BizStarts honors student start-ups, awards $15,000 in Collegiate Business Plan Competition
Five student-run startups from area colleges and universities now have one thing in common: they are award-winning.
BizStarts Milwaukee capped its fourth annual Collegiate Business Plan Competition April 24th at the Milwaukee School of Engineering’s Todd Wehr Conference Center. Attendees from across the region celebrated collegiate entrepreneurship as BizStarts and members of its College Consortium recognized five finalists and awarded $15,000 in prizes, courtesy of event sponsor Mason Wells.
“There’s definitely a new wave of entrepreneurship and innovation in southeastern Wisconsin,” said BizStarts Executive Director, Eric Paulsen. ”We’re getting more entrepreneurs coming to us than ever before, and many are college students or recent grads. It’s a pleasure for BizStarts to recognize and honor entrepreneurial students and schools, and provide some funds to help them advance.”
Entrants came from schools across the region; the top five represented Alverno College, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Whitewater, MSOE, and Gateway Technical College. All finalists won cash prizes, ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.
First place went to Digifii, a 3-D printing and scanning company. Founder Jesse DePinto received the top $5,000 prize. DePinto, a UWM student, said “I’m extremely grateful not only to have financial support for my venture, but to have the emotional support from so many different groups in Milwaukee, specifically BizStarts and UW-Milwaukee. This prize money will allow me to spend more valuable time to obtain more customers.”
Other finalists included LifeWorks, an online tarot card reading and advice service; Bowl Ap[etit, a fast-casual “build your own ingredients” restaurant; Ferret Boards, a motorized skateboard kit manufacturer; and Hazfutbol.com, an online community for amateur soccer players.
All finalists were submitted for consideration in the Governor’s Business Plan Contest, which will announce its winners at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in June. Dan Blake, Director of the Wisconsin Angel Network, was in town from Madison to announce that Digifii received that entry. ”We’re delighted to enter Digifii into the 10th annual Governor’s Business Plan Contest, where its 3D printing software technology will fit in well with a diverse group of exciting and innovative ideas from across the state, said Blake.
You can read more about the Collegiate Business Plan Competition in the Journal Sentinel.
Job creation policies should be tailored to high-growth entrepreneurs
If you want to understand the vital role of small businesses in job creation, nationally and in Wisconsin, two studies help tell the story. It’s a tale that state and federal policy-makers should want to hear, clearly and often, as they reflect on what comes next. Read Tom Still’s article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
New “Intake Sessions” provide connections, education to expended groups of entrepreneurs
BizStarts held its “intake session on march 8th at We Energies. This session included 7 entrepreneurs from a wide range of ideas, where they heard from a banker, an attorney, and learned about The Business Model Canvas.
Whitewater brings in the US Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship
The United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship will move its headquarters to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater this spring. Read the full article in the the Journal Sentinel Online.
BizStarts’ “Investor Forums” connect true investors with Venture Track companies
BizStarts’ most recent Investor Forum took place on February 19, when BizStart connected over 40 investors and their representatives
to companies like Dossette, MCT (Mikkelsen Converting Technologies), and MedTrak. Hosted by Michael Best & Friedrich in downtown Milwaukee, the Forum brought solid investor leads and ongoing discussions with all three companies. We hope to share good news about each soon!
This follows the very first Investor Forum, which took place on December 7, 2012. BizStarts brought Venture Track companies 3D Dairy Foods, RapidForce, NoVo, LLC, and GottaShopIt.com in front of real investors to make their pitch at Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek, s.c.… Read more.
Venture Track company NexVex announces launch with angel investment
Congratulations to Will Bazeley and the team at NexVex, a web-based marketplace for roof replacements and other contractor needs, on raising their first round of investment from angel investors in the M7 region.
“Our mission is to make it efficient and cost effective for home owners to order a new roof, especially in the aftermath of a major storm,” said William Bazeley, chief executive officer of the startup company. “It’s like Amazon.com for roofs.”
NexVex was still in the concept stage when Bazeley met Fred Brooks and Eric Paulsen at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Conference in 2011. Since then, his work with them and Todd Sobotka in the Venture Track program accelerated their plans. “BizStarts provided mentors and expert guidance with shaping up our business plan, as well as connections to investors” said Bazeley.
NexVex will initially employ four professionals and expects to add employees as it adds markets.
Fourth and State: Dan Steininger
Dan Steininger, president of BizStarts Milwaukee, discusses job creation as part of the Journal Sentinel Editorial Board’s Agenda 2012: The 2020 Project. Read more at JSOnline AGENDA 2012: THE 2020 PROJECT Our No. 1 problem
- http://t.co/d9AWVmnFWF 1 day ago
- Startups springing up, innovation and events blossoming, read all about it in the BizStarts Catalyst - May 2013 http://t.co/170a4RC5Lr 15 days ago
- Congrats to Somna Therapeutics, which raised $1.2 million in angel funding!... http://t.co/VLTZ5ZfyyE 21 days ago
- 3-D printing company, Digifii wins BizStarts Collegiate Business Plan competition http://t.co/5BVhwCTqTs 23 days ago
- What Startups Need to Understand About The Booming Corporate Entrepreneurship Ecosystem - Forbes http://t.co/xOUYlzGDTh 27 days ago