Wisconsin Department of Commerce Newsletter
June 2005
Network Works Together for Small-Business Success

Entrepreneurs now have increased access to resources needed to turn ideas into commercial successes. The Wisconsin Entrepreneurs' Network (WEN), which debuted June 1 is expected to assist more than 10,000 people and add $500 million to the state's economy the first year. WEN, part of Wisconsin Act 255, underlines Gov. Jim Doyle's commitment to entrepreneurship.

"WEN changes the way Wisconsin assists entrepreneurs," explains Erica Kauten, state director of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). "The University of Wisconsin-Extension is taking a leadership role in pulling this collaboration of partners together into what entrepreneurs will perceive and experience as a single, seamless resource. The WEN partners are joined together through a mutual intake, needs assessment and tracking process."

Wisconsin ranks low in new business formation and currently lacks mechanisms for identifying high-growth firms and opportunities. Studies indicate seven of every 100 adults in Wisconsin are engaged in trying to start a new firm, but only 25 percent make contact with an entrepreneurial support organization and 35 percent don't even know help is available.

WEN's four regional hubs and up to 50 intake centers throughout the state will provide easy access to information and resources. WEN streamlines the process of identifying marketable ideas from the state's universities, colleges and existing businesses.

The four key WEN partners are the UW-Extension, WiSys Technology Foundation, Wisconsin Technical College System and Agricultural Innovation Center.

The four newly appointed regional directors listed here will add high-end services of technology transfer and business development for those firms with the capacity and intent to really grow:

  • Pat Dillon, UW-Eau Claire
  • Ayla Annac, UW-Madison
  • David Linz, UW-Milwaukee
  • Kurt Waldhuetter, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, Green Bay

For more information, visit www.wenportal.org.

-- Leah Call

The newsletter is issued electronically every other month.

Please send comments or questions to Barbro McGinn, editor.

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