From gmtoday.com: “A Delicious experience: Cedarburg baker to take part in entrepreneur challenge” — CEDARBURG – Baking has been a part of Jennifer Goldbeck’s professional life for more than seven years. This month, she is entering a new chapter in her foray into the kitchen as she takes part in a local entrepreneurial competition.
Goldbeck, who owns Delicately Delicious in Cedarburg, is one of six finalists in a competition known as the Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge. The event will be held at noon July 17, at Milwaukee Area Technical College’s downtown campus.
The entrepreneur challenge, modeled after some of the competitions that have been prevalent on such cable channels as the Food Network, is split into two categories – one for start-up innovations and another for people who are in the early stages of their products.
Goldbeck is one of three finalists in the start-up category. She is going to be showcasing a European vanilla buttercream frosting mix that she recently began selling at her Cedarburg store.
The grand-prize winner within the two category competitions will receive $2,000 in seed money toward his or her business, in addition to a service through MATC that is being described as a comprehensive entrepreneurial consultation package.
While Goldbeck is quick to admit she has her eyes on the prize, she said she is eagerly looking forward to meeting the judges and gathering any insight the various professionals might have. Eight food service veterans across the Milwaukee area will be judging the assorted entries.
“I’m excited to meet all of the people because everyone has such different experiences,” she said. “The time and expertise they will offer is very valuable.”
Goldbeck’s buttercream frosting mix has been a work in progress for about six months. In addition to refining the recipe, she fine-tuned the packing and the directions. Customer response, she said, has been positive.
“People are so much more food savvy today than they ever have been before,” she said. “There’s so much information out there, and people want something that’s quality and gourmet. There’s a craving for it.”
The upcoming challenge is one in a series of growth spurts for Delicately Delicious, which Goldbeck acquired in 2007 from a previous owner. For many years, the business sold only made-to-order cakes.
But Goldbeck decided to evolve the business three years ago, relocating from a commercial kitchen on Center Street to a retail storefront operation along Cedarburg’s bustling Washington Avenue corridor.
“It was good to perfect things,” Goldbeck said, in retrospect. All along, she said she aspired to morph Delicately Delicious into a retail bakery, but she believed the business could have failed if she made such a drastic change before making a series of tweaks.
In its retail iteration, Delicately Delicious features a variety of items that are sure to satisfy just about any person’s sweet tooth. She sells frosted single-layer cakes by the slice, but also showcases a range of cupcakes, cookies and other baked goods.
Early in 2013, Goldbeck expanded Delicately Delicious’ presence into the Bayshore Town Center. She operated a so-called pop-up kiosk shop for Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. The response was so strong that she decided a year ago to have a presence at the mall full-time.
Goldbeck said she has a number of other projects on the horizon. In fact, one of them – selling a mix of her popular kitchen sink cookies – has just come to fruition. In late June, she began selling the product at the Piggly Wiggly store in Cedarburg.
Retail is a sector Goldbeck has been eyeing, both in a brick-and-mortar and online sense. She aspires to have her products featured through such companies as Williams-Sonoma, since they reach the same target consumer.
For Goldbeck, baking and growing Delicately Delicious has been a labor of love. When asked why she chose to concoct sweet creations, she offered a ready response.
“I enjoy meeting people in the community,” she said. “What’s been great about this is I help people with their celebrations. I get to see the progression in people’s lives for things like weddings, babies and graduations.”
From gmtoday.com: “Learning to swim with the sharks” — WAUKESHA – It’s a common question asked of start-up owners: Will you go on “Shark Tank” someday?
The ABC show that puts an entrepreneur before four venture capitalists and gives them an opportunity to pitch their products to gain financing for growing or saving their businesses has gained a steadfast following among entrepreneurs and consumers alike.
While many tune in to the show for entertainment, there are lessons to be learned too, said Dan Steininger, co-founder of BizStarts Milwaukee, which works with entrepreneurs, service providers, capital connections and other resources to help launch and grow new companies.
BizStarts Milwaukee hosts investor forums, which Steininger called a friendly version of “Shark Tank.” Entrepreneurs can go before potential investors for about 15 minutes.
Steininger said “Shark Tank” educates viewers on how to get investors to fund their companies by providing insight into the typical questions an investor will ask, such as amount of sales, profit margins and money already invested in the company.
