It’s been a long time in the works. Now it’s finally ready for prime time.
The New North Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee spent the past year developing a structured path for taking great business ideas to capitalization. Called Fast Forward 1.0, it’s a pilot program designed to help high-growth start-ups and existing firms in their quest to find mentors, talent and financing, with the ultimate goal of creating highly-skilled, good-paying jobs in the New North region.
“Fast Forward 1.0 is a program that is going to assist high-growth startups – what people call gazelles – with finding mentors, talent and financing to help accelerate their ability to create and capture value while also contributing to a healthy economy in our region and creating jobs for the future,” says Amy Pietsch, chair of the New North Small Business Committee and director of the Venture Center at Fox Valley Technical College.
Modeled after BizStarts Milwaukee – which defines qualifying fast-track businesses as those with a solid plan for achieving $12 million in sales within five years – Fast Forward 1.0 is designed to appeal to businesspeople, educators, economic and community development professionals and others. Pietsch says Fast Forward 1.0 includes unique components, including its initiative to pair experienced businesspeople to serve as mentors to the fledgling innovators.
But how to explain this new program to such a diverse audience, and put it to work immediately? Video seemed just the ticket, says New North Executive Director Jerry Murphy.
New North, Inc. collaborated with several organizations to create a four-minute video featuring graphic illustrations and a concise narrative. Pietsch and members of her committee took their plans for the program and developed a script, which was edited for brevity. Sachin Chheda of Nation Consulting performed the voiceover. The narrative was provided to Appleton freelance graphic illustrator Mick Walsh, who illustrated the key points of Fast Forward 1.0 in the studios of ARK Media Group, Menasha. John Behrens of ARK Media Group videotaped as Walsh’s colored markers sketched across a large whiteboard, then edited the raw footage.
“The visualization of the work that we’ve done (through the video) helps people understand why we needed to do this,” says Pietsch. “We define what the characteristics of a gazelle firm are, put it in context of about how many businesses each year statewide that fit that description are launching, and help them understand how we hope to harness our region’s ability to create more gazelles.”
The video debuted May 24 at the Technology & Human Innovation Networking Conference – THINC!, hosted by Insight Publications at the EAA in Oshkosh.