Partners & Resources

Milwaukee I-Corps Site

The Milwaukee I-Corps Program is a joint project of the academic institutions in the Milwaukee region to accelerate ideas using the proven I-Corps methodology. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation Corps Program, the Southeastern Wisconsin I-Corps Site will foster commercialization of applied academic research and faculty/student innovation; build an innovation/commercialization network that supports faculty and/or student ventures and broaden the pool of students and faculty fluent in Lean LaunchPad (LLP) methodology. The initiative brings together teams from MCW, MSOE, Marquette and Concordia, and UWM.

: Ilya Avdeev (, Brian Thompson (

: Website

National I-Corps Program

The NSF Innovation Corps is a set of activities and programs that prepares scientists and engineers to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and broadens the impact of select, NSF-funded, basic-research projects. I-Corps is a public-private partnership program that teaches grantees to identify valuable product opportunities that can emerge from academic research, and offers entrepreneurship training to student participants.

: Anita Lasalle (

: Website


A highly competitive program that encourages small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development that has the potential for commercialization. SBIR enables small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization through an award-based program.

: Website

Regional Resources and Initiatives

App Brewery

Mobile app development resource housed at UWM. Student developer take on real-world project for non-profits, student entrepreneurs (working with the UWM Student Startup Challenge) and other organizations.

: Dustin Hahn (


Quarterly networking event in the Milwaukee region organized by BioForward, the PICO group and other supporters to promote biosciences industry and networking among regional resources.

: Michael Harrison (

Bizstarts Milwaukee

A one-stop center that offers all the help and connections entrepreneurs need including: one-on-one meetings, market assessment, team assessment, financial preparation and more. BizStarts works with entrepreneurs, service providers, capital connections and other resources to help launch and grow new companies that will create sustainable jobs.

: Dan Stieneger (, Jaquin Davidson (

: Website

The Brew

A project of the Water Council that provides grants supported by WEDC and training/support to early stage companies in the water industry. The program has attracted companies from other countries. Companies also may get access to space in the Global Water Accelerator.

: Dean Amhaus (


A non-profit that includes representatives from Concordia, MCW and UWM. Their goal is to help pharmaceutical and biotech companies get over the “valley of death.” Planning to offer grant support with matching funds from WEDC. Bridge-to-Cure is offering the Healthcare Innovation Pitch (described below).

: Dan Sem (

: Website

Center For Translational Science Institute (CTSI)

An eight-member organization composed of the Medical College, Marquette University, The Milwaukee School of Engineering, The University of Wisconsin Madison, The Blood Center of Wisconsin, Chlidren’s Hospital and Health System, Froedtert Hospital and the Clement J Zablocki VA Medical Center. Received a $20 million dollar grant, which allows consortium members the opportunity to share each other’s research resources, technology, knowledge and expertise to work toward common goals in health care. Collaborators may seek adjunct faculty appointments at partnering colleges or universities.

: Reza Shaker (

: Website

The Commons

Multi-institutional collaboration to foster innovation and entrepreneurship across Milwaukee Academic Institutions. Programing includes a track to support entrepreneurs through a seed accelerator program and a corporate innovator track to link student teams with corporate innovation challenges.

: Michael Hostad (

First Look Forum

Held annually by UWMRF (along with partners at MCW and other institutions), the First Look Forum showcases UWM technologies to an audience of investors and entrepreneurs; this has traditionally focused on faculty-based innovations and patented technologies that may be launched as faculty startup companies.

: Jessica Silvaggi (


A pilot program to bring Gener8tor content to early stage enterprises. Gener8tor is piloting this program in Madison in the summer of 2015 and plans to offer it in Milwaukee in the fall of 2015. Program offers content of the Gener8tor incubator program (except the funding) to teams associated with Wisconsin colleges and universities.

: Sara Woldt (


An accelerator program that provides structured program to explore customers and develop minimum viable product. Teams are selected competitively and receive cash support (~$20k) in exchange for equity, facilities and intensive coaching over a 12 week period. Two cohorts of approximately six teams per year are selected through a competitive process (one in Madison and one in Milwaukee). Gener8tor is for-profit incubation program with an ultimate focus on saleable enterprises that will yield a financial return for the program backers.

: Joe Kirgues (

: Website

Gener8tor College Program

A pilot program summer of 2015 open to a small number of startups with a connection to a Wisconsin college or university; option for students and recent graduates who are looking for continued support on growing and funding their startup.

