Exciting news is something we all need during these uncertain times and that is what VentureHome-Eau Claire, a new startup hub, announced this spring. This startup hub combines statewide resources with community initiatives to provide local entrepreneurs access to a full menu of startup resources in their community. They also serve as a landing spot for Wisconsin’s entrepreneurial “alumni” to “venture home” and contribute to their local communities.
The seed accelerator launched at the beginning of April 2020 with six individuals all looking to start their own businesses in the area, beginning with the first cohort with virtual programming amidst COVID-19.The accepted individuals and businesses include Jim McDougall, Upstream AV, Eric Boud, Life-Line, Beth Crowell, The Hippie Banker, Brian Graff, Solar Forma, Aaron Accola, ALO Applications, and Mary Cait McManamon, Spark Convos, LLC.
A steering committee consisting of eight professionals, experienced members of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Eau Claire, reviewed and determined those that were accepted to the program. The cohort will work with this steering committee over the next six months to complete programming and receive assistance to further their businesses. CoLab, a coworking space located in the heart of downtown Eau Claire, will serve as the physical space for participants where they will have access to a larger state-wide ecosystem, entrepreneur toolkits, research and technologies coming out of the University of Wisconsin system, intellectual property and legal strategy assistance, and possible seed funding.
CCEDC is proud to share that both McDougall and Boud were participants at CCEDC’s Regional Entrepreneurial Pitch Contest, HATCH this fall. The HATCH Program-in its second year- is a rotating, high-energy idea pitch program designed to facilitate connections between prospective entrepreneurs and those within a community who support them such as industry experts, professional service firms, banks, non-profits, business leaders and investors. This fall 2019 McDougall was selected as CCEDC’s HATCH winning contestant while Boud won audience favorite.
VentureHome-Eau Claire is a pilot program that will serve as a startup hub in downtown Eau Claire at CoLab, a coworking space. Through programming, it will offer access to statewide resources with community initiatives to provide local entrepreneurs access to a full menu of startup resources in their community. The program was made possible through partnership of WiSys, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and CoLab.