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Scale Up Milwaukee Update: June 14

From Dan Isenberg

From time to time I will share with you some thoughts about SUMKE (my shorthand for Scale Up Milwaukee). I invite your comments and dialog, criticisms, suggestions by clicking here. This kind of communication is part of the ongoing dialog and engagement that is part of SUMKE, and there will be more. Follow SUMKE at @Scaleup_MKE and www.scaleupmilwaukee.org .

I was in town for three days, June 10-12, with Sam Hammar from our entrepreneurship ecosystem team in Boston, working with our local SUMKE team mates from GMCUWMWEDCMEDC and AMEX OPEN (OPEN for Enterprise ™) as well as several dozen or so of you – entrepreneurs, educators, investors, entrepreneurship champions and supporters, community leaders, including some familiar faces. -This is a good sign, and I hope to keep seeing you more as we scale-up ourselves.

  • The dialog is getting more real. We have had some no-holds-barred discussions about what scaling up business ventures in Milwaukee means – at the Entrepreneurs’ Round Table and a few thoughts from Brian Mayer on SUMKE and BuildMKE. Feel free to propose discussion topics on Scale Up to Brian Schupper or me. We are getting used to using Google Hangout to make it easy to broaden and intensify the dialog and we will try to do more. Have a look at our first Hangout with Don Layden, Matt Cordio, and Sam Hammar.
  • We also met with a wide variety of entrepreneurs not only from different sectors, but also with a diversity of backgrounds, very cool. Scale Up Milwaukee is meant to empower as many organizations and people as possible and foster an ecosystem that allows entry, success, or exit (premature or otherwise) based on desire, skill, motivation, and ultimate success.
  • A few meetings of note. We met with Chris Abele (County Executive, serial entrepreneur); Jill Diddier from his staff immediately came the next day to one of our roundtables. We met with Mayor Barrett and his staff, and we will be working with Tom and his office to accelerate and amplify the municipality’s Scale Up messages. We also met with Tom Still (WTC) and Jon Torinus (Wisconsin Super Angel Fund) to begin to brainstorm about SUMKE can help facilitate/accelerate early stage equity (and debt, and other finance) market-based activities (SUMKE does not and will not invest – our purpose is to facilitate market-processes). We met with Pat O’Brien to see how to create synergies between SUMKE and M-7. I had a chance to pop over to Daphne Glorious Malone’s Factory  to see (and taste) some tangible products of entrepreneurship. I had a short first conversation with Eve Hall (head of AACC) and we see ways to use SUMKE to support her ambitious vision of Scale Ups.
  • Next trip. I plan on squeezing in a short July trip to Milwaukee in 3 weeks to conduct our first in a series of short educational workshops to different sectors, this one will be a case writing workshop for entrepreneurship university faculty in the area. More will come.
  • Stay tuned. In or about September we plan to conduct a pilot proof-of-concept “Scalerator” – this is Scale Up’s answer to the accelerator phenomenon that has proliferated around the world. What comes after accelerator? Scale. This pilot will be for a small INITIAL group of extremely ambitious MKE ventures who have sales, and want to scale, while engaging the entire ecosystem to support them. More to follow on this in coming weeks.

Please feel free to follow and talk with me personally on twitteron Facebook.and at www.entrepreneurial-revolution.com. I discussed SUMKE the other day on the Cincinnati radio show, Steel Shores, we will put this on the SUMKE site when it is posted. The folks there are really curious what we are doing, so let’s tell them. There is more but to keep it brief and quick, this is the first of many. Remember, feel free to stay in touch and propose activities.

Yours, Dan dan@isen.com 


What is Scale-Up Milwaukee?

The purpose of Scale Up Milwaukee (www.scaleupmilwaukee.org) is to stimulate entrepreneurs to scale-up both existing and new ventures in the Milwaukee region so that as they grow they will hire people, pay taxes, and create wealth.  SUMKE will achieve this over the coming three years by working with Milwaukee’s formal and informal stakeholders (public and private leaders, finance providers, educators, policy makers, media, community groups, entrepreneurship support organizations, family businesses, locally-based corporations, entrepreneurs etc.) to be more able individually to support entrepreneurial achievement, to be more aligned on a growth-obsessed vision, and more integrated in their actions to foster scale-up. In the early stages, SUMKE will help the stakeholders support growth-driven ventures which already have sales revenues in order to generate relatively “quick wins” and “quick lessons.” The initial group of sponsors of SUMKE, which will expand, includes the Greater Milwaukee Committee (private sector), the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the City of Milwaukee, and Amex OPEN for Enterprise.