20 Feb WARF’s UpStart program supports women and BIPOC entrepreneurs
Diverse boards and teams are known to collaborate more effectively and contribute to business success.
Every fall and winter for ten weeks, WARF’s UpStart Program trains cohorts of women and BIPOC entrepreneurs about every aspect of business ownership, from social media marketing to buying insurance to writing a business plan.
“UpStart’s focus is to elevate and strengthen Madison’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,” says program director Katie Rice. “It’s to everyone’s advantage to have resilient and diversely owned businesses.”
Participants receive six free months of business planning software, other funding opportunities, and ongoing access to resources and instructors.
“UpStart provides opportunities that are approachable, building confidence in individuals who didn’t necessarily view themselves as entrepreneurs or feel comfortable going into a bank and asking about small business loans,” says Rice.
Michelle Somes-Booher, director of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at UW–Madison, and her team create the UpStart curriculum, which is taught by SBDC staff and business community members.
“We have had UpStart grads go on to take our Entrepreneurial Training Program and other classes, and they have become SBDC consulting clients,” says Somes-Booher.