The Commons

Milwaukee region’s academic institutions explore creating nonprofit center

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Published August 21, 2014

Leaders from 20 of the region’s academic institutions met at Marquette University Thursday to explore the idea of a nonprofit center near downtown Milwaukee that could help their students build start-ups and partnerships with industry.

The Commons, as the effort is being called, would be located in Walker’s Point, where organizers say they have been scouting properties.

The project will begin with a pilot program in November, with a goal of launching the entire program next summer, said Matt Cordio, co-founder of Startup Milwaukee, which is running the initiative with Innovation in Milwaukee, or MiKE, a project of the Greater Milwaukee Committee.

The pilot will bring together students from participating institutions for a weekend event that would be run like a Startup Weekend event where teams form to work on ideas. The students would be involved in follow-up workshops after the event.

“There’s a strong desire in all the institutions to collaborate and share best practices around innovation and entrepreneurship in ways we haven’t done in the past,” said Mike Lovell, president of Marquette University and MiKE co-chair.

Ultimately, the Commons will provide connections to mentors, access to start-up funding and experiences that might lead to job opportunities with local corporations, said Michael Hostad, MiKE’s executive director.

 

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