Before entrepreneurs participate in the investor forum, BizStarts Milwaukee provides training, so sometimes they are often more prepared than the contestants on “Shark Tank,” Steininger said.
Peter Rathmann incorporates episodes of “Shark Tank” and “Undercover Boss” in the Intro to Entrepreneurship class he teaches at Waukesha County Technical College. He also teaches marketing classes at WCTC and Carroll University, in addition to owning SalesTechnik, which helps Individuals, organizations and companies increase their opportunities and sales.
Rathmann said many students start the class with an idea of what they would like to do. Both the class and TV shows can help them think about creating a business structure and learning the vernacular.
The students also learn to promote their product in terms of knowing their sales, costs, how they make money, the hurdles the business has encountered, why their product is worth investing in and more.
For Intro to Entrepreneurship, the final presentation is conducted in a Shark Tank format, Rathmann said.
“It kind of gives it a simple form at the end of the day,” he said of “Shark Tank.”
Jon Anne Willow, entrepreneurship director for BizStarts Milwaukee, said entrepreneurs can learn from the strengths and weaknesses of “Shark Tank” contestants.
“When the best entrepreneurs pitch on those programs, they are prepared, they are not defensive, they are open to ideas and suggestions,” she said. “They have a strong vision for how they want their business to grow.”
When entrepreneurs pitch in front of BizStart Milwaukee’s investor forum, which consists of venture capitalists, banks and angel investors, they need to be prepared, but local investors are more apt to work with the owners.
“It’s important to remember they want you to succeed; they want your idea to be fantastic, but it’s their money and it’s their risk,” Willow said.
Tough lessons can also be learned from TV shows, Seininger said.
“You learn you just can’t have a dream,” he said.
Unless you have real customers paying for your product, Steininger said, you don’t have a business.
One of the upsides to shows like “Shark Tank” is making business seem exciting.
“It’s about creativity and innovation,” Steininger said. “It is rewarding people for not just doing the same thing.”
Gary Bredow, host and creator of “Start Up,” a show highlighting successful businesses that often began in someone’s kitchen or garage, asks questions of the owners that provide insight about how they found success.
Bredow said the main thing he has learned from doing the show is there is no formula for success – each person has his or her own path to it. While some say a business plan was not useful, for example, others swear by it.
One constant, Bredow said, is that successful entrepreneurs need to have “drive and determination or don’t bother.”
The notion is that being self-employed means you have a lot of free time, but that’s not the case at all, he said.
“You have to be a very independent spirit,” Bredow said.
These are some lessons he learned while filming at Newaukee, Iron Horse Motel and Gouda Girls in Milwaukee in season one. He is in the process of shooting for season two, which will bring him to Madison.
While the show has been airing on PBS, Bredow said “Start Up” has been picked up by The Create Channel, which will begin to re-air episodes from season one.
Bredow said he has heard from fans of the show who have been inspired, including one person who decided to start Prohibition tours of Chicago.
Learning how to valuate a company is also an important skill and one viewers of “Shark Tank” can see work against an entrepreneur who is not well prepared.
Russ Roberts, manager of the Small Business Center at WCTC, said the show has illustrated how valuing a business can be more “art than science.”
“The most important is preparation and being ready to answer questions confidently,” Roberts said of lessons learned from entrepreneurial TV shows.
Others positive effects from watching “Shark Tank” include anticipating the questions you’ll get and being prepared to answer them. The contestants on TV must also be able to think on their feet, to get to the point and answer the questions, Roberts said.
The investors on “Shark Tank” illustrate how many people are looking to invest in the entrepreneur and not just the product, by the comments they make and the way they determine whom they will invest with, Roberts said.
The impact of shows like “Shark Tank” is widespread.
“It’s rare that I find anyone who doesn’t know “Shark Tank,” Roberts said. “It has had impact.”
“My hope is that programs like “Shark Tank” and “Start Up” do spur interest in entrepreneurialism and do inspire people to get out there and start businesses of their own and follow their dreams,” said Willow.
March 13, 2014
From jsonline.com: “Electric trike entrepreneurs set off on an Odyssey” — A high school project that began with scrap steel and parts from a machine used to groom ski hills has morphed into an electric trike and a business.
The latest iteration of the three-wheel vehicle from Odyssey Trikes of Slinger has a top speed of 50 mph and a range of about 50 miles before it has to be recharged.
