Jan 19, 2019

Our first presenter of the year was Eric Weinberger, a programmer who recently moved to the Eau Claire area. His business is a program that helps large hospitals manage their employee's training to help reduce medical error. Make sure to come in next week to hear from Minnesota-based portfolio entreprenuer talk about one of his companies Municipal Parking Services 

Jan 19, 2019

Our first presenter of the year was Eric Weinberger, a programmer who recently moved to the Eau Claire area. His business is a program that helps large hospitals manage their employee's training to help reduce medical error. Make sure to come in next week to hear from Minnesota-based portfolio entreprenuer talk about one of his companies Municipal Parking Services 

Dec 11, 2018

Last week Bridget McManamon speak to us about her Organization Herstory. Which is an organization based out of Moorhead Minnesota. She spoke to us about the journey of starting Herstory, which is helping increase the availability of feminine hygiene products in schools and businesses.  Make sure to come to 1 Million Cups this week as it is the final session before the new year, there will be presenters from previous weeks doing an end of year check-in about their businesses.

Nov 11, 2018

This week was Startup Eau Claire Week, throughout the week we had eleven different Entrepreneurial events around the community. Statewide there were over two hundred events, making Startup Wisconsin Week the largest entrepreneurial event in the state! Ranging from our Swim With the Sharks business pitch competition, to learning about marketing mistakes from a local expert the week was a lot of fun and very informative. If you were at any of the events, make sure to share your experience on your social media outlets and spread the word!

BY Cole Caldwell
Oct 17, 2018

Today we hosted the winners of this weekend's Startup48 entrepreneurial contest, BuildABio! Their website assists young professionals in writing their career biography for LinkedIn, and other business networking apps. They do this by having a program that forms sentences based on the user's response to ten questions that focus on their strengths, achievements, and education. The team qualified for the regional Big Idea Tournament, we wish them the best of luck in their competition and future endeavors!

1MC Will Welcome Casual Panache, Inc.

BY Nils Mowlem
Sep 05, 2018

1 Million Cups is moving back to Chippewa Valley Technical College on September 12. The first presentation will be given by Kimberly Nimsgern of Causual Panache, Inc. Casual Panache, Inc. is a privately held, woman-owned business located in Menomonie, WI. that features three product lines. These products are all about creating a WOW factor while being simple and affordable.


1 Million Cups is every Wednesday from 9:00am-10:00am at Chippewa Valley Technical College.

A Startup Helping Startups

BY Nils Mowlem
Aug 16, 2018

Danielle Campeau gave the 1 Million Cups audience an update on the St. Croix Valley Business Innovation Center. The new business incubator began as an idea the first time it was presented one year ago at 1MC to now a fully completed building with over 38% occupancy at the start. The state-of-the-art center provides clients with incubation space and training for their startups. Future plans include hiring individuals for an advisory board and reaching out to local entrepreneurs in the St. Croix region.

1MC Welcomes Overeater, LLC

BY Nils Mowlem
Aug 02, 2018

Daniel Ekblad explained to the 1 Million Cups Audience how difficult it is to lose weight and actually keep the weight off. Daniel's wellness coaching does not emphasize diets due to their short and usually ineffective lifespan, rather, he takes time to understand his clients' needs and develops a custom eating and exercising plan specific to the person. Daniel has worked with former contestants from The Biggest Loser and other clients around the U.S. and Canada.


Find out more on their website at 

Cabin Coffee Company!

BY Nils Mowlem
May 12, 2018

Kelly Gribowski and her husband presented at 1 Million Cups about the new family-friendly coffee shop to arrive in River Prairie, Cabin Coffee Co. Franchise owner, Brad Barber, who was also present, created Cabin Coffee Co. with his wife Angie to give people a delightful cabin-like coffeehouse experience with their statement, "Just be happy... and have fun". The River Prairie location is set to open very soon. Try their signature White Coffee Frappe!

1MC Welcomes Blue Boxer Arts

BY Nils Mowlem
Apr 30, 2018

Jamie Kyser and Erin Klaus presented to the 1 Million Cups audience about their second venture, Blue Boxer Arts. Blue Boxer Arts serves as a complimentary business to Tangled Up In Hue specializing in bead work, quality yarns, art classes, and a better gallery space for local artists to showcase their work. Blue Boxer Arts and Tangled Up In Hue can be found in the heart of downtown on Barstow Street.

Revisiting Mine The Bird

BY Nils Mowlem
Apr 23, 2018

Mark Daigle returned to the 1 Million Cups stage to update the audience on his prospective business, Mine The Bird. Pivoting with a new logo and more defined target market, Mark plans to utilize blockchain technology to help smaller communities become digitally connected. Mine The Bird is a patent-pending idea where cryptocurrency would be dispersed throughout a community and could be picked up via smartphones. Mark's venture is capitalizing on a new technology that could have significant implications in the near future.

Wotso Videos at Big Idea

BY Nils Mowlem
Apr 18, 2018

Isaac Carlson will represent UW-Eau Claire in the Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament this weekend. We are looking forward to having one of our prominent Blugolds represent the university with not only his business idea, but also his personal brand! He will be presenting Wotso Videos, a YouTube channel he created that explores the world of Disney. Isaac has over 250,000 subscribers to date.

Craving Monopoly

BY Nils Mowlem
Apr 16, 2018

A large 1MC audience heard from a university student wanting to put Eau Claire on a monopoly board and a local entrepreneur who's healthy lifestyle business is expanding to three more locations. Bradley Johnson of UWEC shared his group's idea to create an Eau Claire monopoly board where notable businesses from the area would donate to have their spot on the board.

Dakota Yarrington is the owner of Crave 80/20, a nutritional shake hub that doubles as a wellness center with fitness coaching. They're located on 305. S. Barstow St. and plan on expanding to three more locations in the Eau Claire Area.

Celebrating 1 Year!

BY Nils Mowlem
Apr 08, 2018

1MC celebrated its 1-year anniversary with two presentations about the Pablo Center and Eats, Treats, and Beats. The audience witnessed inside pictures of the new downtown arts center and enjoyed a cake looking like it came right out of Cake Boss! Elaine Coughlin explained the floor plans of the Pablo Center along with its many theaters and student features. Ervin Tuschel is a local baker that combines his love for cakes with his love for being a DJ to create Eats, Treats, and Beats.


There will be another exciting 1MC happening April 11th with two new presentations!

Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament

BY Nils Mowlem
Apr 02, 2018

On April 21st, the annual Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament will showcase entrepreneurial ideas from UW students. Students submit a video about their idea in a chance to enter in a competition granting them access to mentorship from accomplished entrepreneurs and some cash prizes! Learn lean startup skills and support your fellow students in an engaging experience filled with surprises! 

1MC Welcomes The Pablo Center

BY Nils Mowlem
Mar 12, 2018

Come this April 4th, 1 Million Cups Eau Claire will celebrate its 1 year anniversary with a presentation from Elaine Coughlin about the Pablo Center at the Confluence. Eau Claire's Confluence Project consists of new state-of-the-art development including Haymarket Landing, a public plaza, and The Pablo Center. The center will serve as a large performance venue as well as rehearsal/teaching space for UWEC's theater program.

