I suppose many of us become reflective at this time of year, and as Scale Up Milwaukee organizes to transition to a full- fledged Scale Up project in early 2014, I too have been reflecting on all that has transpired since we launched the initial phase of Scale Up Milwaukee in April this year…
My first thought is how fortunate the Milwaukee region is to have strong, civic minded organizations which work so well together, including the GMC, UWM, WHEDA, the mayor’s office, WWBIC, the AACC, WEDC, M-7, MMAC, and the numerous corporations headquartered here and committed to enriching the environment which in turn, gives them sustenance. With support of organizations like these, we were able to implement a variety of different activities over the past few months:
- Faculty Case Writing Workshop
- Mayor’s Roundtable Sessions
- Scale Up Google Hangouts
- Scalerator Pilot Program
- Financial Stakeholders Workshop
- Corporate Venture Forum
My second thought is about the hundreds of hungry, growth-driven, aspiring entrepreneurs of all ages, backgrounds and industries, supported and cheered by friends, family and organizations such as Bucket Works, Bizstarts, Vet Transfer and many others. My third thought is to American Express OPEN, which took a leap of faith in choosing its first Scale Up project with me to be in Milwaukee. I would like to say that there was wisdom and prescience in the decision, but to be honest, as I look back we were really lucky to have chosen a city with so much to offer and so many assets, in particular human ones.
On behalf of the entire Scale Up Milwaukee project team, in particular the Greater Milwaukee Committee, I want to ensure that you all know we will need your active involvement in many ways in 2014 in intensifying and accelerating the growth-promoting and success-enhancing support and encouragement of the region’s entrepreneurs — not just those launching new ventures, but in particular for those hundreds or perhaps thousands who are already in the marketplace and whose biggest dream is to get that next customer and conquer the next territory. When they do that, which they certainly have the potential to, it will inexorably benefit the entire Milwaukeean community.
Have a happy holiday weekend and stay tuned for a full agenda of activities and programs starting in 2014!
Daniel Isenberg is a Babson Global Professor of Entrepreneurship Practice and the founding executive director of the Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project (BEEP). His new book is Worthless Impossible and Stupid: How Contrarian Entrepreneurs Create and Capture Extraordinary Value (Harvard Business Press, July 2013). BEEP creates projects around the world to foster substantially greater levels of entrepreneurship in specific regions. Daniel is also Adjunct Professor at Columbia Business School and teaches Innovation for Economic Development at the Harvard Kennedy School, and has been a visiting professor at Insead, Reykjavik University, and the Technion. He has been a venture capitalist and entrepreneur, and is an active angel investor. For more information, visit www.entrepreneurial-revolution.com. Daniel Isenberg has a Ph.D. in social psychology from Harvard University.