When Can We Start? Startup Eau Claire Week Is Here to Encourage Entrepreneurship

Nov. 16-20 business-boosting series features 15+ virtual events

V1 Staff |

The past year has forced all of us to think more creatively and to work more flexibly, traits that are especially valuable for entrepreneurs. So it’s no surprise that the Chippewa Valley’s largest annual entrepreneurship event – Startup Eau Claire Week – is taking the challenges of 2020 in stride.

The third annual event, which will run Nov. 16-20, is taking a virtual pivot this year, featuring a week of events and programs aimed “to increase awareness surrounding the local startup ecosystem as well as inspire and equip the community to rally around the digital transformation taking place in the region,” organizers say.

Startup Eau Claire Week – which is part of a larger, statewide network in cities such as Milwaukee, Madison, and Green Bay – is sponsored by Royal Credit Union. In a press release, organizers said shifting to virtual mode because of the coronavirus pandemic presents “a unique opportunity” locally.

“Going virtual allows us to showcase Eau Claire’s entrepreneurial ecosystem on a state and national scale.”

becca coleman


“Going virtual allows us to showcase Eau Claire’s entrepreneurial ecosystem on a state and national scale,” said Becca Coleman, co-organizer and project manager at the Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corporation. “Programming that happened in-person in the past is not limited to those who can physically attend. The local entrepreneurs, businesses, and organizations featured in this year’s Startup Week have a great opportunity to gain visibility on a scale we haven’t seen before.”

Co-organizer Adam Accola added that the week will allow entrepreneurs to celebrate their work during an “abnormal time.”

“Innovation is key to growing Eau Claire’s economy and creating new jobs, and the programming occurring during Startup Eau Claire Week this year will continue to develop and strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region,” said Accola, programming administrator at CoLab, one of the partners behind Startup Eau Claire Week. Other organizations involved include the Eau Claire Area EDC, Pablo Center at the Confluence, UW-Eau Claire, Chippewa Valley Technical College, Red Letter Grant, and Chippewa Valley Tours.

Here’s a list of just some of the more than 15 events that will be part of Startup Eau Claire Week:

Financial Crisis Planning | Proactive & Reactive

Monday, Nov. 16, 12pm – Presented by Red Letter Grant & Royal Credit Union

The impacts of COVID-19 side-swiped small business owners across the Valley – impacting both immediate bottom lines and the long-term ways in which they do business.

This event, sponsored by Royal Credit Union in partnership with Red Letter Grant, will focus on preparing you for the worst and helping you bounce back from debt, lost income, etc.

Start a Business: Step One

Monday, Nov.16, 6pm – Presented by Chippewa Valley Technical College

Do you have an idea for a business or are you interested in being your own boss, but unsure where to start?

Launching a business can be a scary process and there are many aspects to consider before taking the plunge. Whether you have an idea or not, you are invited to attend Start a Business: Step One.

Conversations in Color: Entrepreneurship Against the Odds

Monday, Nov. 16, 7:30pm

Entrepreneurship is never easy but coming from a marginalized community puts you at a disadvantage from the start. Minorities make up 32% of the population of the United States, but only account for 18% of businesses.

Join us as our panel of local entrepreneurs discuss the challenges and successes of their entrepreneurship in the Chippewa Valley.

Women-Owned, Startup Experience Box

Tuesday, Nov. 17, 5:30pm

Be part of the celebration of local, women-owned startup businesses by getting yourself an Experience Box.

For only $15, you'll receive a box of goodies from local, women-owned business owners, retail value $40. Then, join us on November 17 for a virtual unboxing party, featuring these fantastic women in business! Join in to hear their startup story and be inspired.

From the Ground Up: Building a Career in the Arts

Friday, Nov. 20, 6:30pm – Presented by Pablo Center at the Confluence

Achieving a career in art certainly comes with its ups and downs. Risks and rewards. Listen in as a panel of local artists provide insight towards making art your profession.

To view details and the full listing of Startup Eau Claire Week events and programming visit www.facebook.com/StartupEauClaire.