The Commons

Demo Day showcases progress of The Commons’ first class

From BizTimes
Published November 23, 2015

After 10 weeks of assembling business models, prototypes and market research, student startup teams under The Commons presented their masterpieces-in-progress during a Demo Day event held Sunday at Ward4 Milwaukee.

The event gave all 11 teams a chance to show off the strides they have made since launching their efforts in September.

For some, Demo Day also opened up an opportunity to pitch their ideas in hopes of garnering additional financial support and establishing key connections in the startup space.

The 11 teams enrolled in The Commons over the last two months represent the first official class of the entrepreneurial skills accelerator, which is a project of Startup Milwaukee and Innovation in Milwaukee (MiKE).

The Commons, announced in August 2014, marries academia with industry as it gives college students from regional institutions a platform to begin building early-stage companies as well as learn from executives at companies like Direct Supply and Brady Corporation.

The accelerator, open to any student from participating schools, kicked off with a pitch event in September, during which select student entrepreneurs and companies explained their ideas to a room full of students.

About 65 students threw their entrepreneurial ambitions into the first class, with five student teams focused on fleshing out startup ideas and six other teams centered on finding solutions to fit the needs of local companies.

Read the full article here.


The Commons student, corporate accelerator exits pilot phase, eyes growth

Published August 12, 2015
From the Milwaukee Business Journal

The Commons, a startup accelerator for launching student companies and solving corporate challenges, is out of its pilot phase and into the business of building a sustainable program that could eventually scale up.

The accelerator, from the Greater Milwaukee Committee’s Innovation in Milwaukee Initiative and Startup Milwaukee, draws students from 21 local higher education institutions. It launched last year with a meeting at Milwaukee’s Marquette University between 20 of those university leaders.

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The Commons moves to Ward4

Published June 19, 2015
From BizTimes

Entrepreneurial skills accelerator The Commons has moved from Walker’s Point to the Ward4 co-working space in the Historic Pritzlaff Building near Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward.

The Commons was previously located in a 4,000-square-foot space at 170 S. First St., in the space above Colectivo. It will have less dedicated space at Ward4—three 10-foot by 12-foot offices—but will have access to a collaborative environment and shared conference, project and event spaces at a more affordable price, said Matt Cordio, co-founder and program director.

The Commons is a nonprofit venture founded last year by the Greater Milwaukee Committee’s Innovation in Milwaukee (MiKE) initiative and Startup Milwaukee, with foundational support from a host of academic institutions and businesses across southeastern Wisconsin. In April, it completed the pilot program of its 10-week mentor-driven, seed accelerator, through which entrepreneurial-minded college students can grow early-stage companies and connect with area corporations seeking talent.

Read the full article here.

Commons student, corporate accelerator joins Ward 4

Published June 17, 2015
From The Milwaukee Business Journal

The Commons student startup program is taking space at Ward 4, adding a second accelerator to the mix at the new co-working space and startup hub backed by Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele.

Commons, which runs 10-week accelerator programs around academic and corporate innovation challenges, is led by Michael Hostad, head of the Greater Milwaukee Committee’s Innovation in Milwaukee initiative, and Matt Cordio, co-founder of Startup Milwaukee and co-working space 96square.

Read the full article here.


The Commons’ Student Entrepreneurs Dive Into Startup Projects

Published November 10, 2014
From Xconomy

Milwaukee’s latest startup accelerator is off and running.

The Commons put 16 university student teams on a track toward launching a startup or solving a corporate challenge at its kickoff event, a 48-hour planning and mentoring session culminating in project pitches to a packed room in Walker’s Point.

The launch has been in the works since Cordio and co-founder Michael Hostad first announced the nonprofit in August. Cordio is also co-founder of Startup Milwaukee. Hostad is executive director of Innovation in Milwaukee, or MiKE, a Greater Milwaukee Committee initiative.

Since then, the two have been fundraising, recruiting student participants, and crafting a rubric to measure the program’s success.

Read the full article here.

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