Succeeding as a start-up can be all about meeting the right people and finding the right programs. here are the key ways to do that in the valley.
Are you thinking about taking the leap into entrepreneurship? Have you already started your own business but could you still use a hand, a sympathetic ear, or some inspiration? The Chippewa Valley offers a rich environment to create and expand your own business. Numerous programs can help you incubate your entrepreneurial idea. Here are a few of them.
1 MILLION CUPS
Every Wednesday morning at Chippewa Valley Technical College, entrepreneurs meet over free coffee to network and listen to presentations from other business innovators about their latest and greatest ideas. Learn more at 1millioncups.com/eauclaire.
Local entrepreneurs submit their business ideas, get free guidance from business professionals, and compete for a chance at $5,000 worth of prizes to help their ideas succeed through this program, offered by the Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corp. Learn more at eauclaire-wi.com/entrepreneurs/idea-challenge.
Participants pitch their startup ideas, form teams, and scramble to create a plan for a minimum viable product – all in the space of just two days. One participant called it “the most fun you can legally have in 48 hours!” Learn more at startup48.co.
This annual competition focuses on people who want to start businesses in – or relocate them to – downtown Eau Claire. Over the past 13 years, Jump-Start has given more than $75,000 in prizes, and more than 40 participants have opened their doors downtown. This year’s application deadline is Sept. 2. Learn more at downtowneauclaire.org/jump-start.
MUSKY TANK MIXERS
Musky Tank, a company which helps early-stage firms develop business plans and get financing, holds frequent mixers that bring together entrepreneurs and industry experts who can help them sell their ideas. Learn more at muskytank.com.
CHIPPEWA VALLEY INNOVATION CENTER
This facility on Eau Claire’s north side provides a temporary home for start-up businesses as well as access to local economic development agencies for managerial, technical, and financial assistance. Learn more at eauclaire-wi.com/entrepreneurs/chippewa-valley-innovation-center.
SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTER
The Small Business Development Center aids entrepreneurs at every stage of business development with financial, marketing, and management techniques and strategies – all at no cost! The center offers the Entrepreneurial Training Program, a series of classes that help you learn what it takes to start and sustain a small business. Learn more at wisconsinsbdc.org/eauclaire.