Marketplace 2016 Minority Business Development Conference


Are you ready to start or grow your business in Wisconsin? Each year, MARKETPLACE helps minority, women and veteran-owned company representatives learn about doing business with state, federal and local agencies as well as corporations. These markets represent billions of dollars of annual purchasing with special programs to include minority, women, veteran and disadvantaged business owners.

Meet with potential buyers, identify funding sources, connect with business assistance resources and build their capacity at MARKETPLACE.

The first day features FREE workshops on contracting processes, contract management and certification programs followed by an evening networking reception. The second day begins with a breakfast program before opening the Expo Hall with one-on-one buyer meetings and booths of small businesses, resource providers, government agencies, lenders and others. An award luncheon recognizes the achievements of MBE, WBE and DVB firms, as well as those recognized by the Wisconsin Department of Administration and other agencies. The afternoon continues by reopening the Expo Hall, where short seminars on a range of capacity-building topics are offered throughout the day.

Milwaukee Startup Week

Startup Milwaukee




Milwaukee Startup Week is an entrepreneur-led event that brings entrepreneurs, investors, local leaders and startup enthusiasts together to build momentum and celebrate Southeast Wisconsin’s unique entrepreneurial identity. 

20+ events hosted by 20+ community partners will take place during the inaugural Startup Week, November 1 – 6 at various locations around Southeast Wisconsin!

Doyenne Group October 2016 Connect

Doyenne Group


Join us in an evening of getting to know Doyenne members and networking with other women professionals while enjoying food and beverages. This event is open to Doyenne Members as well as Community Members. Your ticket price includes entrance for 2 people, so bring a friend to come learn about Doyenne and meet other local women entrepreneurs. Make sure you bring your business cards, flyers, brochures and a friend!

Miranda Rochol of Bags for Kids will speak about her experience as a entrepreneur and running a local non-profit supporting kids.

Schedule of Event:
6:00-6:30 Networking
6:30-7:00 Presentation from Featured Member
7:00-7:30 Networking

Tickets can be purchased using Paypal or select cheque to pay at the event via credit/debit card, check, or cash (please bring exact amount)

Leaders & Influencers: Taralinda Willis

In our continuing series on Madison Leaders & Influencers, we chat with Taralinda Willis, co-founder of Curate, a web scraping platform that combines artificial intelligence and automation technologies to deliver comprehensive answers to business intelligence questions.

Tell us a little bit about Curate and what made you decide to found it.

Taralinda WillisCurate was founded when my co-founder, Dale, and I were part of the gener8tor accelerator program and realized that the company we had been working on, unfortunately, wasn’t gaining any traction. gener8tor asked us to think about what other knowledge and skills we had to start something new. Dale, who was working on his PhD in Computer Science at the time, has experience in web scraping technology, and we looked around the marketplace and realized no one was using artificial intelligence in web scraping. We decided to pursue that path, and that’s how Curate was born.

The artificial intelligence piece allows us to provide more contextualized and relevant results to our clients, and also allows us to report changes in data over time. We’re also working on developing natural language processing to better query and search for data, which will be another advantage we have over competitors.

What’s been your biggest surprise in launching a start-up?

This isn’t a very exciting answer, but I was surprised by how challenging it can be to find regulatory laws and follow them. Everyone talks about fostering small business and innovation, and that’s great, but there’s this really practical piece with following the regulations that’s surprisingly difficult. Also, finding the right product for the right fit with the market is a challenge. Mark McGuire [serial entrepreneur and Managing Director of gener8tor Minnesota] references that quote about how being an entrepreneur is like jumping off of a cliff and building the airplane on the way down, and it really is like that.

How has launching in Madison contributed to Curate’s development, and what changes would you like to see here to encourage more innovation and entrepreneurship?

Dale and I both went to college in Madison, and we fell in love with the city. We’ve continued to stay here because Madison is getting better and better every day for entrepreneurs. We feel really good about the connections we made after going through the gener8tor program. I don’t think that most people realize what an asset gener8tor is to our community and its entrepreneurial growth.