Odyssey Trikes is a fledgling business started by Dustin Herte, a Milwaukee School of Engineering graduate, and Ryan Bass, a Milwaukee Area Technical College student.
Herte and Bass were in high school when they built their first electric trike in 2009. It has since gone through many design changes to become a prototype that’s nearly ready for the marketplace.
Odyssey Trikes has launched a Kickstarter fundraising campaign meant to raise $25,000 by the end of the month. With Kickstarter, businesses seek money from the public to get projects underway.
Herte said the trike has the power and speed of an electric motorcycle, with the added benefit of a third wheel for more stability.
The trike has pedals so that legally it’s classified as a bicycle. In stock form, it has a top speed of about 20 mph, but the motor can be tweaked for faster speeds.
The trike will sell for about $6,000. Still in the development stage, Odyssey has landed only one sale through Kickstarter but is gearing up for additional business, including sales to police departments that could use the trikes for patrol work.
Herte says he and Bass will use their website to sell trikes.
“I am not worried as long as we get the foundation of the business established,” Herte said of taking the prototype trike to a product in the electric bike marketplace.
“I realize there’s a lot more that needs to be done that will cost a lot of money … but we are trying for no debt. We haven’t needed outside money yet,” he added.
“If we have all the parts lined up, we can generally assemble one trike per day. We know where to get the parts we can’t make, but we want more options — and we want to be able to produce even more of these parts ourselves,” Odyssey says on its website.
Power-assisted bicycles have been around for more than a century, but recent lithium battery-powered motors have increased running times and speeds. The electric bikes allow people who are not necessarily in good physical condition to commute to work, school or run errands in town. They’re cheap to operate and easy to ride.
Some of the three-wheel versions are capable of carrying hundreds of pounds of cargo in addition to the driver. In Europe, United Parcel Service is testing electric trikes for package deliveries. In Milwaukee, at least one restaurant is using them for food deliveries.
Some electric trikes, where the rider sits only inches from the ground, are capable of going from zero to 30 mph in a few seconds.
“They can be somewhat dangerous, since automobile drivers don’t quite know how to react,” said Craig Peterson, an electric bike enthusiast and the founder of Buffalo Water Beer Co. “They don’t know how to anticipate how fast these things go.”
Under Wisconsin law, electric bikes are limited to a top speed of 20 mph when operated with motor-only power. They are allowed to go faster when the rider pedals and the motor assists. They’re allowed on bike paths and city streets.
“As long as you are riding respectfully, like everything else in life, there shouldn’t be an issue,” said Henry Blum, an electric bike salesman at Len’s Electric Bikes, in Madison.
Trek Bicycles, based in Waterloo, has made electric bikes, including models with different operating modes that vary the motor assistance. As the rider pedals, the motor will adjust to achieve the most efficient electric assistance. The bike also has a manual throttle to get maximum motor speed.
One of Trek’s bikes uses regenerative braking to capture some of the energy lost during braking and put it back into the battery. On a long downhill ride, the pedal power will charge the battery even more, extending the bike’s range.
Electric trike manufacturer Outrider USA recently introduced a full-suspension trike aimed at people with physical disabilities, including limited muscular function. The trike can be configured many different ways, depending on the rider’s needs, and is built for all-terrain use.
“Nothing compares with being outside and getting some good miles behind you,” said Jesse Lee, a partner in Outrider, based in Fletcher, N.C.
February 19, 2014
From thenorthwestern.com: “FVTC E-Seed entrepreneurship program gains national attention” — Fox Valley Technical College’s Venture Center has taken a bit of its own advice when it comes to helping entrepreneurs get started.
The Venture Center’s E-Seed course has helped entrepreneurs like Josh Beck get the business training and support they needed to turn their ideas into viable, growing enterprises.
Beck, who founded his 3-D printing business Beck Prototypes in May, said E-Seed’s 12-week entrepreneurship course has already helped him plan for slow, measured growth and careful planning as he gets started.
“I’m starting nice and slow, I’m getting some customers now and I’m going through the motions. Now, it’s about time to start some marketing and start trying to generate more revenue,” Beck said. “I wouldn’t have done this without E-Seed. E-Seed gives you the tools and shows you the door, but you have to learn from what they show you and walk through those doors when the opportunity arises.”