Social Change & Gaming Trucks

BY Nils Mowlem
Mar 05, 2018

1 Million Cups live streamed Kansas City and heard from two presenters. The first business was a social entrepreneur who is currently building a facility providing readily available maternal care aimed towards minority communities. The second business was Local Legends Gaming, a mobile gaming theater that wasnts to recultivate communal gaming and offers services for private parties for an exciting gaming experience.


1 Million Cups will be taking the month of March off to accomodate travel/vacation time for many people. We will see you again in April for our 1 year anniversary!

I love Wisconsin

BY Nils Mowlem
Feb 15, 2018

This week, 1 MC decided to live stream another presenter from Madison's own 1 MC. Two media-makers created Love Wisconsin, a social entrepreneurial platform that shares stories of the diverse lives here in Wisconsin. Love Wisconsin has obtained a large following on many social media outlets with much planned expansion. Learn more on their website at


1 Million Cups is every Wednesday from 9:00am-10:00am at Chippewa Valley Technical College.

1 Million Cups Nationwide

BY Nils Mowlem
Feb 13, 2018

1 Million Cups decided to show two presentations from past years and different cities. First up, from Madison WI, was Mixology Monthly, a subscription-based business where customers receive a box with the proper ingredients to make unique cocktails, perfect for busy parents. Next, from Kansas City, was Axe Handler, a pocket-sized support stand to rest your guitar on any surface. With its patented design and multifunctional capabilities, Axe Handler has seen tremendous growth.


1 Million Cups is every Wednesday from 9:00am-10:00am at Chippewa Valley Technical College.

Building Eau Claire's Food History

BY Nils Mowlem
Jan 19, 2018

Three Foodies LLC presented at 1 Million Cups with ambitions to start the Eau Claire Food & History Tour. Three Foodies LLC are the winners of the 2017 Idea Challenge with a concentrated market surrounding revitalized downtown Eau Claire. The food tours, which are professionally guided tours of the local food and beverage scene and may include hands-on workshops, are expected to begin in May 2018. 


1 Million Cups is every Wednesday from 9:00am-10:00am at Chippewa Valley Technical College. Come next week for another exciting presentation!

1 MC Will Welcome Fitceo Inc.

BY Nils Mowlem
Jan 05, 2018

On January 10, Cece Ketchum will be presenting her modern lifestyle travel bag line to the 1 Million Cups audience. Cece's travel bag is geared towards the business professional who is also active. Her product features multifunctional compartments for business luggage and fitness gear along with a sleek design. 


1 Million Cups is every Wednesday 9:00am-10:00am at Chippewa Valley Technical College.

The Affogato

BY Nils Mowlem
Dec 04, 2017

Leah Pronschinske, a recent UWEC graduate, is the owner of The Affogato, an organic bakery which caters baked goods and desserts. Leah is not your typical baker; she goes to great lengths in assuring her products are orgainic and healthy. All her products are made from scratch including her powdered sugar which she grinds herself and her natural food coloring that she extracts from fruits and vegetables. The Affagato is more than just organic baked goods, it details Leah's ethic for healthy living that she hopes to spread to everyone.

Social Entrepreneurship

BY Nils Mowlem
Nov 18, 2017

Tea Rozman-Clark returned to UWEC to be our guest speaker for this year's Entrepreneur Week. Originally from Slovenia, Tea's passion for giving immigrants a chance to share their story led to the creation of Green Card Voices, a web-based platform that showcases the lives of immigrants here in the U.S.. Green Card Voices is a social enterprise that is very mission-based yet applies common business practices to grow the organization. Green Card Voices has now one the largest libraries of immigrant stories in the country. Learn more at

Swim With The Sharks

BY Nils Mowlem
Nov 13, 2017

UWEC's annual Swim With The Sharks event gave students the opportunity to pitch their business ideas in front of our shark investors. We heard nine unique presentations that includd animation studios, smart refridgerators, new apps, mentoring services, and blockchain technology. 

Isaac Carlson is this year's winner with Shiny Rocket Studios and runner-up Sophie Jacobsen with her mobile app, "Clink." The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well with our students and a big congratulations to everyone who participated.

FishDonkey With Grace and Gold

BY Nils Mowlem
Nov 09, 2017

1 Million Cups heard from Darren Amundson from FishDonkey and Kelly Zugay from With Grace and Gold. FishDonkey is a new mobile app for you to host your own fishing tournaments without. The app is designed in a way to monitor fish that is caught and measures them by length rather than weight to prevent cheating. 

With Grace and Gold inspires women entreprenuers through purposeful branding, web design, and education. Their customer-base continues to spread from Eau Claire to Minneapolis and other parts of eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin. 

Mentors and Shiny Rockets

BY Nils Mowlem
Nov 06, 2017

The 1 Million Cups audience heard two presentations from young aspiring entrepreneurs. Cole Rajek shared his idea of starting Mentorwide, an online platform for business mentors to connect with entrepreneurs. Isaac, Ben, and Eddie presented Shiny Rocket Studios, an animation studio ready to capitalize on the young growing audience who watch their shows on YouTube and not television. All presenters have developed these ideas from Startup 48, which shows the impact of Eau Claire's entreprenurial spirit.

48 Hours of Hard Work

BY Nils Mowlem
Oct 26, 2017

Eau Claire's third annual Startup 48 event at Jamf had its largest turnout by far. Over 40 participants worked in seven teams to take a business idea and turn it into a minimum viable product within two days. This years winner was "TOT Lunchbox," a hot food delivery service catering primarily to office workers who don't want to eat out of a vending machine all the time.


Other teams worked on business ideas that included a restaurant, web apps, music, studio animation, and mentoring services. All participants were given access to the knowledge and expertise of mentors who are accomplished entrepreneurs. We can't wait to see what next year's ideas will be!

Adam Shilts Encourages Entrepreneurs

BY Nils Mowlem
Oct 24, 2017

Adam Shilts from Black Collar Innovations LLC returns to 1 Million Cups with intentions to motivate younger aspiring entrepreneurs. Adam embodies the entrepreneurial drive from his history of startups and his continous vigor for new ideas. His newest project is called GifSkin, the world's first wireless and interactive adhesive microfilm that tattoo enthusiasts can customize wirelessly using a mobile app. Learn more at


1 Million Cups is every Wednesday from 9:00am-10:00am at Chippewa Valley Technical College

Revisiting Melnaturel

BY Nils Mowlem
Oct 13, 2017

Melissa Wilson returned to the 1 Million Cups stage to share how her business has grown since we last saw her. Melissa's brand is becoming more widespread across the country while keeping her products hand-made in Eau Claire with all natural ingredients. Melissa has attended more trade shows and is expanding her product line.


1 Million Cups is every Wednesday at 9:00AM at Chippewa Valley Technical College. Come explore what entrepreneurs are doing in the Chippewa Valley!

Startup 48!

BY Nils Mowlem
Oct 09, 2017

Startup 48, the entrepreneurial weekend-event, is back through October 20-22 at Jamf. This event attracts entrepreneurs and like-minded people from across the region to witness an idea become a viable business model within 48 hours. The weekend includes access to startup mentors who will coach participants, making connections with industry leaders, access to community resources, and experience on how to start a business. Come witness Eau Claire's entrepreneurial scene blossom!  

