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Nov 13, 201208:53 AMOpen Mic

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Wisconsin’s entrepreneurial spirit

Wisconsin’s entrepreneurial spirit

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In September at the National Governors Association meeting, a 12-point action plan was launched to focus on growing state economies. Eight of the 12 action steps related to building and expanding an entrepreneurial culture. Why? Because start-up firms that develop organically have a major, long-term impact on strengthening the overall state economy, specifically in creating new jobs.

Wisconsin already fosters entrepreneurship in numerous ways, like addressing the need for early stage capital investment, expanding start-up resources, and supporting the innovation and commercialization of research coming from our world-class universities. But it’s the grassroots networks and entrepreneurial spirit that will drive start-up growth.

Wisconsin has a sub-culture of creativity and entrepreneurism that may be surprising. Inventors and entrepreneurs are leading the charge around the state – from Madison to Milwaukee and from Eau Claire to the Fox Valley. Here are just a few examples:

  • Inventors & Entrepreneurs Club of Juneau County, which began in 2002 and is now 2,000 members strong
  • Wisconsin Entrepreneur Network, which provides business planning assistance
  • Innovation Fund of Western Wisconsin, which offers business coaching and seed grant funding
  • Startup Milwaukee, a weekend-long frenzy of business model creation, design, and market validation of ideas, held earlier this month at Marquette University
  • Lake Superior Business and Technology Conference, held in Ashland in August, which included a contest for innovators to pitch their best ideas

Their passion is leading us. We must follow them.

First, we need to alter our attitudes, especially our deep-rooted fear of failure, and support a dynamic and collaborative approach to business creation. Without that, we will see innovative companies and our young entrepreneurs leave Wisconsin for more risk-friendly environments.

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