Scale Up Milwaukee

Scale Up Milwaukee announces membership program

Scale Up Milwaukee is the single platform where anyone who cares about growing their business or impacting growth in Milwaukee – companies of all sizes, banks, industry trade organizations, academic institutions, nonprofit support organizations, government entities, professional service firms & many more – can all come together for their own benefit and that of the community. Companies like ManpowerGroup and Mandel Group, financial institutions like Associated Bank and Park Bank, Scalerator alum like Diamond Discs International and Telecom Data, universities like UWM and Marquette and nonprofits/EDOs like WWBIC may be varied but they all joined for the same reason: Scale Up Milwaukee membership provides unique value to them as the only place in Milwaukee that a network and set of resources focused on their growth comes together.

Check out more information and become a member here.

A Letter from the President: March 2016

In this month’s and other upcoming president’s columns, I’d like to share some personal stories of success stemming from our initiatives.

Innovation in Milwaukee (MiKE)

College students try to make the most out of their school experience, and Michael Snowden, a business major at Cardinal Stritch University, is no exception. Michael was one of ten students chosen to participate in MiKE‘s Destination Innovation program, a collaboration with Southwest Airlines and Kohl’s Department Stores. Despite never having flown before, Michael embraced this opportunity to brainstorm with fellow students on the future of customer service and then pitch his ideas to other passengers while at 35,000 feet in the sky.

Michael remains connected to MiKE through our flagship program, The Commons, a skills accelerator that seeks to prepare college students for the 21st century innovation economy. Michael was accepted into the spring 2016 session and is working on one of six student-led startup teams called Doughnation, an app that will allow college students to easily support their favorite nonprofits. Michael and his team will share their final presentation on April 19th at Demo Day.

Another Commons participant, a Mount Mary University student, found a full-time job through The Commons. A communications major with no IT background, Shannon admitted she never would have applied for the job she ended up being offered at Kohl’s. She applied – and was hired – because The Commons gave her an opportunity to show her leadership skills and personality, which easily won over the Kohl’s team, who held the position for her until she finished school. Kohl’s had not often hired graduates from Mount Mary in the past – The Commons connected the dots. Learn more about Shannon here!


Teachtown MKE

One of Teachtown MKE‘s many offerings for our teachers is free tickets to sporting events. After a Marquette University basketball game, one teacher sent us a note:

“I went to the Marquette Game with my daughter last Saturday and it was a great daddy daughter date 🙂 Thanks again for the tickets. Afterwards we went ice skating at Red Arrow Park and ate cake pops and drank coffee! She was so happy!!!! Thanks again, we plan on attending again. ”

Teachtown MKE not only provided this teacher and his daughter with a great experience, but encouraged him to explore downtown and continue attending basketball games.

Scale Up Milwaukee

Matt Carroll of AccuTrans was introduced to Scale Up Milwaukee well before the Scalerator recruitment period began. His business provided a coach and driver for a group of Brazilian emissaries visiting Milwaukee to learn about Scale Up Milwaukee and the activities growing the region’s economy. One year after the introduction, Matt has just completed the Scalerator program and has a growing list of related accomplishments marking his impressive growth. He’s acquired three other coach and limousine companies in just the last three months and received the 2016 Small Business Administration Wisconsin Emerging Small Business Award. All this, and AccuTrans is outperforming Matt’s ambitious projections with revenue that is nearly 90% ahead of the same date last year!

Stay tuned for more stories in coming months, and feel free to pass along any you might have.



Julia Taylor

Danish Advisor Explores Scale Up Milwaukee’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Published March 19, 2016

One deterrent to would-be new businesses is the fear of not being prepared in the beginning stages before the company has even made a name for itself.  Scale Up Milwaukee is one local organization working to aid entrepreneurs and innovators at the early stages of their business plan. Its “Scalerator” program is a six-month, seven-session training program that aims to teach business owners how to inject growth into their ventures. The program focuses on three primary areas: sales and marketing, organizational development and entrepreneurial finance.

The organization has been successful enough to attract attention from across the Atlantic.

The Danish Ministry of Business and Growth dispatched their chief advisor, Søren Boutrup, to Milwaukee for a month to participate in Scalerator. Boutrup had asked his employer for a learning opportunity in lieu of a bonus for his work for the Ministry. His employer subscribes to the entrepreneurial ecosystem idea advocated in Scalerator.

Read and listen to the full piece here.

Using Supply Chains to Grow Your Business

From Harvard Business Review
Published November 20, 2015

Until a few years ago Steve Cronce’s Raphael Industries did $1 million dollars a year of specialized industrial painting for customers within driving distance of their plant in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. One of them happened to be GE Healthcare, which sent Raphael “dead” X-Ray tube parts for re-coating and re-commissioning. Challenged by other entrepreneurs in Scale Up Milwaukee’s Scalerator program to come up with a plan for rapidly ramping up his business, Cronce wondered: “What if I redefined Raphael as a strategic link in the global medical imaging supply chain, rather than as a paint shop?” This supply chain epiphany is taking Raphael toward $10 million of work a year by burrowing into GE’s global network as well as serving its competitors. He is poised to become the leader in this segment of a multi-billion dollar market. “By serving as GE’s and other equipment makers’ supply partner, the whole world is now my scope. I am no longer limited by geography.”

This story leads us to a question: Which sounds sexier: sassy Silicon Valley startup or nose-to-the-grindstone supplier? No doubt the tech startup wins the popularity contest hands down.

But let’s change what we’re asking: Which has the better potential to scale up and create long term value for customers, owners, investors, and employees? According to a study by the Center for an Urban Future, small businesses that win large supply contracts report average revenue growth more than 250% in the two years after their first sale. The reality is that the vast majority of successfully scaled ventures are not mythical unicorns with billion dollar paper values, but workhorses that plug along, steadily producing results year after year.

Read the full piece here.

Scale Up Milwaukee names 2015-2016 class of growth-accelerated companies

Published October 21, 2015
From the Milwaukee Business Journal

Greater Milwaukee Committee initiative Scale Up Milwaukee named the third class of participants in its Scalerator program Wednesday, its largest class yet.

The six-month, seven-session training program, backed in part by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., is meant to teach business owners the skills to grow their companies. Scalerator focuses on sales and marketing, organizational development and entrepreneurial finance, with support from mentors and business partners from the community.

Read the full article here.


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