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BizStarts 4th Anniversary Party: 17 companies and Inspirational Entrepreneur Jalem Getz help mark four years of progress

BizStarts 4th Anniversary Party: 17 companies and Inspirational Entrepreneur Jalem Getz help mark four years of progress

BIZ125Can you believe it’s already been four years? BizStarts celebrated its 4th Anniversary with a party at the Zoofari Center on October 9. Jalem Getz, co-founder of BuySeasons and founder of recent (and rocketing), spoke to the audience of over 200 and
BIZ150earned our coveted George Dalton Inspirational Entrepreneur Award.

Attendees also were able to experience and learn about companies BizStarts is working with – or has helped launch – through our Venture Track program. Seventeen of those companies were on display, working on everything from software to clothing, from food to improved healthcare devices that make life easier.  

Get details on these companies at

How to grow a business with Ralph Lauren and Oprah as customers: meet Mario & Cathy Constantini of La Lune Collection November 8

MarioCathyOn Thursday, November 8 from 4-6pm, BizStarts will hold its quarterly Inspirational Entrepreneur & Networking Event at We Energies’ Auditorium, where attendees will be able to enjoyed networking and hear from entrepreneurs Mario & Cathy Constantini of the highly-acclaimed La Lune Collection. Mario Costantini, a native of Argentina, met his wife Catherine at Marquette University in 1977. Fresh out of Marquette and without any money, experience, or formal education in the field, Mario and Cathy launched a successful interior design firm named Mario Costantini Ltd. on Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Milwaukee. Soon after, the Costantinis launched the La Lune Collection, a rustic furniture manufacturing company. In 1986, at a time when manufacturing was beginning to move abroad, the Costantinis decided instead to move their business to an abandoned, turn-of-the-century factory in Riverwest, a declining and neglected neighborhood. Today, La Lune Collection is sold nationally through interior designers and architects via showrooms in major cities and is widely considered by
LaLune-Logothose in the design trade to be the consummate rustic furniture in the industry. La Lune’s clientele includes Disney, Ralph Lauren, Oprah Winfrey, and John McCain, to name just a few.  The company is also a favorite of environmentalists and is considered by many to be the most eco-friendly furniture made today. The Riverwest neighborhood, where La Lune is still located, has undergone tremendous urban renewal since the Costantinis moved their business there in 1986. The Constantinis have played a crucial role in the neighborhood’s revitalization, from co-founding the Holton Youth Center and the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center (MYAC) and numerous other programs. They remain active in those organizations, as well as First Stage Children’s Theater, Pearls for Teen Girls, Next Act Theatre, the Florentine Opera Company, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, and Saint Joan Antida High School.

Parking and appitizers are included with admission.  Get more information and register for the Inspirational Entrepreneur Event here!

BizStarts brings Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour to Milwaukee


The Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour, which brings together America’s top young entrepreneurs to spread the entrepreneurial mindset to their peers at a grassroots level at colleges nationwide, came to Milwaukee’s Alverno College on Friday, October 19. Speakers included Ryan Everson, who started Computer Doctors and was recently honored at the White House with Empact 100 for his business achievements; David Gardner, whose company launches include, a subsidiary of uBid, and ColorJar, a venture accelerator; and Bert Gervais, a dynamic spaker, author and entrepreneur
579107_10151444757096679_578690936_n. They were complemented by local entrepreneurs Kelly Fitzsimmons of HarQen and Greg Maier of VETransfer.

Over 100 students from colleges and universities attended various segments of the four-hour program. Thanks again to Alverno College for hosting, and to all students who attended!  Read more about the event in the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour Blog.

EDA approves one-year, $200,000 grant extension for BizStarts

BizStarts Milwaukee is pleased to announce a one-year, $200,000 extension of the Economic Development Association grant originally awarded in 2010. The money will allow BizStarts to continue its Venture Track program and expand efforts to help entrepreneurs start a wider variety of businesses, including those in the minority community and in economically distressed areas. Read coverage from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Business Journal of Greater Milwaukee, and BizTimes.

Startup Weekend on November 9-11 gives Entrepreneurs 54 hours to make things happen

Startup Weekend is coming to Milwaukee!  Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest c
StartupWeekend2012ommunity of passionate entrepreneurs with over 400 past events in 100 countries around the world in 2011.
All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.  

Marquette University will host Milwaukee’s Startup Weekend, which will run from Friday night, November 9 to Sunday night, November 11. (Just so you know, the Packers have a bye that weekend.) Get all the details and register to participate here!

Early Stage Symposium presents emerging companies November 13-14 in Madison

The annual Early Stage Symposium will take place in Madison at the gorgeous Monona Terrace Convention Center on November 13 & 14. Hosted by the Wisconsin Technology Council, the conference is open to a wide cross-section of early stage companies, including those in biotech, biofuels and products, “cleantech,” advanced manufacturing, information technology, nanotechnology and business services. There are two separate presentation levels at the Early Stage Symposium: The Wisconsin Angel Network Investors’ Track and the Elevator Pitch Olympics. BizStarts will be there, hosting a presentation track Tuesday morning. A number of BizStarts companies will also be there. Get more details and register here!

BizStarts’ (and the region’s) Impact Report

BizStarts-Impact-v05-31-13-1For both the region as a whole and for BizStarts-assisted companies – including those in our Venture Track Program – we maintain our Impact Report, which tracks start-ups, job growth, investment, and other metrics to show how our innovation economy is growing. Download the latest Impact Report here

Mark Your Calendars


October 30, 6:00pm-7:30pm: “The Vital Role of Women Entrepreneurs” Forum at Alverno College. Details

November 8, 8:00am-1:00pm: UEDA (Urban Economic Development Association) Summit: “Completing the Circuit: Electrifying the Job Market” Details at
November 8, 4:00pm-6:00pm: Inspirational Entrepreneur event at We Energies. Details
November 9-11: Startup Weekend Milwaukee.  A first-ever event in Milwaukee, providing a global network of passionate leaders and entrepreneurs on a mission to inspire, educate and empower individuals, teams, and communities.  Details
November 13-14: Early Stage Symposium, Monona Terrace Convention Center, Madison. More info

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