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Milwaukee To “Scale-Up” Local High Growth Ventures Using OPEN For Enterprise Model Commissioned By American Express OPEN

Today, the Greater Milwaukee Committee (GMC), a coalition of the region’s business, labor, academic, philanthropic, nonprofit and civic leadership, announced that Milwaukee will be the first community in the U.S. to develop an entrepreneurship program using a model developed by Daniel Isenberg, founding executive director of the Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Projects. The initiative is backed by Governor Scott Walker and Mayor Tom Barrett as part of a bipartisan effort to grow the economy by stimulating high-growth ventures and encouraging job creation.

OPEN for Enterprise: Coalitions for High-Growth Entrepreneurship is designed to help high potential urban communities connect a diverse group of stakeholders, including city planners, private investors, academics, entrepreneurs and public officials, to help maximize the social and economic value of the community’s entrepreneurship ecosystem. Merging their collective expertise, the coalition can help to develop community programs that identify new ways to stimulate, support and “scale up” new and existing ventures.

Milwaukee, with its strong focus on urban planning, engineering and a strategic priority to reclaim manufacturing excellence, is a natural choice for this initiative. Working closely with GMC, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Administration (WHEDA) and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM), the Coalition will produce an actionable blueprint for Milwaukee that can help lead to a measurable increase in growth driven start-ups and successful scale-ups.

The OPEN for Enterprise model is based on Isenberg’s work in testing and validating entrepreneurship ecosystems abroad, including successful programs in Colombia, Brazil and Denmark to foster policies, institutions and cultures that stimulate long-term economic growth, development and prosperity through programs and workshops. The same assets that exist in these countries are evident in Milwaukee, the first U.S. city to incubate Isenberg’s model.

“By nurturing an environment for scalable Wisconsin-based businesses, Greater Milwaukee Committee’s partnership with Daniel Isenberg and American Express OPEN will help to support the State’s pledge to bring 250,000 jobs to Wisconsin – one-third of which will come from Milwaukee,” said Governor Scott Walker.

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