: Sara Woldt (

Global Water Accelerator

A development in Milwaukee’s 3rd Ward that is headquarters to the Water Council and includes research laboratories for UWM, corporate research laboratories for companies that include Badger Meter and A.O. Smith and incubator space for water industry companies.

: Dean Amhaus ( David Garman (

Healthcare Innovation Pitch

Healthcare Innovation Pitch is a project of Bridge-to-Cures. Competition for seed funding for any area of health care innovation, including drug or device development, clinical services, diagnostic assays with commercial potential, as well as software and apps with health care uses. Also linked with NSF I-Corps program.

: Dan Sem (

: Website

Hudson Business Lounge

A co-working space located in the Third Ward. Scalable memberships for working spaces and offices. Offers a great networking experience and flexible spaces, which allow you to work efficiently and comfortably.


: Website

Innovation Collaboratory

An initiative of Elmbrook High School to launch a high school student program focused on innovation/entrepreneurship strands. This Program would be modeled on CARS program in Kansas City with the hope to launch two “strands” in the fall of 2016. Several others schools would participate. Currently exploring for-credit options with UWM for freshman level entrepreneurship or elective credits.

Innovation Prototyping Center Housed at the UWM Innovation Accelerator, the prototyping center will offer design services, rapid prototyping and other pilot manufacturing facilities to researchers at UWM and researchers/clinicians at partner institutions including the Medical College of Wisconsin and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Services provided on a fee-basis and are delivered by professional operators/machinists.

: Dave Gilbert (, Jerry Becker (

Marquette Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic

Legal services for student entrepreneurs provided by third year law students under the direction of a practicing attorney. Services include corporate formation, contracts, etc.

: Nathan Hammons (

: Website

Mid-West Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC)

UWM is working with regional companies in the energy sector to develop research programs that support this industry through efforts that include the Mid-West Energy Research Consortium (WERC). UWM led efforts to establish this research consortium that includes Marquette University, the Milwaukee School of Engineering and UW-Madison along with regional energy companies, including Johnson Controls, Eaton Corporation, Rockwell Automation, We Energies and others.

: Alan Perlstein (

: Website


Milwaukee innovation initiative sponsored by the GMC with key corporate backers that include Kohls, Briggs & Stratton, and others. Events and programs including Flying Car and hack-a-thons give corporate partners a chance to connect with young talent in the city.

: Michael Hostad (

Milwaukee Institute for Drug Discovery

Center housed in UWM’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. The center dedicated to bridging between basic science and drug discovery process to bring drugs to market. Collaborations evolving with MCW, Children’s and Concordia.

: Doug Stafford (

: Website

One Million Cups of Coffee

A national awareness building exercises sponsored locally be Gener8tor to foster conversations with entrepreneurs; speakers and panel discussions held weekly in the Ward 4 co-working space, Wednesdays at 9:00 AM.

: Website

Post-Doc Industry Consulting Group (PICO)

Postdoctoral student at MCW offer pro-bono consulting services to regional biomedical companies. Services include market research and assessment. Engagements typically involve two post-doc’s working for a period of two to three months.

: Michael Harrison (

: Website

Product Realization

A senior level engineering class taught in UWM’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences where industry sponsors are paired with a team of engineering and arts students who develop a prototype device over the course of a semester.

: Ilya Avdeev (, Mike Krauski (

Scale-Up Milwaukee

Sponsored by GMC and corporate backers including American Express, this program seeks to foster growth of companies in Milwaukee. Dan Eisenberg (Babson entrepreneurship professor) is among outside instructors brought in to help mid-sized companies scale up their businesses.

: Brian Schupper (

: Website

Small Business Development Center

The Wisconsin Small Business Development Center is a statewide network supporting entrepreneurs and business owners through no-cost, confidential consulting and targeted educational programs. Regional SBDC experts facilitate improvement and growth for small and emerging mid-size companies and help launch successful new enterprises.

: David Linz (

: Website

Startup MKE

Workshops and resources to help entrepreneurs launch and scale their businesses. Including a talent/staffing component focused on software/programming resources.

: Matt Cordio (

: Website

Supply Chain Management Institute

An industry-university partnership that examines supply chain challenges and practices within firms and across a variety of industrial sectors. Engages Lubar students in addressing real-world problems in supply chain management.

: Anthony Ross (

: Website


A product development group that complements services provided by Sys Logic. This program is in launch phase as of 5/15 with development of internal products – eventually plan to offer the program more broadly to support innovations without the “overhead” of a startup company – moving products to launch or acquisition by another entity.

