submitted by Kevin Hoffman; photo by Margaret Murphy
Chandra Miller Fienen, Director of Operations & Programs at StartingBlock Madison, spoke to Downtown Rotary about what StartingBlock is and how it helps support and foster innovation entrepreneurs.
Recently opened in June 2018, StartingBlock Madison is supported by Madison Gas & Electric, American Family Insurance and the City of Madison. In collaboration with the University of Wisconsin, StartingBlock Madison seeks to launch early-stage companies by creating a home base for innovation entrepreneurs. Resources provided include affordable and flexible workspace, speakers on relevant topics, introduction to the startup scene, mentorships, and refining sales and marketing messages.
StartingBlock also helps fledgling companies grow by assisting with finding talent through an onsite recruiter, matching students for internships and paid positions, connecting with professional advisors and mentors, and workshops on financing and operating a business. There are currently 20 companies, 7 partner organizations, and two venture capital funds involved with StartingBlock.
Innovation is further fostered by showcasing new ideas, collaboration with members of StartingBlock, connecting with investors and advisors, and working with experienced entrepreneurs to bring ideas to reality.
Last, StartingBlock seeks to cultivate a sense of giving back by encouraging supportive practices for employees and the community, staying in Madison once they are successful, and having a positive social conscience and impact.
Summing it all up, StartingBlock Madison’s vision statement is: Creating intersections that cultivate entrepreneurs, build innovative companies, and drive ideas into reality.
If you missed our meeting, you can watch the video here.