In the 13-plus years since it was founded, the Venture Center’s entrepreneur-education programs like E-Seed and, its bigger sister, the Pro-Seed business-model development program for established businesses, have helped entrepreneurs start 320 businesses that presently employ between 1,500 and 2,000 people throughout Northeast Wisconsin.
The success of courses like E-Seed and Pro-Seed have also earned the Venture Center one of seven $20,000 grants from Sam’s Club and the National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship to help small, Main Street businesses reach the next level of sales.
Now, E-Seed itself has become the brand with an opportunity to grow and the Venture Center is the entrepreneur.
Amy Pietsch, the center’s director, said it has started to license the E-Seed curriculum and program to other community colleges, technical colleges and economic development agencies around the country as a way to foster more entrepreneurship and generate revenue for the center, which does not receive taxpayer dollars from FVTC.
Organizations can buy a license to offer the 12-week course to local business owners and entrepreneurs, but Pietsch said those groups are encouraged to share any improvements and innovations they make so as to improve the product.
“The one thing we knew about the entrepreneurship environment was we would be the little player in a big space. We had to be open to a lot of people coming back to us with ideas to make it better,” Pietsch said. “We do apply what we learn and teach here. We’re not making it up.”
The early response has been good. To date, FVTC spokesman Chris Jossart said, three community colleges in the Midwest and one entrepreneurial hub have already bought licenses to use E-Seed.
“It’s developed into such a proven product that’s simple yet personal,” Jossart said. “It’s always fresh, it’s always real and it makes very complex issues very simple.”
In addition, FVTC has reduced the cost of E-Seed by almost 50 percent, to $750, to make it more affordable for entrepreneurs to enroll.
Tina Schuelke said E-Seed has remained a key component in her small-business support network since she founded Change Management Communications Center last year. The training she got through E-Seed and the support of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh’s Small Business Development Center recently helped her win a $5,000 prize in the Northeast Wisconsin Business Plan Competition.
“Once I got started with E-Seed, I realized all my attempts at business plans — and I thought I had a good one going into it — were weak. This gave me a really strong start,” Schuelke said. “This is my first business launch. Now that I have those courses as a foundation, I’m already thinking about other businesses I want to start or become a part of.”
August 19, 2013
From ashlandwi.com: “Innovative business ideas reward at tech conference” — The recent 2013 Lake Superior Business and Technology Conference – Growing Superior Ideas in the North held at the Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College in Ashland, provided an opportunity for the area’s budding entrepreneurs and want-to-be entrepreneurs to share their business ideas. Several creative and innovative business ideas were pitched. These included: a musical production light system, financial information app for investors, modular product design service, superior artesian water business, passive house certified windows and doors, process to reduce paper drying energy use, multifunctional observation tower and a veteran’s radio news brief.
Molly Lahr, Director of the Wisconsin Innovation Network of the Wisconsin Technology Council based in Madison, moderated the presentations. A panel of seven judges with expertise in business and economic development listened to the timed, two-minute business idea presentations from the contestants and then provided their critiques.
Following their critiques, the judges rated each business idea presentation on a scale from one to five. Eight business idea contest finalists were competing for $5,500 in prize money to be used to help advance their business idea. The first place prize was $2,500, second place prize was $1,500 and third place received $1,000.
In addition, a $250 prize was available to the business idea judged to be the “greenest” by a representative of the local Alliance for Sustainability. The conference attendees also had a chance to vote for their favorite business idea, with the top vote getter receiving a $250 prize.
The conference and business idea contest were sponsored and planned by the Lake Superior Region Wisconsin Innovation Network Chapter. The chapter’s goal was to help foster and encourage the development of entrepreneurial activity in an area of the state that has lagged behind economically as compared to many other areas.
The business idea contest and its prize money was intended to serve as a catalyst and incentive for persons to come up with business ideas, and provide some seed money to help them move their ideas forward.
Winning the contest’s first place $2,500 prize was the Passive House Certified Windows and Doors idea presented by Dane Gleeson from H Windows in Ashland. His company hopes to become the first such firm in the United States to manufacture these super energy efficient products. The second place $1,500 prize was awarded for The Veteran’s Radio News Brief that was presented by Mark Snow of Superior. Mark had been one of the finalists in the inaugural 2012 Business Idea Contest.