Revisiting Summer Snow

BY Nils Mowlem
Oct 06, 2017

Mitch Sletner returned to the 1 Million Cups stage to update his business with the audience. Mitch is now officially the franchise owner of Summer Snow, a year-round shaved ice company, which has just completed its first season. Sales revenue has exceeded $54,000 last year with about a 130% increase in profits from the previous year. Summer Snow hopes to expand its operation into neighboring towns such as Chippewa and Altoona with more franchisees in the near future.


1 Million Cups is held every Wednesday from 9:00am-10:00am at Chippewa Valley Technical College. 

The Magic of Disney

BY Nils Mowlem
Oct 02, 2017

UWEC student Isaac Carlson presented to the 1 Million Cups audience about his YouTube channel, Wotso Videos. Isaac combines his passions for video making and classic Disney to create fun topics for fun people. With nearly 150,000 subscribers and over 30 million views, Wotso videos analyzes deeper meanings and film theories of classic Disney movies such as The Lion King, Lilo & Stitch, Atlantis, Cinderella, even new releases like Moana. His future plans include attending more YouTube conventions and collaborating with other YouTubers like himself.


1 Million Cups has a new venue for the Fall at Chippewa Valley Technical College every Wednesday at 9:00am-10:00am.

It's All About Beer!

BY Nils Mowlem
Aug 31, 2017

Will Glass from The Brewing Projekt presented to the 1 Million Cups audience about his craft beers. The Brewing Projekt specializes in craft IPAs with names like Skull Duggary, Dare Mighty Things, MidNight Oil, and their signature GunPowder. Will is moving his operation from their 3,000sqft facility at 3, 2000 N Oxford Ave to a new 32,000sqft in the near future. Legislators are taking on the cause of modernizing the laws that govern Wisconsin's brewerys, wineries, and distilleries called "Cheers Wisconsin"/LRB-3614 in which Will is heavily supportive.

1MC welcomes Circles of Change

BY Nils Mowlem
Aug 22, 2017

On August 23, Audrey Robinson will present Circles of Change to the 1 Million Cups audience. Circles of Change is a non-profit organization started just this month that brings together discussion groups who wish to tackle an issue facing their community and bring about positive change. Each group reviews courses of action and together create plans for implementation. Come show your support!

Finance & Painting

BY Nils Mowlem
Aug 11, 2017

Two different industries presented to the 1MC audience with Hannah Walsh representing Blue Sky Financial and Tyler Heath representing The Moving Company. Hannah presented Blue Sky as another division of Thrivent Financial to focus on divorce settlements. Hannah hopes to add an advanced level of expertise to handling the financial side of divorce settlements with her clients.


Tyler Heath, owner of The Moving Company, wants to diversify his moving/lawn care company with house painting. He is currently seeking out new employees who are not afraid to lift!


1 Million Cups is hel every Wednesday at 9:00am at Volume One

Underwear For A Cause

BY Nils Mowlem
Aug 04, 2017

Jennifer and Heather Patnode presented to 1MC about Pink Box Society. The two sisters wanted to make buying underwear for women easier. Each month, they ship you a new pair and with every purchase they donate a pair to another woman in need to use during her monthly cycle. Inspired by many years of missional work, the sisters wanted to give back to women in third-world countries and Pink Box Society is looking forward to changing the world one pair of underwear at a time.


1 Million Cups is held every Wednesday at 9:00am at Volume One. Who do you want to see present next?

Natural with Melnaturel

BY Nils Mowlem
Aug 01, 2017

Melissa Wilson presented Melnaturel to 1 Million Cups with her handmade products for everyday use. Melissa develops products such as lotions, serums, beaty products, even bug spray with natural ingredients and no harsh chemicals. She won the Red Letter Grant from Red's Mercantile in Eau Claire and is shipping products in over 15 states and counting. This is an imressive operation since all products are made in Melissa's basement. She plans to rebrand Melnaturel to expand her predominantly female demographic to males too.


Who do you want to see present at 1 Million Cups?

Delivering the Midwest

BY Nils Mowlem
Jul 19, 2017

Today at 1 Million Cups Steve Dye presented Delivery Bistro, a meal kit delivery service that emphasizes midwest-sourced ingredients. You pick a meal set-up from their website, they deliver it to your door, then you cook the ingredients at home. Simple! Steve wants to stay ahead of the competition by simpifying their subscription process and having aesthetic packaging.


1 Million Cups is held every Wednesday at 9:00am at Volume One. Come join us next week for our next presenter!

Ice Cream & Saving Lives

BY Nils Mowlem
Jul 13, 2017

Blayne Midthun of Ramone's Ice Cream Parlor and Jeff Dykes of Northern Star Fire LLC spoke to a packed 1MC audience which included kids from Blugold Beginnings. Blayne and his wife wanted to create a 1920s style ice cream parlor named after Blayne's father Ramone, who contributed greatly to the Eau Claire community. They hope to give their customers an ice cream experience only found in Eau Claire and nowhere else. 


Jeff Dykes hopes his Northern Star Fire compass will revolutionize safety for firefighters around the world and is currently seeking a goal of $500,000 from investors.


These success stories continue to be an inspiration for Eau Claire natives and there's many more to come! 

1MC Welcomes Table

BY Nils Mowlem
Jun 28, 2017

Luke Katuin presented to the 1MC audience about Table, a mobile food ordering platform where deliveries are done by locals and not corporations. Within a few months of operation, Table has the 3rd highest amount of restaurant menus in the entire country and has delivery in over 20 states. Table is committed to transparency and being customer service centric to differeniate itself in the market.


NOTICE: There will be no 1 Million Cups next week on July 5, it will continue the following week. 1MC is held every Wednesday at Volume One at 9:00am. Who do you want to see present?

No More Fad Diets

BY Nils Mowlem
Jun 22, 2017

Dan Beck received advice from the 1MC crowd on how to expand his business Midwest Meals. Such ideas included capitalizing on the local community aspect of his business, create subscriptions through his website, inform customers what goes well with his food, and expanding his customer base to the larger fitness community. Dan hopes to move Midwest Meals out of Banbury Place and into another location soon.


1 Million Cups is held every Wednesday at 9:00am at Volume One. We hope to see you at the next presentation!

1MC Welcomes Midwest Meals

BY Nils Mowlem
Jun 20, 2017

The 1 Million Cups audience will hear from Daniel Beck and his meal prep business Midwest Meals on June 21. Midwest Meals believes providing affordable food to health and fitness enthusiasts should be about consistency, hard work, and having goals instead of fad diets and gimmick supplements.


1 Million Cups is every Wednesday at 9:00am at Volume One. Who do you want to see present next week?

Awards For Eau Claire!

BY Nils Mowlem
Jun 14, 2017

Last week, Jeff Dykes of Northern Star Fire Corporation in Eau Claire won the Governor's Business Plan Contest at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Conference in Madison. Northern Star Fire created a compass that imbeds on a firefighter's face mask to determine which direction they're facing in low-visibility environments. This product is designed for added safety to firefighters.


