Six Locally Focused Business Boosters
the right people and programs to help your start-up succeed 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
At 9am each Wednesday at Chippewa Valley Technical College (or virtually via Facebook Live), 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 a $5,000 grand prize to help their ideas succeed through this program, offered by the Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corp. and sponsored by Northwestern Bank. Learn more at eauclaire-wi.com/entrepreneurs/idea-challenge.
Participants pitch 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 the competition, held in Eau Claire each fall, “the most fun you can legally have in 48 hours!” Learn more at startup48.co.
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.
CITY OF EAU CLAIRE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DIVISION
This city entity’s mission is to help grow local businesses, facilitate expansions, and incentivize businesses to locate in Eau Claire. They have resources available to assist in marketing and branding strategies, paperwork, permits and regulations, finding properties to rent or own, and finding financial assistance through grants, loans, and credit programs. Learn more at eauclairewi.gov/government/our-divisions/economic-development.