Due to a tie vote from the judges, the $1,000 third place prize was split $500 each for EKCO LLC Technology’s paper drying energy saving process presented by John Klungness and the Multifunctional Observation Tower idea developed by Mirka Nelson.
The $250 “green” business idea award was presented by Ted May from the Alliance for Sustainability to the first place winner Dane Gleeson for his Passive House Certified Windows and Doors. The audience choice $250 prize winner for the best idea was awarded to Bruce Bowers for his Musical Production Light System.
Dave Vedder, President of the Lake Superior Region Wisconsin Innovation Network Chapter, thanked the attendees and said he looked forward to next year’s conference and Business Idea Contest.
From jsonline.com: “MATC to expand entrepreneurship center with grant from Helen Bader Foundation” — The Milwaukee Area Technical College Foundation has received a $50,000 grant from the Helen Bader Foundation to expand the college’s entrepreneurship center.
The entrepreneurship center opened in April 2012 when MATC launched an entrepreneurship technical diploma. More than 100 students, many of whom are already self-employed, have received mentoring and support from the center, said Armen Hadjinian, the MATC faculty member who is adviser to the center.
The grant will allow the school to expand the center and support scholarships for students who complete a service learning project.
June 26, 2013
From wisbusiness.com: “Original food biz concepts feature natural, Wisconsin ingredients” — Finalists of this year’s Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge have something in common – they all incorporate Wisconsin-made ingredients. This challenge to find Wisconsin’s next great food entrepreneur is sponsored by Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC), Reliable Water Services a local provider of commercial water heaters, boilers and water softeners and FaB Milwaukee, an industry network for the food and beverage cluster of SE Wisconsin.
Aspiring chefs and home cooks entered by submitting a short application and photo of their concept. Finalists were selected based on the originality and viability of their concept and appearance based on an initial photo. Three finalists include:
• Andrew Bechaud– Milwaukee, Wis. – Bechaud Elixing Co., a line of handcrafted small batch beverages made with Wisconsin agricultural ingredients. Tempting flavors include Chocolate Chai Veloute and Spring Blossom Cherry Soda. His dream is to start a small production facility and sell to local upscale grocers such as Sendik’s or Whole Foods.
• Pete Cooney –Milwaukee, Wis. – Pete’s Pops – Handcrafted Ice Pops, a frozen treat made with fresh fruits and natural sugars in flavors like Strawberry Basil and Pineapple Jalapeno. Cooney wants to produce through a commercial kitchen, start selling via a push cart at local events and ultimately distribute through area grocers.
• Marcus Thie –Shorewood, Wis. –Sauceformations, a line of gluten-free and Paleo-diet friendly organic sauces for home chefs including Tomato Choka, a recipe from Trinidad packed with flavor and nutrients. He wants to launch StreetBeet, a food truck where he can promote locally grown food and showcase organic recipes featuring his sauce line.
Finalists will compete for the grand prize in a Food Network-style judging event at MATC’s student-run restaurant Cuisine located at 1015 N. 6th St on the MATC campus on Wednesday, July 31th at 3 p.m.
The grand prize winner will receive $2,500 in seed money from Reliable Water Services; a comprehensive entrepreneurial consultation package from MATC; $500 of professional cookware from Boelter Superstore and a two-hour private meeting with food industry executives serving on FaB Milwaukee’s Advisory Council. Judges for the contest include:
• Jan Kelly, owner and chef, Meritage restaurant, Milwaukee
• Angela West, co-founder/publisher, Alcoholmanac Magazine, Milwaukee
• Betsy Gilmore, general manager, Bel Air Cantina/Wauwatosa
• Jack Kaestner, chef instructor for Milwaukee Area Technical College
• Lynn Sbonik, co-owner of Beans & Barley Deli, Market & Full Service Café
• Eric Olesen, owner and president, O&H Danish Bakery of Racine
• Peter Gottsacker, president of Wixon, a manufacturer of seasonings, flavors, and technologies for the food, beverage, and meat industry.
“We were impressed with the level of creativity and passion of the many entries we received,” said contest judge Eric Olesen, owner and president of O &H Danish Bakery and council co-chair for FaB Milwaukee. “Our three finalists stood out as having concepts that would not only be delicious but also marketable in our community.”