Business in Eau Claire has been gaining more recognition with two major recent awards: Jeff Dykes winning the Governor's Business Contest and earlier with Zach Halmstad receiving the "Seize the Day" award. 

Innovating YouTube

BY Nils Mowlem
Jun 09, 2017

Fru Nde from Threelly received excellent advice from the 1 Million Cups crowd on how to develop his innovative site for YouTube. The audience recommended creating incentives for new curators and introducing this concept to teachers and professors to save time in the classroom. Fru's long drive from Minnesota was rewarded with an enhanced vision for his business and an understanding of the next step to take.


1Million Cups is held at 9:00am every Wednesday at Volume One. Who do you want to see present next week?

1MC Welcomes Threelly

BY Nils Mowlem
Jun 06, 2017

The 1MC audience will hear from Fru Nde on June 7th about Threelly, a new platform that allows content creators and curators to slice lengthy YouTube videos into meaningful pieces easy for consumption. Much like how books have a table of content, Threelly is brining that table of content to YouTube videos. 


ANOTHER REMINDER: 1MC has changed venues from the Local Lounge to the Volume One Local Store. 1MC is held every Wednesday at 9:00am. Be there tomorrow for amazing community and great coffee!

A New Business Incubator With Results

BY Nils Mowlem
May 31, 2017

Dale Jorgenson spoke to the 1 Million Cups audience today about the new business incubator plans happening in River Falls. Studies show only about 50% of new businesses survive past the 5-year mark, but the knowledge and mentoring expertise at this new facility projects a 75% success rate or more for starting businesses in over five Wisconsin counties.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: 1MC will officially change venues for the summer from the Local Lounge to the Volume One Local Store starting next week on June 7th at 9:00am. Do not come to the Local Lounge next Wednesday, it will be at Volume One.

1MC Welcomes St. Croix Valley Business Innovation

BY Nils Mowlem
May 31, 2017

The 1 Million Cups community will hear about the new mixed-business incubator opening January 2018 in River Falls, WI. The 31,000 sf facility project will provide networking, co-working, space for rent, as well as training and business mentoring.


1 Million Cups is held weekly at the Local Lounge at 9:00am. Come for the free coffee and listen to local entrepreneurs share their vision.

Reshaping Chiropractic

BY Nils Mowlem
May 24, 2017

Seeking a good networking opportunity, Matt Cyran presented to the 1 Million Cups audience today with his unique brand of mobile chiropractics. He sought advice from the community on how to market his business and to show how the experience of chiropractic invloves more than just back-adjustment. 


Who do you want to see present next at 1 Million Cups?

1MC Welcomes In Motion Chiropractic

BY Nils Mowlem
May 23, 2017

Dr. Matthew Cyran delivers all the quality expertise of chiropractic to the comfort of your own home. He believes in proactive healthcare that promotes adjusting, preventive care, and proper nutrition for an improved quality of life. He also makes informational podcasts which can be found on his website at 


1 Million Cups is held weekly at the Local Lounge on Wednesdays at 9:00am. Come for the amazing free coffee and stay for the 1 Million Cups experience!

Adding a New Element to Coffee

BY Jessica Wicklund
May 17, 2017

Katy Stevens, owner of N7 Cafe, spoke at 1 Million Cups this morning. With plans to ultimately open her own store, Katy sought advice on how to reach her target audience through local contacts. Although the N7 Cafe nitrogen-infused coffee isn't in stores, you can purchase it at The District Company. You can also purchase N7 Cafe cold brew at Festival Foods and Just Local Food.


Who would you like see present at 1 Million Cups?

1MC Welcomes N7 Café

BY Jessica Wicklund
May 16, 2017

Katy Stevens has tapped into one of the newest trends of drinking coffee: Nitro Pour Coffee. Cold brewed with filtered water for 12-24 hours and infused with nitrogen, N7 Café coffee produces a full bodied experience. Check out her website at N7 Café online, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.


1 Million Cups meetings are held weekly at the Local Lounge at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesdays. Come for the free coffee, stay for the 1MC experience.

Beacons and Bacon

BY Jessica Wicklund
May 11, 2017

Mark Daigle of Mine The Bird and Stephanie Schneider of Together Farms spoke at 1 Million Cups this past Wednesday. With two completely opposite industries, the 1MC audience was engaged and entertained. Not to mention energized, thanks to The French Press.


Are you curious about behind the scenes of 1 Million Cups? Get to know our organizers here.

1MC Welcomes Together Farms and Mine The Bird

BY Jessica Wicklund
May 08, 2017

With a goal of building relationships back into food, Stephanie Schneider of Together Farms will speak at 1 Million Cups on Wednesday, May 10. Together Farms is family owned and operated raising organic, non-GMO grass-fed beef & lamb, woodland pork and pastured poultry. Together Farms provides consumers with food that will recharge, nourish and renew you so you can focus on what matters most.




Mark Daigle of Mine The Bird will also speak on Wednesday morning. Mine The Bird provides startups, mid-sized and Fortune 500 companies throughout the Midwest with a global advantage in the Internet of Things (IoT). Mark’s vision is to put the technology his team has developed over the past decade to work in an ongoing stream of regional start-ups.


1 Million Cups meetings are held weekly at the Local Lounge at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesdays. Come for the free coffee, stay for the 1MC experience.

Blugold Roast Gets Advice from 1MC Community

BY Jessica Wicklund
May 03, 2017

Seeking advice and guidance, Nils Mowlem and Bradley Johnson of Blugold Roast spoke at 1 Million Cups this morning. The student-run business prides itself on selling and distributing tiny footprint coffee on the UW-Eau Claire campus, B2B and online. Blugold Roast aims to provide students with real life experience and leadership that can be transferred to the workplace.

Stay up to date with Blugold Roast on Facebook, Instagram or online.

1MC Welcomes Blugold Roast

BY Jessica Wicklund
May 02, 2017

1 Million Cups will welcome Nils Mowlem, one of the entrepreneurs behind Blugold Roast, tomorrow morning at the Local Lounge. Similarly to the 1 Million Cups audience, Blugold Roast is all about coffee. The student-run business is in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire College of Business.


1 Million Cups meetings are held weekly at the Local Lounge at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesdays. Come for the free coffee, stay for the 1MC experience.

Making Waves within the Chippewa Valley

BY Jessica Wicklund
Apr 26, 2017

This morning at the Local Lounge, Adam Shilts of Black Collar Innovations spoke to the 1 Million Cups audience about Wave Bar, an innovative exercise and rehab product. With a recent product launch on April 20, Adam plans to continue increasing awareness of the countless Wave Bar health benefits. To stay tuned, check in on Adam on Facebook or Instagram or online.


Are you or someone you know interested in presenting? Apply here.

1MC Welcomes Black Collar Innovations

BY Jessica Wicklund
Apr 25, 2017

Adam Shilts of Black Collar Innovations will be speaking at 1 Million Cups this upcoming Wednesday. Runner-up for the Chippewa Valley Idea Challenge, the Wave Bar is a unique tool that can be utilized by a wide demographic to help improve core strength and stimulate underutilized stability muscles.

