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Program dedicated to making a difference for minority and women entrepreneurs

December 12, 2013

UpStart, a new program designed to help aspiring minority and women entrepreneurs launch successful businesses, is being offered by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation in collaboration with the UW–Madison Small Business Development Center and area professionals with expertise in fields such as accounting, sales and marketing.

Image: UpStart logo

Combining a comprehensive curriculum with the convenience of evening classes, the WARF UpStart Program for Minority and Women’s Entrepreneurship will offer two 13-week sessions in 2014 with classes starting in early February and again in mid-September. The free program was piloted during fall 2013 with 15 participants and will accept up to 25 applicants for each session in 2014.

“WARF’s UpStart program is designed to be inclusive and we welcome participants from a variety of backgrounds and all walks of life,” says Zach Ellis, a WARF licensing associate and UpStart program manager. “One of the program’s strengths lies in the diverse business goals of our participants — we have people interested in technology startups, retail and service businesses and even nonprofits. What they share is a desire to put their classroom knowledge to use in a way that increases their likelihood of success.”

Image: Small Business Development Center logo

Developed by WARF, the program is taught by instructors from the Small Business Development Center and other local business professionals. The program connects aspiring entrepreneurs with campus and community resources as well as a group of like-minded peers.

The sessions open with a class intended to spur creative approaches to entrepreneurial opportunities. Subsequent classes cover topics ranging from legal and financial issues to market research, customer development, accounting and business plan basics.

The evening classes typically run from 6 to 8:30 p.m. and are held on the UW–Madison campus in the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery building and occasionally other sites. The locations offer convenient parking and bus access.

The deadline to apply for the first 2014 session is Dec. 31. For more information and to apply, visit the program’s Web page.