Resources for Startups

Image of Kyle Jansson giving a seminar on Product Development at the UWM Innovation Accelerator Building

Customer Discovery Programs

WEDC / Ideadvance (Primary Contact: Idella Yamben)

  • “This program funded by UW System and WEDC, administered by the Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship Center for Technology Commercialization, aims to empower new and experienced entrepreneurs to focus on key go-to-market activities. No more sitting for hours crafting a business plan that won’t survive first contact with customers. Instead, the program gets you “out of the building” to learn about your customer and business.  Along the way, you receive grant dollars to advance the business based on the real needs of your customers.”

I-Corps (Primary Contact: Brian Thompson)

  • “Initially funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2015 and renewed in 2018, the Milwaukee I-Corps Program offers researchers and entrepreneurs a chance to explore the viability of their technologies and ventures through the “Lean Startup” or “Lean Launch” process of direct engagement with the potential markets. Through a five-week workshop, participants are coached on designing and validating a business model around their idea and deciding whether the idea is a go/no-go decision based on their business model.  Regardless of the go/no-go outcome, teams will develop valuable skills in discovering the market – skills that will inform their research, business, and careers.”


Recommended Reading

The Mom Test – by Rob Fitzpatrick

  • “The Mom Test is a quick, practical guide that will save you time, money, and heartbreak. They say you shouldn’t ask your mom whether your business is a good idea, because she loves you and will lie to you. This is technically true, but it misses the point. You shouldn’t ask anyone if your business is a good idea. It’s a bad question and everyone will lie to you at least a little . As a matter of fact, it’s not their responsibility to tell you the truth. It’s your responsibility to find it and it’s worth doing right. Talking to customers is one of the foundational skills of both Customer Development and Lean Startup. We all know we’re supposed to do it, but nobody seems willing to admit that it’s easy to screw up and hard to do right. This book is going to show you how customer conversations go wrong and how you can do better.”

The Corporate Refugee Startup Guide – by David Gee

  • What you don’t yet know about entrepreneurship – high level

Burn the Business Plan – by Carl J Schramm

  • Cut to the chase and get your product out there!

Business Model Generation – by Alexander Osterwalder

  • How to go about creating your one-pager business model canvas