1 Million Cups meetings are held weekly at the Local Lounge at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesdays. Come for the free coffee, stay for the 1MC experience.

Jump-Starting Your Business

BY Jessica Wicklund
Apr 21, 2017

Are you interested in starting up your own business in Downtown Eau Claire? For the 13th year, Downtown Eau Claire, Inc. (DECI) is hosting the Annual Jump-Start Downtown Business Competition. Over the past 12 years, $70,000 has been awarded to Downtown Eau Claire businesses. To enter, visit Downtown Eau Claire online. Applications are due September 1, 2017.

Eau Claire’s Year-Round Snow

BY Jessica Wicklund
Apr 19, 2017

First-time presenter and Summer Snow owner Mitch Sletner spoke to the 1 Million Cups audience this morning at the Local Lounge. Data driven, Mitch plans to franchise his business with the assistance of the Eau Claire community. To stay updated with Summer Snow, stop in to the Clairemont location, over Facebook or visit online.


Who do you think will present next week?

1MC Welcomes Summer Snow

BY Jessica Wicklund
Apr 17, 2017

Eau Claire natives know summer is near when conversations begin to revolve around Summer Snow. Mitch Sletner will speak to the 1MC audience about the seasonal shaved ice franchise that specializes in mobile restaurants and catering solutions. Summer Snow is located in the parking lot near Holiday, off the intersection of East Clairemont Avenue and Fairfax Street.


1 Million Cups meetings are held weekly at the Local Lounge at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesdays. Come for the free coffee, stay for the 1MC experience.

Lean, Keen and Evergreen

BY Jessica Wicklund
Apr 13, 2017

CEO Louis Abramowski of Evergreen spoke at 1 Million Cups April 12. With a background of computer science and social media marketing, Louis has transformed the tedious task of scheduling social media messages into a painless process. Evergreen allows business owners to spend 90% less time scheduling Facebook & Twitter messages. To contact Louis or for more information, visit Evergreen online.

Who do you think will present next week?

Pictured: Winners of Wednesday's 1 Million Cups mug giveaway

1MC Welcomes Evergreen

BY Jessica Wicklund
Apr 11, 2017

1 Million Cups will welcome Louis Abramowski of Evergreen at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 12. Evergreen is a social media marketing product for small and medium businesses who don't have the time, expertise or resources to run their own social media. For more information, visit Evergreen online.
1 Million Cups meetings will be held weekly at the Local Lounge at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesdays. Come for the free coffee, stay for the 1MC experience.

A Full Room with Full Cups

BY Jessica Wicklund
Apr 06, 2017

1 Million Cups presenters Glenn Liubakka representing EZ BOX Electrical System Solutions and Caitlin Marlotte representing Instruments in the Cloud were welcomed with a full room at the Local Lounge Wednesday, April 5. Presenters took home valuable information and professional tips provided by the Eau Claire community members, students and business owners. If you are interested in presenting or may know of a potential presenter, apply online here.

Who do you think will present next week?

1 Million Cups Kickoff

BY Jessica Wicklund
Mar 31, 2017

1 Million Cups Eau Claire launches April 5 featuring Instruments in the Cloud, created by Vega Productions and EZ BOX Electrical System Solutions, LLC. Founded in 2014, Instruments in the Cloud makes it easy for anyone to donate a once-loved but no longer used musical instrument directly to a school in need. EZ BOX Electrical System Solutions are electrical switch and outlet boxes which work in tandem with other proprietary electrical products in order to save time and improve safety.

1 Million Cups meetings will be held weekly at the Local Lounge at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesdays. Come for the free coffee, stay for the 1MC experience.

One-Minute Survey

BY Jessica Wicklund
Mar 17, 2017

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Entrepreneur Program needs your help. Please take this one-minute survey about how we can improve our services on Startup Current, Facebook and Instagram. Your responses will remain anonymous unless you choose to comment in the suggestion box at the end of the survey. We appreciate your participation.


Please use this link to access the short survey:

Better with Red Letter

BY Jessica Wicklund
Mar 09, 2017

In honor of International Women’s Day, Becca Cooke of Red’s Mercantile has been cooking up a financial grant program specifically for women interested in being their own boss. The Red Letter program will award four $2,000 grants throughout the next year encouraging the female entrepreneurial nation year-round.


Becca explains, "Offering capital will help minimize the financial risk and fear of taking the plunge. A Red Letter day is a date of significance or opportunity - I hope that the Red Letter grant will be just that."


With hopes of expansion, Red Letter plans to continue raising funds by co-hosting events with local businesses such as The Coffee Grounds and selling empowering merchandise by Red Letter Goods.


If you are a woman in the startup phase of your business seeking expansion, visit Red’s Mercantile online to apply.

Fit is the New Fun

BY Jessica Wicklund
Mar 03, 2017

In theory, going to the gym should be fun. Since opening its second location in downtown Eau Claire, FitELITE has redefined leading a healthy and fun lifestyle in the Chippewa Valley through innovation and community inclusivity. The addition of FitELITE in downtown Eau Claire enhances the startup diversity which has exploded within the past five years.


Located on the ground floor of Haymarket Landing, FitELITE is the most recent health and fitness training facility with services ranging from CrossFit to private training to group fitness classes. Open 24 hours, FE24 Fitness is a traditional training program with an upbeat atmosphere and twelve supportive coaches.


For more information, visit FitELITE online or in person at 40 S. Barstow Street.

Evolving into a Mecca of Music

BY Jessica Wicklund
Feb 17, 2017

Eau Claire's sustainable growth depends on the creativity of its community. Over the past thirty years, hundreds of thousands of music enthusiasts have set up camp at five music festivals within the Chippewa Valley. Eaux Claires, one of the newest additions, will meet over 20,000 attendees at their gates in June. Created by Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner three short years ago, the duo recently released their 2017 setlist featuring 26 performers.


Recognizing the booming music culture in the Chippewa Valley, the Wisconsin Technology Council will host a Tech Council Innovation Network luncheon on Tuesday, February 28. The event will be held at 11:30 a.m. in the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Davies Center Dakota Ballroom. Panelists and presenters include Zach Halmstad, Nick Meyer, Sean Carey and Jason Jon Anderson to speak about the role of music and culture in the region’s economic growth.

The cost is $10 for students, $25 for individual members and $35 for non-members. For more information about the event or guests, visit Tech Council Innovation Network ​online.


Photo credit: The Current

Recap of Musky Tank Mixer

BY Jessica Wicklund
Feb 09, 2017

Co-founders Pete Marsnik, Scott Biederman and Robert Krause held the fourth Musky Tank Mixer in a series of eight on February 8 at The Local Lounge. This free and open to the public event focused on how to market, sell or re-brand your company.

Focusing on startups, growth and turnaround companies, Musky Tank Mixers appeal to many business owners looking to reach the next level of entrepreneurship. Attendees are offered a chance to win door prizes and also receive a sponsored drink coupon.

For more information or to sign up for the next Musky Tank Mixer on March 8, visit Musy Tank online.


