Wisconsin Department of Commerce Newsletter
April 2007
First Entrepreneurship Week USA in Wisconsin a Success

The future of business in the 21st century relies heavily on the success of entrepreneurs. On February 24-March 3, Wisconsin joined the first-ever coordinated national effort to promote the importance of entrepreneurism. The Department of Commerce (Commerce) held many important events for Entrepreneurship Week USA (E-ship Week USA) that took place throughout Wisconsin as well as the country to encourage and promote entrepreneurship.

Commerce Secretary Mary P. Burke delivered the opening remarks at the kick-off of an entrepreneurship summit in Kimberley. She also appeared on radio and television shows to discuss E-ship Week USA's importance to the general public.

Numerous events took place throughout the state to encourage the spread of entrepreneurism. Secretary Burke appeared on the show "For the Record" with Wisconsin entrepreneurs Craig Culver, Culver Franchising, Inc. founder; Troy Vosseller and Ben Fiechtner, Sconnie clothing line; Jordan Leahy, who operates a window washing business and owns a snowboarding clothing line; and Clare Weisbrook, a goat soap producer.

"It was great to get the chance to sit down and talk with Wisconsin entrepreneurs," said Secretary Burke. "I sincerely hope E-ship week USA encourages others around the state to pursue entrepreneurship."

Throughout the week, there were web casts that connected successful Wisconsin entrepreneurs with high school students around the state. Businesses involved with the web casts included: Erik Buell, Buell Motorcycle Company, East Troy; 2007 high school Young Entrepreneur of the Year award winners Tony Hernandez, snow plowing, Waukesha, and Kristin Bare, Sauk Prairie, agriculture production; and also Commerce Bureau Director of Entrepreneurship Pam Christenson. There were 20 high schools that participated in the web casts with Wisconsin entrepreneurs.

"The web casts were very beneficial in informing Wisconsin's youth about entrepreneurship. We received a lot of good comments back from schools, and the majority of teachers indicated they would use the web casts as part of their curriculum," said Small Business Ombudsman Carol Dunn who spearheaded the E-ship Week USA planning at Commerce, "Eric Buell answered a lot of important questions from the students."

Promoting entrepreneurship within Wisconsin is an important factor in increasing economic development. Not only did students benefit from statewide events, businesses and civic groups around the state gained from taking part and interacting with one another during E-ship Week USA.

"All in all, the events really created a lot of excitement in Wisconsin," said Dunn. "I think next year we'll begin planning the week earlier and work with other state agencies to hold events."

-- Casey Shorts

The newsletter is issued electronically every other month.

Please send comments or questions to Barbro McGinn, editor.

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