top five represented Alverno College, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Whitewater, MSOE, and Gateway Technical College. All finalists won cash prizes, ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.
First place went to Digifii, a 3-D printing and scanning company. Founder Jesse DePinto received the top $5,000 prize. DePinto, a UWM student, said "I'm extremely grateful not only to have financial support for my venture, but to have the emotional support from so many different groups in Milwaukee, specifically BizStarts and UW-Milwaukee. This prize money will allow me to spend more valuable time to obtain more customers."
Other finalists included LifeWorks, an online tarot card reading and advice service; Bowl Appetit, a fast-casual "build your own
ingredients" restaurant; Ferret Boards, a motorized skateboard kit manufacturer; and Hazfutbol.com, an online community for amateur soccer players.
All finalists were submitted for consideration in the Governor's Business Plan Contest, which will announce its winners at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Conference in June. Dan Blake, Director of the Wisconsin Angel Network, was in town from Madison to announce that Digifii received that entry. "We're delighted to enter Digifii into the 10th annual Governor's Business Plan Contest, where its 3D printing software technology will fit in well with a diverse group of exciting and innovative ideas from across the state," said Blake.
You can read more about the Collegiate Business Plan Competition in the Journal Sentinal.
Job creation policies should be tailored to high-growth entrepreneurs
If you want to understand the vital role of small businesses in job creation, nationally and in Wisconsin, two studies help tell the story. It's a tale that state and federal policy-makers should want to hear, clearly and often, as they reflect on what comes next. Read Tom Still's article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
New "Intake Sessions" provide connections, education to expanded groups of entrepreneurs
BizStarts held its "intake session" on March 8th at We Energies. This session included 7 entrepreneurs from a wide range of ideas, where they heard from a banker, an attorney, and learned about The Business Model Canvas.
Andy Nunemaker headlines BizStarts' Inspirational Entrepreneur Event
BizStarts was pleased to honor Andy Nunemaker with our George Dalton Inspirational Entrepreneur Award on Thursday, March 14th at the University Club of Milwaukee. An audience of over 100 enjoyed a very interactive session with Andy, CEO of Dynamis Corporation, a provider of sales software in the healthcare insurance industry. He discussed Dynamis and experiences and lessons learned as President of Intermedix EMSystems and CEO of EMSystems (Intermedix acquired EMSystems in 2010). We congratulate Mr. Nunemaker on his success and thank him again for his economic and philanthropic work in Milwaukee.
Whitewater brings in the US Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship
The United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship will move its headquarters to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater this spring. Read the full article in the the Journal Sentinel Online.
Venture Track company NexVex announces launch with angel investment
Congratulations to Will Bazeley and the team at NexVex, a web-based marketplace for roof replacements and other contractor needs, on raising their first round of investment from angel investors in the M7 region.
“Our mission is to make it efficient and cost effective for home owners to order a new roof, especially in the aftermath of a major storm,” said William Bazeley, chief executive officer of the startup company. "It's like Amazon.com for roofs."
NexVex was still in the concept stage when Bazeley met Fred Brooks and Eric Paulsen at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Conference in 2011. Since then, his work with them and Todd Sobotka in the Venture Track program accelerated their plans. “BizStarts provided mentors and expert guidance with shaping up our business plan, as well as connections to investors” said Bazeley.
NexVex will initially employ four professionals and expects to add employees as it adds markets.