Entrepreneurs can feel adrift at times — unsure of the next step or where to seek help. The NEW Launch Alliance, created by New North Inc., aims to change that.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. gave the New North a $30,000 grant from its Entrepreneurship Support Program to get the new initiative off the ground. The NEW Launch Alliance is designed to grow entrepreneurial density, identify and secure capital and other resources, highlight innovative practices within existing companies, and lead the implementation of Start in Wisconsin, a statewide web-based entrepreneurial engagement platform.
The NEW Launch Alliance plans to create a more connected and resourceful entrepreneurial ecosystem of entrepreneurs, service providers, academic institutions, municipal resources, financial investors/underwriters, physical incubation spaces and corporations, says New North Executive Director Barb LaMue.
“A common mission to grow the entrepreneurial community will benefit everyone by providing more program participants, more investment opportunities and more source points for innovation and talent,” she says.
As the NEW Launch Alliance gets started, the goal is to assist 30 organizations and 250 entrepreneurs
in the region.
The NEW Launch Alliance will have a standing advisory team made up of key representatives from organizations, businesses and educational institutions. They will drive the collaborative efforts to leverage the existing infrastructure, creating a connected regional entrepreneurial network, says Tim Feldhausen, senior attorney with Davis|Kuelthau and chair of the NEW Launch Alliance.
“As entrepreneurs move from idea to operations to success and growth, their needs for services and expertise change dramatically, and therefore there is a need to move about a well-connected and capable ecosystem,” he says.
Working separately, many entrepreneurial-focused organizations have limited resources, which can limit promotion, outreach and awareness of the offerings available in the region, LaMue says. That makes it difficult to connect resources and can slow the flow of entrepreneurs from one organization to the next as their startups go through various stages, such as the idea stage to operation to success/growth.
The alliance will help identify and secure access to risk capital and other resources, including mentors and physical locations, to encourage purposeful collisions, which can be a big help to entrepreneurs and startups. One of those locations is likely TitletownTech, the partnership between the Green Bay Packers and Microsoft. LaMue says purposeful collisions could occur there.
“We would love to connect with you (entrepreneurs) and find out where you are in the stage of your idea development and your business launch and connect you to resources,” she says.
Boosting entrepreneurs statewide
The New North was just one organization to receive grants through the WEDC’s Entrepreneurship Support program. Statewide, $432,000 in grants were awarded to help develop or expand innovative programs aimed at advancing the climate for entrepreneurship throughout the state.
The Oconto County Economic Development Corp. received $38,000 to continue and expand its Oconto County Business Innovation Development Program to promote and assist in new business formation and accelerate business growth in the county. The Oconto County program is expected to assist 40 businesses.