How a professor is trying to spark an entrepreneurial revolution across America

Published by CNBC on May 5, 2017


For the first 17 years, RBK Health Care Marketing in Milwaukee grew at a respectable pace, reaching more than $3 million a year in revenue in 2016.

This year, founder Carl Brown says the firm will grow by 50 percent to 60 percent and hit $4 million to $5 million in revenue. He expects to add two more employees, giving the firm a total of about 18. One of the factors behind its growth spurt: Brown participated in a six-month program called Scale Up Milwaukee, part of a larger movement to encourage established entrepreneurs in second-tier cities — and it’s beginning to take off worldwide.

The goal of Scale Up: to offer a support system for more mature, small companies with proven business models so they can increase sales and boost job growth in local communities. While there’s no shortage of incubators and accelerators to help fledglings get off the ground, there’s not much mentoring being offered to established small businesses.

“For many years, we didn’t have access to something like this,” Brown said. “If I’d known some of this stuff five years ago …” His voice trailed off. “I’m glad I know it now.”

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