I do think Madison has some work to do in building its network and support of entrepreneurs. There are lots of people here beyond gener8tor doing really incredible things, including Madworks and Starting Block. The entire community should support these endeavors and help launch more businesses. Attracting and retaining top talent is what makes Madison so incredible.


Visit Fine Point Consulting for more information about the great tools and services we use to help startups and nonprofits succeed.

Leaders & Influencers: Robin Martin & Jana Gerken

In our continuing series on Leaders & Influencers, we talk with Robin Martin, Chief Regulatory Strategist, and Jana Gerken, Chief Legal Strategist, co-founders of the newly formed Kinetic Compliance Solutions, which provides regulatory and legal services to emerging and mature companies specializing in the medical device and life sciences industries.

Talk a bit about Kinetic Compliance Solutions.


Robin Martin (left) and Jana Gerken

Jana: Our focus is on medical device and life sciences industries, which is a very specialized niche. These are highly regulated industries. You can see from the news what happens when these types of companies get into trouble, with major lawsuits and fines. This kind of high risk requires real-life expertise, and Robin and I have more than twenty years combined in-house experience in industry manufacturing at a global healthcare company with a focus in medical device and life sciences. We come in early and partner with our clients using the “ounce of prevention” strategy to help them remain successful and competitive for years to come.

Why establish your business in Wisconsin?

Robin: We both worked for GE Healthcare in Wisconsin so have been established in the healthcare industry here. We’re based in Milwaukee, which gives us access to both Madison and Chicago. There’s a great start-up culture in Madison and Milwaukee, and lots going on in medical devices and life sciences. And Wisconsin’s fantastic research universities are really interested in bridging the technology transfer piece.

Jana: We did a lot of due diligence before we founded Kinetic Compliance Solutions to get feedback from experts in the field and to make sure there was a demand for this type of service. To our knowledge, there’s not another firm in Wisconsin that provides the combination of regulatory and legal services that we offer in the medical device and life sciences space.

Tell us about your regulatory service and how that relates to the legal realm.

Robin: Emerging or smaller companies may not have an in-house regulatory or legal team, and that’s where we come in. Those emerging companies are often focused on the regulatory piece early, but we also provide ongoing compliance support as they grow and can help them think about what the competition is doing, or how that competition has gotten into trouble with FDA regulations so they can learn from that. When we work with more mature companies, they are typically looking to expand beyond the U.S. and Europe. There are massive amounts of work that can come with going global, and we are happy to provide our expertise to those companies as well.

Jana: What we’re seeing and are focused on are overcoming those barriers to entry around FDA regulations and intellectual property, so from a legal side we really want to set the tracks in the right direction from the get-go. For example, the anti-kickback statute has implications in healthcare that are not necessarily intuitive. A well-intentioned “thank-you” gift can be perceived as a kickback and a meal will likely be reportable to the public under the “Sunshine” laws. These are just a couple of the many examples of how a practice that’s customary in one industry could potentially put your company at risk in the highly regulated healthcare space. We believe that knowledge is power and work with our clients to help them navigate these choppy waters so that they can focus on growth and innovation.

What’s one piece of regulatory and/or legal advice you give to emerging companies?

Jana: What you don’t know can hurt you. Bring us in early because we’re here to help you and work with you. Our model is very flexible, so we can work with anyone from a smaller start-up to a mature company or investor. Also, don’t underestimate your leverage in negotiations and give in too quickly. You may have more power than you think.

Robin: Really understand the FDA landscape: it’s going to help immensely and save you time and money. For example, in a worst-case scenario, a company submits to the FDA with incomplete data, not realizing they needed clinical data first. Things like that can really set you back.

What’s the single most important change you’d like to see to encourage more innovation and entrepreneurship in Wisconsin?

Jana: Anecdotally, we hear about so much activity and so many great ideas coming out of our research universities, and we need to find ways to commercialize that knowledge and keep those ideas and resulting companies in Wisconsin rather than have them leave for the East or West Coasts. This would also help generate jobs in Wisconsin. Part of our business model is partnering with companies for sustainable growth, so we’d like to see more of these companies stay and grow here.


Visit Fine Point Consulting for more information about the great tools and services we use to help businesses succeed.