Wisconsin StartUp Week encourages entrepreneurship

Posted by Pete Zervakis of TMJ4 on Nov 6, 2017

It’s Wisconsin Startup Week. It’s the second year of the statewide effort to better connect high-growth startup communities around the State of Wisconsin.

Ed Javier, Startup Week’s co-founder, said the idea is to gather together all the different organizations that help attract new businesses to Wisconsin. They trade ideas and come up with ways to work better with one another,

As part of Startup Week, Milwaukee hosted the “Road to GES Summit” on Monday morning.

The seminar, at Ward 4 on Plankinton & St. Paul, featured speakers and panel discussions about how to attract global investment to the Brew City.

It was one of three Road to GES events ahead of the eighth annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit in India later this month, hosted by the U.S. State Department in partnership with the Indian Government.

The summit will bring together business owners from all over the world.


Christy Watkins, a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, said Milwaukee’s freshwater system can be a key asset in attracting new businesses. “Milwaukee has one of the best freshwater systems in the world,” Watkins said. “So we look at that as an example for others to follow.” 

Elizabeth Thelen, of the Milwaukee-based Water Council, agrees. She said Milwaukee’s proximity to Lake Michigan is already helping to attract water companies from countries like Canada and Australia.

She said Southeastern Wisconsin’s location near Lake Michigan also helped draw electronics manufacturer Foxconn to Mount Pleasant.

“It’s something that people don’t often think about, how much water is used in manufacturing,” Thelen said.

Monday’s event also featured a panel on Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership, moderated by TODAY’S TMJ4 anchor Carole Meekins.

Adding to the excitement of Startup Week, Javier said Aurora Healthcare and Northwestern Mutual have agreed to each start a $5-million fund to help encourage startup companies in Milwaukee.

Both companies are also sponsors of startup week.

“Every city that’s doing well on the startup and, they have corporations there locally embracing that culture,” Javier said. “This is well attract a lot of entrepreneurs.”

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