The Lubar Entrepreneurship Center (LEC) at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) is helping transform UWM’s role in the Milwaukee region, creating a focal point for education and programs that impact students, businesses, and our region’s economy. The Lubar Entrepreneurship Center (LEC) will be housed in a new 24,000 sq. ft. facility at the northwest corner of E. Kenwood Blvd and N. Maryland Avenue, along with the UWM Welcome Center. This prominent location sends a powerful message about the importance of entrepreneurship to UWM. The new facility will break ground in late 2018 and should be completed in early 2019!
We are deeply grateful to the Lubar family for their vision in creating the Lubar Entrepreneurship Center. They have been joined by other organizations and business leaders – including the Kelben Foundation, bringing the generous support of Ted and Mary Kellner as well as Jerry Jendusa, and UWM alum, Avi Shaked and wife Babs Waldman. Both the leadership of the UW-System as well as the students and faculty of UWM are committed to making this Center a transformative force for UWM and Milwaukee.
Through the Lubar Entrepreneurship Center, UWM engages the entire campus community to strengthen and expand entrepreneurship programs building on strong curriculum in the Lubar School of Business. These programs, stemming from the umbrella program, Ideas Challenge, engages both faculty and students from disciplines that include business, engineering, science, the arts, and humanities. In addition, UWM faculty benefit from new ways of identifying opportunities and promising research directions.
The new facility will provide space for: Co-Working and Collaboration – allowing students, business leaders and entrepreneurs to meet informally to share ideas; Flexible Instruction – providing a home for “Ideas Challenge Courses” that accommodate experiential learning; Innovation Labs and “Maker” Spaces – providing resources for students to prototype products and software; and Touchdown and Launch Space – providing a home for student entrepreneurs, faculty, community business partners and others to work on building new enterprises.
The Lubar Entrepreneurship Center is a resource for the community offering connections to UWM’s broad expertise as an R1 research intensive university. In addition to serving as a focal point for UWM entrepreneurship efforts, the Lubar Entrepreneurship Center is also a pillar for entrepreneurship in the Milwaukee community. The Center will draw on expertise from the region and foster key partnerships that will broaden UWM’s impact on our region.
Scale Up Milwaukee and the Scalerator program are fostering development of our economy and helping existing companies grow. The program is targeted at companies with $1 to $10 million in revenue and delivers focused content on finding customers, growing capacity and managing cash flow. The Lubar Entrepreneurship Center is exploring opportunities to integrate and house the Scalerator program and other aspects of the Scale Up effort working in conjunction with the Lubar School of Business, Executive Education.
BizStarts has selected the Lubar Entrepreneurship Center as the home for the Bizstarts Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame. In the past, BizStarts has recognized a variety of entrepreneurs for their achievements, and this new Hall of Fame will be housed in the new facility.
The Commons is a collaboration among 21 institutions including UWM. UWM students have participated in all of the sessions with the Commons, and they benefit from the broader and growing entrepreneurship community. Teams from the Commons have entered the UWM I-Corps program to refine their business plans, and other UWM students who have worked in the Commons have gone on to leverage UWM programs including the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization (CEO) Elevator Pitch competition and national conference.
WERCBench and the Lubar Entrepreneurship Center partnered in the Fall of 2016 to deliver I-Corp curriculum in Lean Launch and customer discovery as part of the Midwest Energy Research Consortium (MWERC) WERCBench Accelerator program. The organizations collaborated on the design of the program, and UWM instructors led the teams through the customer discovery process employing the I-Corps methodology.
Shorewood Schools and the Lubar Entrepreneurship Center teamed up last year deliver Pop-Up Classes in design thinking and business model canvas. This year the Center provided a train-the-trainer workshop to Shorewood School District teachers in design thinking. We continue to expand this partnership and work with Shorewood to develop innovative programming.
School District of New Berlin and the Lubar Entrepreneurship Center have partnered to create a new entrepreneurship course that that is being offered in the Spring of 2017. This class is modeled on the Innovation and Commercialization Class (an Ideas Challenge Course taught in the UWM College of Engineering and Applied Science). UWM was integral in developing the curriculum and delivers several content modules as part of the course. Students who complete the class can receive UWM credit when they enroll.
The gBETA Milwaukee program is a nationally ranked startup accelerator gener8tor. gBETA is a free, seven-week accelerator for early-stage companies with local roots. The program provides access to a community of entrepreneurs, a formal relationship with at least 2-3 mentors, and introductions to the gener8tor network of successful entrepreneurs, angel investors, venture capitalists and technologists.