Fall 2014 - Spring 2015

In early November 2014, we kicked off our first pilot class for our "Entrepreneurial Skills Accelerator". Over 140 students from 19 of Southeast Wisconsin's universities gathered to spend three days building a startup or working on business challenges. They then continued refining their projects through our spring workshop series. It was pretty nuts.




For our second class, we refined and condensed the program into 10 weeks of entrepreneurial training with a heavier emphasis on mentorship, role identification and soft skill development. Check out the video and gallery below!







For our third class, we again tightened up the overall program structure, developed a full set of learning outcomes and assessment methodology for academic rigor and placed more emphasis on building our students' professional networks. We're now proving that this thing works! Pictures of very talented people below.




Over half of our academic partners are now offering credit for participation, we've placed more meaningful structure around mentorship and we created a physical "workbook" to help students navigate and document the experience. Time to knock it out of the park! 


high school pilot program

We tested out a pilot program for our area high schools, which brought together 70 awesome students from 18 local high schools for a 2-day "innovation sprint"


SHEBOYGAN pilot program

We then tested out a pilot program for the colleges in the Sheboygan, Fond du Lac, Manitowoc and Washington County area. Nearly 60 rockstar students from 9 local colleges came together for another 2-day "innovation sprint"



The class keeps getting stronger and word of mouth becomes our largest marketing driver. Honestly, we're feeling pretty good at this point and are ready to start going bigger and bolder. Demo Day moves to 88.9 Radio Milwaukee because we had too many registrations. It was cool. 


SUmmer 2017 commons fellows

We selected 6 of our strongest students from the past two classes to join us for what can only be described as 'the most insane internship we can think of'. They spent the summer as full-time, paid innovation consultants for a number of large companies (ManpowerGroup, Briggs & Stratton and American Family Insurance). We rolled out the red carpet and got them into every cool company tour, rooftop social and networking event we could find.



We're not even sure what to write for this summary, other than this thing is getting real good. We broke a record for applications and had more professionals volunteering to be team Coaches and Advisors than we knew what to do with. We held a dedicated Mentor Night and had to move Demo Day to yet another new location (We Energies Auditorium), where we had nearly 350 people coming to see the student teams' final presentations! 


FALL 2017 Hack-it Brackets

So we created a new type of program called the "Hack-It Bracket" - it's our twist on improving the traditional hackathon model by injecting a healthy dose of March Madness-style competition. Meet more people, work on stronger ideas and keep things moving fast. We did a 1-day version with Kohl's and then a 2-day version with Northwestern Mutual. The latter may have been one of the more intense things we've ever tried. But fun. Very very fun. We're doing more of these.


SPRING 2018 skills accelerator

Currently in session!