Photo taken by Christina Wasson

Save the Date: 1 Million Cups Eau Claire

BY Jessica Wicklund
Feb 03, 2017

Clear your schedule on April 5 because 1 Million Cups is coming to Eau Claire. 1MC was designed to connect the entrepreneurial nation through education, engagement and, of course, coffee. More details to come, stay tuned!

For more information about 1MC, visit 1 Million Cups.

Career Ready Internship for Upperclassmen

BY Jessica Wicklund
Jan 27, 2017

The Career Ready Internship program helps students with financial need gain the benefits of a paid internship in the Chippewa Valley. Awarded with a grant totaling $326,028 funded by Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation, UW-Eau Claire will partner with employers to offer 225 junior and senior students internship opportunities in the STEM field.

For more information about this funding and eligibility determination, contact Staci Heidtke, Associate Director of Career Services at UW-Eau Claire at or 715-836-3487.

2016 Idea Challenge Contest Winner

BY Jessica Wicklund
Dec 16, 2016

Dennis Kinsel, winner of the 2016 Idea Challenge Contest, took home the grand prize with his invention, The Kinsel Furniture System. The component-driven shelving system features engineered organizing columns which can give design professionals the ability to restructure to meet their specific needs. Kinsel was awarded with the grand prize of $5,000 toward reimbursable business expenses. For nine years, the Idea Challenge has proven to be a launching pad for local entrepreneurs with the drive to start their own business. 

Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest

BY Jessica Wicklund
Dec 13, 2016

Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest is now accepting entries through January 31, 2017. For the past 14 years, the contest has encouraged entrepreneurs in the startup stage of tech-based businesses in Wisconsin to take the next step in their business ventures. The contest allows up-and-coming entrepreneurs a chance to share startup ideas with the help of a statewide network of community resources, expert advice and mentoring, management talent and possible sources of capital.

To enter, contestants must create an account and submit a 250-word idea abstract on the Governor’s Business Plan Contest website.

To launch your startup, become a judge or learn about sponsorship opportunities, visit

Stop in to Smell the Flowers

BY Jessica Wicklund
Dec 08, 2016

We spoke with Sandy O'Connell, owner of Avalon Floral at 504 Water Street, Eau Claire.


What should customers know about Avalon during the holidays? "We have a 50 percent sale going on right now. It doesn't include fresh flowers or green plants, but all of the gifts and Christmas items are 50 percent off all the way up to Christmas. Everything you would find here is unique and custom made. We deliver, too. December is actually our busiest season!"


Why did you choose to start a business in Eau Claire? "I moved to Eau Claire to open this store. Never thought I'd still be here but here I am celebrating 20 years of business! We started across the street and eventually settled here. I've owned Avalon for the past eight years, and I've been here for all 20 and I still love it."

UW-Eau Claire Alum Chases Sweet Dreams

BY Jessica Wicklund
Nov 29, 2016

For Taylor Pierce, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire entrepreneur program propelled her dreams into a reality. After graduation, Taylor relocated to De Pere, WI where she now owns The Cupcake Couture which specializes in homemade sweet treats.  


“Owning a cupcake store has been my dream and I am living it! The Cupcake Couture became mine when I got introduced to the previous owner. We met and talked through things, and three weeks later it was mine. It was fast but worth it. I am loving every minute of it, adjusting to the ups and downs and enjoying my wonderful customers. I honestly couldn't have done this without so much help from my family and friends!”

Entrepreneurs' Conference Samples 1 Million Cups

BY Jessica Wicklund
Nov 11, 2016

William Lawson, president of New Tech Development LLC, presented at the Entrepreneurs' Conference on Tuesday, November 15. Lawson was the speaker for the 1 Million Cups sample experience, a preview of what is coming to Eau Claire in 2017.

The product he discussed is the Lawson All Wheel Drive Motorcycle (pictured), a patented design that he and his son have developed.

Stay tuned for more information about Eau Claire’s 1 Million Cups – weekly events that will begin in early 2017.

Not Your Average Cup of Joe

BY Jessica Wicklund
Nov 11, 2016

Blugold Roast isn't your average cup of joe. University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire McIntyre Library recently welcomed Blugold Roast into their front lobby to brew and sell beans on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The creators behind Blugold Roast are students in the Collegiate Entrepreneurs' Organization (CEO) who are eager to gain real business experience while sharing their passion for coffee.

Startup 48 Winners

BY Jessica Wicklund
Nov 4, 2016

Matthew Seargent, Sean OBrian and Justin Vajko (shown above from left to right) took home this year's Startup 48 trophy by creating ZipTunes, a social platform for local musicians. Startup 48 celebrated the talent of local entrepreneurs over the weekend of October 14-16 held at JAMF Software. The winning team was awarded a prize package valued over $15,000 to continue their ZipTunes business ventures.

For more information, visit the Startup 48 website.

Entrepreneurs' Conference 2016

BY Jessica Wicklund
Nov 4, 2016

Entrepreneurs, roll out! The Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce is kicking off its first Entrepreneurs' Conference on November 15 from 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. at The Florian Gardens Conference Center. This half-day conference features keynote speakers John and Jennifer McBride, co-owners of VES Environmental Solutions, LLC. Following the keynote, entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to attend two breakout sessions led by local startup successes. There will also be a preview of 1 Million Cups, beginning in Eau Claire in 2017. 1 Million Cups is a nationally recognized program dedicated to educate, engage and connect the entrepreneurial nation through experiential learning. 

There is no cost to attend, but registration is required. To reserve your spot, visit the Eau Claire Chamber website or call the Chamber office at 715-834-1204. 

Musky Tank Mixer: Riding the Growth Curve

BY Jessica Wicklund
Oct 31, 2016

Musky Tank Mixers welcome local entrepreneurs and to discuss the ebbs and flows of starting and maintaining a business. On November 9, the mixer titled Riding the Growth Curve will focus on risk reducing milestones, how success means new challenges and performance metrics. With no cost to attend, the mixer will be held from 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at The Forage at Banbury Place 930 Galloway Street in Eau Claire. For more information, visit the Musky Tank website.

Final Thoughts: Entrepreneur Week 2016

BY Jessica Wicklund
Oct 25, 2016

Entrepreneur Week highlighted what starting a business in Eau Claire is all about. 


The students from the Shri Ram College of Commerce traveled around the Chippewa Valley experiencing Eau Claire at its best. The students have since traveled to Harvard and New York University.


Thank you to all of our panelists and speakers, Dan Beck, Gary Berg, Becca Cook, Zach Halmstad, Andrew Holland, Nick Meyer, Ben Richgruber and Kimera Way, for your inspiring insight.


Congratulations to the two winners of the third annual Swim with the Sharks, Keilor Eggen from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Atharva Mittal from Shri Ram College of Commerce. Eggen won the judges over by pitching sip’npedal and Mittal with Admission Guru.

Entrepreneur Week 2016

BY Jessica Wicklund
Oct 13, 2016

On Monday, October 10, our enthusiastic guests from Shri Ram College of Commerce were welcomed to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. In an attempt to stay warm, the students have been busy visiting startups around the Eau Claire District including Cray, Ferguson's Orchards and The Informalist.


