Startup MKE: An Action Packed Week for Innovation

Milwaukee Startup Week is in its fourth year hosting startup-focused events around the city. This year, there were 160 events across Wisconsin during the week of November 11th – 17th. The week celebrates entrepreneurs, exposes resources and continues dialogue around the Milwaukee Startup Ecosystem. UWM Lubar Entrepreneurship Center took part in the week with several events on and off campus.


November 16: UWM Business Model Canvas Mixer

The fourth annual Business Model Canvas Mixer kicked off on November 16th. Over 40 students gathered at the Lubar Entrepreneurship Center on Saturday with over 30 mentors. The Business Model Canvas Mixer is the kickoff event of the Student Startup Challenge (SSC) program.


What is Student Startup Challenge? SSC is a unique co-curricular program that creates an entrepreneurial culture at UWM by encouraging students to develop their ideas, launch businesses, and gain the unique skills that come from an entrepreneurial experience.



Students were welcomed to the event by Chancellor Mone and the SSC leaders, and got up and moving during a massive game of rock-paper-scissors. Everyone had time to mingle before the event started and read through the startup ideas.



During the BMC students worked on developing the building blocks of their startups and spoke with mentors. Students had the opportunity to speak with multiple mentors, and mentors were able to offer their advice and experience to multiple startups.



After the students developed their BMC’s they reported out their learnings. Each startup team took to the stage to give a brief description of their focus.

Check out UWM’s news post on the BMC for more photos and content on the action packed day!


November 12: Cultivating the Diverse Tech Ecosystem: UWM and Beyond

As part of StartUp Milwaukee Week 2019 the Lubar Entrepreneurship Center, Panther Foundations for Success, and the WiscAMP Stem-Inspire program hosted a panel of diverse speakers. Attendees of this two-hour program heard from key speakers: Janet Lucas (Campus and Diversity Lead, Direct Supply), Adam Gabornitz (Senior Project Manager, Tech Advancement and Outreach Team, Northwestern Mutual), Nadiyah Johnson (Founder of Jet Constellations & Milky Way Tech Hub), Dr. Christine Cheng (Associate Professor of Computer Science at UWM), and Joshua Sharkey (Computer Engineer and WiscAMP STEM-Inspire Program Leader, UWM).

The event was packed with attendees looking to spark conversation focusing on growing the diverse technology ecosystem in Milwaukee. The panelists and participants also discussed ways to help move the ecosystem forward through a Q&A section.




November 15: Young Entrepreneurs Panel

UWM’s Lubar Entrepreneurship Center and Marquette’s 707 Hub have teamed up for the third year to bring a student perspective to Milwaukee Startup Week. This year’s event focused on students and recent alumnus (UWM and Marquette) motivations for starting a startup and the resources available in Milwaukee for them.

Attendees first heard from current student entrepreneurs at both universities. From UWM, Matt Kemper, Co-Founder of Light Fruit Company, talked about branding and production, as well as his unique product: dehydrated watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew. Loren Nelson talked about her entrepreneurial ventures, including Levor Hair Products, and her experiences with marketing and navigating a competitive ecosystem. From Marquette, Griffin Rain discussed his pedicab business: Pedal Power Cabs. He explained the process of allowing companies to advertise on his pedicabs, as well as the process of hiring employees. Also from Marquette, Manpreet Singh represented his new bubble tea restaurant, SereniTea, which he decorated and renovated himself.

Then, four alumni panelists took to the stage. One was UWM’s Jared Judge, creator of BookLive, an application that allows musicians to book gigs with ease. Judge told anecdotes about his start: seeing a problem with clients taking advantage of musicians and then solving the problem. Also from UWM, Kali Knutson of DoCo Disco, a silent disco where participants wear headphones, shared her experiences handling an area-specific business. From Marquette, Olivia Menzia of Liv A Little Vegan Ice Cream talked about doing business online and making her product from scratch. Also from Marquette, Kyle Hagge of Bridge the City Podcast talked about entrepreneurship in activism and taking active steps to alter the local societal climate.

There was much to learn from these students, and we are grateful for their participation in YEP 2019. The students who represented their startups in the panel each followed a unique path, but they all had one thing in common: involvement with entrepreneurial resources on campus.