Wisconsin WOMEN Reception
Women. Opportunity. Mentors. Entrepreneurs. Networking.
A special reception dedicated to the unique and lasting impact of WOMEN in Wisconsin through their expertise, commitment and purposeful influence on the business climate in the state. This 2nd annual event is the kick-off to 2016 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium. Men and women alike are encouraged to attend.
This year’s distinguished speaker will be Dr. Eve Hall, President and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin. Dr. Hall was recognized as “Woman Executive of the Year” by Biz Times for her work in reviving the chamber. She will speak from her perspective as a woman and CEO on the challenges and opportunities facing women in today’s business climate. Dr. Hall will also talk about her perception of the progress of women and minorities as business owners – two of the fastest-growing groups of entrepreneurs – and what needs to happen in the state’s largest cities to provide more opportunity for all.
In our continuing series on Leaders & Influencers, we kick off 2016 with Anne Smith, co-founder and co-director of the UW Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic, which provides free legal services to nascent entrepreneurs and early-stage companies. In 2014 Smith co-founded of Madworks, a seed accelerator that provides grants, mentors, structure, and more to selected early-stage companies.
What was it that made you decide to found Madworks in 2014?
It had been a long time coming. Since 2009, when the UW Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic had opened, it was pretty obvious to us that our clients needed more than legal help. There were many resources for start-ups available, but they were scattered. Launching Madworks was a way to give entrepreneurs some focused attention beyond just the legal aspects. The first semester the Law & Entrepreneurship clinic was open, for example, we had a student who spent hours and hours of time developing a client contract. The student then revealed that she didn’t have any clients yet, but wanted to have a contract ready for when that happened. Focusing just on the legal aspects of a start-up is important, but that kind of singular focus can also be paralyzing in terms of moving a company forward.
At Madworks, we provide grants to early-stage companies. Our goal is jobs for Wisconsin, and that comes from both tech and non-tech companies. While we want tech companies that will scale quickly, we also want to take companies that offer things like luxury baby products or art. It’s an interesting mix, and there’s a great deal these varied types of companies can learn from each other.
You’re set to combine a number of startup resources into one space at the new @1403 on the University of Wisconsin campus. What’s the significance of this sort of space?
It was University Research Park’s idea, and it combines UW-Madison’s Discovery to Product program, the Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic, Madworks, and gBeta. There’s good energy there. And we try to incorporate the community with things like art displays and openings by local artists. The idea is to highlight all things entrepreneurial, and we’re happy it’s happening.
What’s the single most important change you’d like to see to encourage more innovation and entrepreneurship in our community?
If I look at the difference between what happens on the East and West Coasts and what happens in the Midwest and Wisconsin in particular, I feel like the conservative nature of this part of the country holds us back. We’re afraid to start companies that may fail, and investors are afraid of losing money. It makes things slower to happen. Not that we should get wild and loose, but failure is a part of it, and it’s just not in our nature here to take those risks.
We’re also missing some of the critical mass you find on the coasts. If you’re in a startup here and it fails or gets bought out, and you like working in the startup environment, we don’t have the pool of startups like they do on the coasts that allows you to jump right back into another.
What do you find most interesting and rewarding in your roles at the UW Law & Entrepreneur Clinic and Madworks?
The growth that I see in the people that we work with. The growth in their level of competence and understanding is just amazing. Seeing the people we’ve worked with over the years and where they are today is really rewarding. And it’s great to know that we’ve played a little part in helping them get there.
Visit Fine Point Consulting for more information about the great tools and services we use to help businesses succeed.
Fine Point Consulting works with a lot of clients that are creating new technology, products, and ideas. But, in addition to these wonderful clients Fine Point Consulting also serves nonprofits doing amazing things.
Families and Schools Together, also known as FAST, is one of our exciting Not for Profit clients! They are a non-profit organization dedicated to helping the community build protective factors around kids. Their organization produces and distributes programs that teach parents how to become empowered and use this empowerment to help their children to succeed. There are a wide range of programs offered that are separated out by the developmental stages of the child’s life (Baby FAST, Pre-K FAST, Kids FAST, Middle School FAST, and Teen FAST) this allows the programs to effectively be used as preventions or early intervention regardless of which stage the family’s lifecycle is in.
Families and Schools Together are known for adding value to schools and the surrounding communities due to its connection with so many roles in society. FAST works with parents of all religions, social settings and professions to ensure that all parents can and will succeed through the empowerment mentioned above. FAST also works with Educators to make sure that all children are succeeding with the help of their parent’s involvement while changing the climate of the school through this connection. In addition to the roles of the parents and the schools FAST also has the approval and support of Law Enforcement, Health Care Providers and Communities in general.
We are super excited to be a part of this growing organization and cannot wait to see what other fantastic things they are going to be doing in the future! To check them out visit their website here!
Here at Fine Point Consulting, we like to pride ourselves on the fact that we have a wide range of clients. This variety of clients allows us to be experts in many areas and help a wide range of businesses succeed. One of our newest clients, MobCraft Beer, is one of the most innovative breweries in the Madison area. They are growing fast, and making a name for themselves based upon their unique and uncanny flavors that are voted upon online by fans and customers.
MobCraft Beer has a wide range of beers that are sure to attract any beer drinker. Their most recent brew is inspired from a popular drink found in Madison; the Old Fashioned Berliner Weisse is concocted using elements of an Old Fashioned (Cherries, Oranges and spices), and then aged in either Brandy or Whiskey barrels. In addition to this brew Mobcraft has recently launched a raspberry chocolate porter, Candy for Breakfast which is a chocolate peanut butter coffee porter, and BatShit Crazy which won the silver at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival in the coffee beer category.
MobCraft Beer got its start when Henry, Giotto and Andrew’s (the third founder) twin brother all went to college together in Whitewater and were home brewing in their spare time between business classes. In 2012 the dream came alive in a business incubator. The three founders then decided to start MobCraft and start out brewing batches of beer suggested by family and friends in 5 gallon increments. From there their business only grew. They are currently brewing their specially crafted beers at House of Brews in Madison, and are only anticipating growing more from here. MobCraft is the first completely crowd-sourced brewery and is getting a lot of attention, including a spot in the Rise of the Rest tour where they had a chance to pitch Steve Case last month.
We are super excited to be able to follow them on their journey! Visit their website here to join the mob and view all of their innovative brews. You can view recipes, vote for the next brew, or even pre order your own 4 pack!
For those of you have not heard of gener8tor before, this organization is a key part of our state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. With offices in both Madison and Milwaukee, gener8tor invests its community, capital, expertise, mentorship and network in capable, early-stage entrepreneurs with innovative business models.
Fine Point works with several current and past graduates of the gener8tor program, including Stock Mfg Co., Docalytics, and Abodo, and we are thrilled to be a sponsor of the event.
Tomorrow night five young companies, two of which are out of Madison, will have a chance to showcase their product to an audience of about 400. Luella and Leah will be representing the Fine Point Consulting Team during this premier night celebration. The five companies – Modern Movement, Beekeeper Data, Project Foundry, HITLIST and our very own Stock Mfg Co – were chosen from over 450 applicants.
In addition to the 12 week mentoring sessions held all summer long, each of these companies will receive at least $70,000 in investment funds, and the three Madison startups (Modern Movement, Project Foundry, and Beekeeper Data) will each receive an additional $50,000 from the BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation. The gener8tor program also provides continued support in the use of their space, resources and mentors to help provide an opportunity to all companies to reach that next level.
For more information visit their website here!