Tonight, the third annual Swim with the Sharks will be begin at 5:30 at the Royal Credit Union Corporate Conference Room, 200 Riverfront Terrace. Five students from Shri Ram College of Commerce and five students from UW-Eau Claire will pitch their entrepreneurial ideas to a panel of judges.


Also, stay tuned for Startup 48 this weekend at JAMF Software to learn what it takes to be in a startup business by creating one.

Save the Date: Startup 48

BY Jessica Wicklund
Oct 3, 2016

Two days, 48 hours, 2,880 minutes, 172,800 seconds. Do you think you have what it takes to create and run a startup business in one weekend? Startup 48 is a weekend-long event from October 14-16 which serves as a great wrap-up to UW-Eau Claire’s Entrepreneur Week, and is open to anyone. This challenge partners a group of like-minded individuals to start with an idea and produce a minimal viable product, and a business pitch, by the end of the 48 hours.

Former competitor Justin Vajko explains Startup 48 is “The most fun you can legally have in 48 hours!”

This weekend is all about living like an entrepreneur. From product development, team management, marketing and everything else you don’t expect. Startup 48 is an opportunity to network and gain professional experience through teamwork.


For more information or to grab your own ticket, go to the Startup 48 website or email!

Mark Your Calendars: Entrepreneur Week 2016

BY Jessica Wicklund
Sep 22, 2016

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire College of Business is preparing for Entrepreneur Week October 10-13 featuring perspectives from Eau Claire entrepreneurs as well as international perspectives from Shri Ram College of Commerce natives. 


Monday’s event will feature a panel who will discuss how to successfully build a business from the bottom up. The talented collection of Dan Beck owner of Midwest Meals, Becca Cooke owner of Red’s Mercantile and Andrew Holland co-owner of ProVyro will share their trials and triumphs.


Stop by Tuesday, October 11 to hear why partnerships are investing in downtown Eau Claire to create beautiful spaces and structures for our growing community. Zach Halmstad co-founder of JAMF Software, Nick Meyer co-founder of Volume One, Ben Richgruber executive director of the Eau Claire Regional Arts Center and Kimera Way president of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation will speak at this event.


Wednesday will showcase Gary Berg of G.L. Berg Entertainment recipient of Reader’s Choice “Best Entertainment (Performer of Talent Agency). He will speak about the business of entertainment.


Thursday will top off the week with the annual Swim with the Sharks featuring four UW-Eau Claire students and four Shri Ram College of Commerce students.


For more information, visit UW-Eau Claire College of Business or contact Ann Rupnow at

All events are open to the public and are free to attend.

Mickey Judkins: Details Direct

BY Jessica Wicklund
Sep 14, 2016

Mickey Judkins owner of Details Direct, a contemporary collection of apparel and jewelry.


How long has Details Direct been established?

"I opened my first business on the same day I registered for my junior year of college. It was a great time to have my own business, as college students can live well on a small amount of money. After running that business for 10 years, I sold it and opened Details 30 years ago. In 1995, I opened one of the first ecommerce sites in Wisconsin with the launch of"


Why did you choose Eau Claire to build a business?

"I was attending the University of Arizona in Tucson when my father had a heart attack so I decided to return to my hometown and spend more time with my family. This was a decision I have never regretted as both of my parents died when I was 30."


What is special about Eau Claire's vibe?

"As today, the late 70s-early 80s had an exciting vibe with many young people starting new businesses on a shoestring. Now after decades, many of these same businesses are still serving the Eau Claire community and, in our case, we have been honored to have three generations of customers from some families. It takes a lot of people taking risks, doing things that have never been tried and making investments in the community to make a community grow. For example, Charlie Grossklaus convinced the RCU board to locate in a blighted area of Eau Claire and breathed new life into what is now the popular Phoenix Park. (That is a perfect name for the area as it was in decay and has, in a way, been resurrected from the ashes.) It’s this type of foresight and investment that keeps a community growing.  And now a whole new group of professionals are opening innovative businesses and infusing the community with creativity... It's very exciting."

Cynthia Wing-Reed: B-Framed Galleries

BY Jessica Wicklund
Sep 9, 2016

Cynthia Wing-Reed is the owner of B-Framed Galleries located at 313 S Barstow Street.


How long has B-Framed Galleries been established?

"B-Framed Galleries was established in 1976. There were no frame shops at the time and that was how it all began. I have been with the business since 1981 and purchased it almost 12 years ago making major changes in the overall direction and style of the gallery business. I reinvented almost everything, from the artists and style of art to being a very community connected business and very active in supporting the Downtown community. With our Corporate Art Consulting Business, I have added many services like onsite design/delivery and installation."


Why did you choose Eau Claire to build a business?

"We have been located in downtown Eau Claire for 40 years and consider ourselves Eau Claire's original Art Gallery. Our very first customer still does framing here! Our main customer base is within a 90-mile radius with our Corporate Art Services extending even further. We have always been proud of the fact that the gallery and custom framing draws people from a wide area."


What is special about Eau Claire's vibe?

"As an Eau Claire native, I appreciate the original history and culture of Eau Claire that began with immigrants like my grandparents coming here to create new lives. The exciting renaissance of our Downtown has not happened overnight but it has brought an amazing rebirth and exciting spirit! You can actually feel it in the air! I love the natural beauty of our region. People from around the world are beginning to appreciate again what Eau Claire has to offer. The people of the Chippewa Valley have always been so supportive of us."

Andrew Holland: ProVyro

BY Jessica Wicklund
Aug 29, 2016

Andrew Holland, co-founder of ProVyro, a waste management garbage company serving the Chippewa Valley.


How long has ProVyro been established?

“Joe Craven and I began a roll off container business in November of 2010. After 2.5 years, we sold that portion of the business and focused exclusively on providing residential garbage services. In January 2016, we were awarded the City of Chippewa Falls recycling contract and in June 2016, we began providing commercial garbage services.”


Why did you choose Eau Claire to build a business?

 “I am a native of Eau Claire (graduate of Memorial High School), and both Joe and I are UW-Eau Claire alums where we experienced everything Eau Claire has to offer. After college, I had originally moved to Minneapolis where I was a CPA with Ernst and Young (I wanted to get some experience outside of Eau Claire) and after a few years, I moved back so Joe and I could start a business."

What is special about Eau Claire's vibe?

“Everything. I recently went on a short trip to New York and while it was a great experience, I asked almost everyone I came into contact with two questions: How do you accumulate wealth here? And are you happy? Almost exclusively, the two responses I got were "You don't create wealth unless your family has had it for many generations either through a business or real estate. And no, I am not very happy." It was such an eye-opening experience for me in the sense that it made me realize just how much we have to be thankful for living in the Midwest and Eau Claire. I realize how blessed we are. I mean, we can do anything we want: start a business, build real estate, start a non-profit. The opportunities here are endless.  I don't believe other areas of the country are so blessed. Being in New York made me want to come back and work five times harder (although I'd probably be dead then) just because I can, just because we have the opportunity to do so here in Eau Claire. When we talk about what is special about Eau Claire's vibe, this is why I say everything, because it really is the truth.”

