Gener8ting a buzz

Microsoft leads new coalition to bolster startups in NE Wisconsin

Sean P. Johnson
Posted by of Insight Publications

A newly formed coalition of business and education groups will provide free coaching and mentorship for up to 10 Northeast Wisconsin startups each year.

Using a free version of gener8tor’s nationally recognized startup accelerator program, the coalition, led by Microsoft Corp., will twice each year sponsor five startups through gBeta Northeast Wisconsin, providing educational and business support.

“Emerging companies need more than just a great idea to take off. They need great coaching, a strong network of partners, and financial investors,” Brad Smith, president of Microsoft, said in a press release announcing the new partnership. “gBETA’s accelerator program gives startups the boost they need to be successful, ultimately creating more jobs in Northeast Wisconsin.”

In addition to support from Microsoft, the coalition includes: gener8tor, UW-Oshkosh Business Success Center, Venture Center at Fox Valley Technical College, WiSys, UW-Green Bay Cofrin School of Business and the Greater Oshkosh Economic Development Corp.

The program provides participants with intensive and individualized coaching and access to gener8tor’s national network of mentors, potential customers, corporate partners and investors. It’s designed to help startups gain early customer traction on their product or idea and establish metrics that make them competitive applicants for full-time accelerators or angel investment.

The recently announced program, directed by Adrienne Palm, will run two times per year and is capped at five companies per cohort to ensure a high level of individualized attention. gBETA participants must have roots in Northeast Wisconsin. The program works with companies across all industries and business models.

Through gBETA, Microsoft and gener8tor hope to spark technology, drive local economic growth and spur innovation in various industries, including traditional Northeast Wisconsin sectors such as paper, agriculture and manufacturing.

“Northeast Wisconsin has all of the raw materials needed to build a high-growth startup ecosystem. We are excited to work with this broad and diverse coalition to support entrepreneurs in Northeast Wisconsin,” said Maggie Brickerman, managing director of gBETA.

Startups interested in applying should contact Palm ([email protected]). Learn more at