Accelerating entrepreneurship and innovation in Greater Green Bay | Champions of Innovation |

Chamber receives federal grant, launches startup hub and earns Excellence Award

The Greater Green Bay Chamber is making waves in the world of entrepreneurship and innovation with a series of exciting achievements. With support from the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE), part of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), the chamber has secured a federal grant totaling $467,500 through the Venture Challenge — Build to Scale program. This funding will enable the chamber to scale up its tech-based entrepreneurial ecosystem and provide additional support to startups in the region.

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“The Build Up program will allow for those more experienced in an industry to help foster the next generation of innovators,” said Laurie Radke, chamber president and CEO. “It will be exciting to see the momentum that will be created and how it will only enhance the entrepreneurial landscape of Greater Green Bay.

The chamber’s Startup Hub, which recently earned the chamber an Excellence in Economic Development Silver Award from the International Economic Development Council, will benefit from the grant. The Startup Hub, formerly known as the Advance Business and Manufacturing Center, underwent a rebranding and relaunch in 2019 to better align with its target market and increase community engagement. This transformation from a physical business incubator to a “virtual front door” for entrepreneurs has been a resounding success, with an occupancy rate for office space reaching a remarkable 107% thanks in part to a partnership with a local technical college.

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“This grant will enable the chamber to scale up our tech-based entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Laurie Radke, chamber president and CEO. “These dollars will complement the chamber’s existing entrepreneurial efforts, infusing even more businesses into the community and aiding in providing further support for those individuals looking to start a business.”

As part of the chamber’s efforts to further accelerate entrepreneurship in the region, the federal grant will also support the expansion of the startup accelerator services and the employment of an entrepreneur in residence. This experienced technology entrepreneur will provide invaluable guidance to startups, helping them navigate the challenges of entrepreneurship and build their dream businesses. Additionally, participating startups in the chamber’s Build Up program, a 10-week virtual tech accelerator program, will receive individualized coaching, access to industry leaders, and free shared space membership at The Urban Hub, a coworking space in downtown Green Bay, among other benefits. The goal is to plug startups into a strong network, accelerate their product development and help them build robust teams.

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“The addition of a focused entrepreneur in residence allows for entrepreneurs to learn first-hand from an experienced technology entrepreneur,” said Kelly Armstrong, vice president of economic development for the chamber. “This individual will help entrepreneurs understand the journey, the challenges they may encounter along the way, and provide the solutions and network to build their dream.”

The chamber’s efforts in entrepreneurship and innovation are truly collaborative, involving partnerships with local institutions such as UW-Green Bay. The chamber’s partnership with UW-Green Bay began with the WiSys Venture Home partnership and has continued to advance the ecosystem for innovation and entrepreneurship in Greater Green Bay. This was further exemplified by the recent unveiling of the UW-Green Bay building sign outside The Urban Hub, solidifying its presence in downtown Green Bay and its commitment to fostering entrepreneurship in the region.

The impact of these achievements is far-reaching and will undoubtedly benefit the Greater Green Bay community as a whole. By providing startups with access to support, capital and resources, the chamber is creating an environment where entrepreneurs can thrive and businesses can flourish. The chamber’s focus on the technology industry aligns with the growing demand for innovation in various sectors, and the expansion of the entrepreneurial ecosystem will foster economic growth and job creation in the region.

Source: Accelerating entrepreneurship and innovation in Greater Green Bay | Champions of Innovation |

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