: Tina Chang (

: Website

UW-Madison LAW & Entrepreneurship Clinic

Legal services for early stage enterprises provide by UW Madison law students under the direction of practicing attorneys. Services include legal formation, provisional patent filing, etc. Office hours are at the Global Water Center.

: Jeff Glazer (

: Website

Vetransfer/ Victory Spark

Lean launch pad program with grant funds to help veterans launch businesses.

: Greg Meier (

Ward 4

A start-up hub and co-working space in the Pritzlaff building complex south of downtown Milwaukee. Consists of 12,000 feet of space on the second floor of the Pritlaff complex. The hub includes work stations in an open area and offices, along with a coffee shop, conference rooms, “huddle” rooms and an elevated area called the “treehouse” with a foosball or ping pong table. CSA Partners LLC, a venture capital fund backed by Chris Abele, is an anchor tenant in Ward4. Selected start-ups in the earliest stages and individual entrepreneurs are invited for the 66 work stations in Ward 4’s common area for a modest annual membership fee.

: Website

Water Council

A Milwaukee-based non-profit whose mission is to align the regional fresh water research community and water-related industries to establish the Milwaukee region as the World Water Hub for water research, economic development, and education. Early stage water companies benefit from grant programs offered by the Water Council thanks for support from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (see the Brew).

: Dean Amhaus (

: Website

Water I/U CRC

UWM and Marquette are partnered with water industry companies under an Industry/University Cooperative Research Center focused on Water Equipment and Policy. Industry members (including Badger Meter, A.O. Smith, MMSD, Pentair,) set research directions and fund projects in return for rights as prescribed by the NSF model.

: Junhong Chen (

WERC Bench

An incubator program launching summer 2015 under the leadership of M-WERC. The incubator program will provide grants to early stage enterprises and enter them in an 8-12 week program at the energy innovation center to help them develop their business. Program is targeted at hardware-based enterprise that can benefit from the working spaces offered at the Energy Innovation Center.

: Greg Meier (, Elliot Berman (

: Website

96 Square

A co-working space for high growth startup companies located in the historic Blatz Wash House in downtown Milwaukee. Provides entrepreneurs with access to affordable and scalable office space.

: Matt Cordio (

: Website

Statewide Resources


Statewide organization that promotes the Wisconsin bioscience industry, a state chapter of the national Biotechnology Industry Organization.

: Lisa Johnson (

: Website

Center for Technology Commercialization

The Center for Technology Commercialization provides one-on-one assistance to early-stage emerging technology businesses throughout Wisconsin. CTC is supported by the University of Wisconsin-Extension (UWEX), the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and the Small Business Administration (SBA). We are a part of the UW-Extension Department of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (DEED); programs include: CTC Micro Grants for Commercialization – support for hiring business plan writer.

: David Linz (

: Website

Ideadvance Program

A grant for customer discovery with support from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. Open to students and faculty of UW System schools.

: Idella Yamben (

SBIR Advance Program

Matching grants for SBIR awards of up to $75k/$250k for SBIR phase I/II awards.

: Todd Strother (

: Website

Wisconsin Angel Network (WAN)

A project of the Wisconsin Technology Council, this group seeks to promote formation of angel networks in the state and help link entrepreneurs and investors.

: Website

Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament

Statewide program organized under UW Extension, available for any two or four year colleges. Winning students uses Lean Startup tools business ideas for a chance to win paid internships or $25,000 dollars.

: Idella Yamben (

: Website

Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium

Sponsored by the Wisconsin Technology Council, this event complements the Entrepreneurs Conference with an event focused on early stage investment and features and elevator pitch Olympics, speakers and seminars.

: Website

Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Conference

Sponsored by the Wisconsin Technology Council this conference, held in June each year, features the finalists of the Governor’s Business Plan contest, national speakers, educational seminars and networking opportunities.

: Website

Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest

An annual contest hosted by the Wisconsin Technology Council. The initial applications start in January and the staged process culminates in June with presentations at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Conference. Overall winners and category winners share in hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of prizes and services.

: Website

Wisconsin Innovators Network (WIN)

Monthly meetings hosted by the Wisconsin Technology Council and regional chapters feature business leaders, entrepreneurs, panel discussions and networking. Milwaukee WIN meetings are hosted by UWM at the UWM Innovation Accelerator.

: Maurice Cheeks (

: Website