MILWAUKEE – The University of Wisconsin Research Foundation has been awarded a $33,000 grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to teach healthcare professionals how to turn their ideas into startup businesses.
The UWM Research Foundation is one of 11 Wisconsin organizations receiving grants under WEDC’s new Entrepreneurship Support pilot program, which will help fund activities that advance the climate for entrepreneurship throughout the region. Nearly $500,000 in matching grants were awarded statewide.
“WEDC congratulates the UWM Research Foundation for being among the recipients for this new program,” said Mark Hogan, secretary and CEO of WEDC, the state’s lead economic development organization. “The foundation developed an innovative proposal that has the potential to make a real difference when it comes to assisting entrepreneurs and startups.”
“Milwaukee’s academic institutions have benefited greatly from the National Science Foundation I-Corps program that helps researchers discover markets for their technology through the ‘lean launch’ approach,” said Brian Thompson, director of UWM’s Lubar Entrepreneurship Center. “Thanks to WEDC support we can now extend this program to healthcare organizations, a rich source of innovations. We also can expand our pool of mentors trained in this methodology.”
The I-Corps program in Milwaukee teaches students and academic researchers at five universities how to find out what customers want before spending a lot of money on developing an idea. The WEDC grant will allow the UWM-directed program to recruit practicing clinicians and health care providers at organizations not affiliated with universities.
While WEDC has a variety of programs to support the formation, development, growth and financing of technology-based startups and early-stage businesses, the new initiative provides funding to groups whose efforts may not meet the eligibility criteria for existing programs.
The Entrepreneurship Support pilot program is the latest addition to WEDC’s suite of entrepreneurship resources, which includes support for startup accelerators, seed capital funds, investment tax credits and technology development loans. In addition, WEDC supports and engages an existing statewide network of partners that offers business training, mentorship and financing to aspiring entrepreneurs.
Other grant recipients include: The Center for Enterprise Development Inc., Fond du Lac; Couleecap Inc., La Crosse; Indianhead Community Action Agency, Ladysmith; Janesville Innovation Inc., Janesville; Milwaukee 7, Milwaukee; Nicolet Area Technical College, Rhinelander; Oconto County Economic Development Corporation, Oconto; UW-Madison Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic, Madison; UW-Stout Center for Innovation and Development, Menomonie; and Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Madison.