Haymarket Landing Open House

BY Jessica Wicklund
Aug 25, 2016

Countering the shortage of university housing, Haymarket Landing opened its doors for an open house to downtown Eau Claire on August 22. Owned by Haymarket Concepts LLC comprised of Market & Johnson, Commonweal Development and Blugold Real Estate, Haymarket Landing has responded with 154,372 square feet of residential space. The building also features 33,441 square feet of commercial space and 44,179 square feet of underground garage.

The second through sixth floors will house 400 upperclassmen and graduate students from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Comprised of studio, one, two and four-bedroom options, the apartments are all equipped with air conditioning and personal kitchens. From their personal patios or a communal rooftop terrace, students are feet away from stunning views of the Chippewa and Eau Claire Rivers. Move-in day will begin September 1 for transfer students.

The commercial space will occupy the first floor of the building open to Barstow sidewalks. This floor of Haymarket Landing will feature a café, fitness center and restaurant facing the Chippewa River.

Coffee Cupping Event Selects Blugold Roast

BY Jessica Wicklund
Aug 22, 2016

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s local student-led chapter of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) held a coffee cupping event recently to select soon to be announced Blugold Roast coffee. Blugold Roast brew and beans will be sold on campus in the Davies Center Snack Shack this fall. It will also be available for purchase online, for the community as well as alumni throughout the U.S.

UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt, and Resident District Manager and Executive Chef of Blugold Dining, Christian Wise, and a small group of faculty, staff and students tasted and rated the coffee selections provided by Alan Krohnke of Roastery 7 in Minneapolis, MN.

Watch for more about Blugold Roast this fall.

Billy Siegel: Revival Records

BY Jessica Wicklund
Aug 3, 2016

Billy Siegel, owner of Revival Records located at 128 S Barstow Street.

How long has Revival Records been established? “October 2009 which makes seven years this fall. I’ve been here for about 20 years myself. I moved here for college and have stayed ever since.”

Why did you choose Eau Claire to build a business? “There weren’t any record stores open at the time so we waited a few years for one to open and finally decided to open one myself. With the university having such a huge musical influence and downtown being the hotspot, it’s the ideal place for a musical outlet.”

What is special about Eau Claire’s vibe? “I personally can’t speak for the artists, but from what I know of the artists and meeting them, they get along so well. Some of these guys in bands aren’t just in one band, they’re in three or four bands. They help each other out so if somebody needs a bass player or drummer for the night, they’ll all work together to fill the empty spaces. They’re in it for the love of the music and because they love it. I really think that’s what sets Eau Claire apart. The people here really do care about each other and love music."

Becki Spina: Becki's Mediterranean Olive Salsa

BY Jessica Wicklund
Jul 27, 2016

Becki Spina, owner of Becki’s Mediterranean Olive Salsa located at 800 Wisconsin Street.

How long has Becki's Mediterranean Olive Salsa been established? “It is shocking to me that this month marks the 10-year anniversary of the first day of sales at the Eau Claire Farmer's Market! That is the first day I sold all 87 containers and had to go home early!”

Why did you choose Eau Claire to build a business? “My son was in a car accident that left him paralyzed, and that crisis changed my life in every way. I love Eau Claire and wanted to stay near my family and friends. Eau Claire was generous to me as I ventured into my startup business. Although it was recommended to me that I move my business to the Twin Cities, I chose to keep it here and happily employ local people.”

What is special about Eau Claire's vibe? “I soon learned that people want local vendors to succeed! Over and over people have been kind and helpful and encouraging."

William Glass: The Brewing Projekt

BY Jessica Wicklund
Jul 21, 2016

William Glass, president of The Brewing Projekt, a local, authentic brewery located at 2000 N Oxford Avenue.

How long has The Brewing Projekt been established? “I started the Brewing Projekt in 2013. Due to the legal hurdles we faced during the first year and a half, we really didn’t do much but wait on paperwork. We finally opened for business in April of 2015.”

Why did you choose Eau Claire to build a business? “To be perfectly honest it was out of convenience. At the time a great opportunity presented itself in an underutilized part of downtown. Six years later the neighborhood changed from a row of blighted properties to a booming part of downtown.”

What is special about Eau Claire's vibe? “We’ve seen a resurgence of new business ventures as well as efforts put in place to make Eau Claire more of a destination. People take pride in Eau Claire more today than they did just a few short years ago when I was a student at UWEC.”

Middle and High School Students Explore Entreprene

BY Jessica Wicklund
Jul 14, 2016

Nearly 60 middle and high school students visited the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire campus this week for the Blugold Beginnings Entrepreneur Camp.

The camp was established in 2008 by Jodi Thesing-Ritter and is wrapping up its second year of supporting students interested in becoming entrepreneurs. During this week, participants, along with UW-Eau Claire student mentors, attend classes lead by UW-Eau Claire faculty and visit Eau Claire businesses founded by local entrepreneurs.

Even future entrepreneurs need breaks to rejuvenate. The students and their mentors were given an opportunity to cheer on the Eau Claire Express team on Wednesday evening. For more information about Blugold Beginnings:

Becca Cooke: Red's Mercantile

BY Jessica Wicklund
Jul 5, 2016

Becca Cooke is the founder of Red's Mercantile, a modern home goods and accessories store in Eau Claire.

How long has Tangled Up In Hue been established? "Red’s opened in November 2015 - as of July 1st we’ll have been open for 9 months."

Why did you choose Eau Claire to build a business? "I chose to come back to Eau Claire to be closer to the things I love - family, our lakes and rivers, and Friday night fish frys. I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I wasn’t sure in what capacity. When I saw the shop space open on Dewey I felt like it was the perfect time to dive in with the energy of downtown building."

What is special about Eau Claire's vibe? "Eau Claire is a town without airs. It’s full of humble people who keep their focus on their craft. Folks who spend months toiling on an album, concocting an idea for a new restaurant or starting a brand."

Visit Red's Mercantile online at or in store.

Jamie Kyser and Erin Klaus: Tangled Up In Hue

BY Jessica Wicklund
Jul 1, 2016

Erin Klaus and Jamie Kyser are the founders of Tangled Up In Hue, an art collective supporting over 100 artists in downtown Eau Claire.

How long has Tangled Up In Hue been established? "Tangled Up In Hue opened on February 2, 2009."

Why did you choose Eau Claire to build a business? "Both of us (Erin and Jamie) reside in Eau Claire and wanted to continue living and enjoying this beautiful city. We chose Downtown Eau Claire because we wanted to be on the ground floor when downtown finally started to revitalize. When we opened our doors, Barstow street didn't have a lot of a draw. Year later, we are seeing some real excitement from our patrons and guests!"

What is special about Eau Claire's vibe? "We love the people! The support we get from the community is amazing. They appreciate that our items are handmade and love to support local artists and businesses."

Visit Tangled Up In Hue online at or in store.

Nick Meyer: Volume One and The Local Store

BY Jessica Wicklund
Jun 23, 2016

Nick Meyer, editor, publisher and owner of Volume One, a culture and entertainment magazine established in the Chippewa Valley.

How long has Volume One been established?
"A bit more than 14 years. The first issue launched in March of 2002."

Why did you choose Eau Claire to build a business?
"This is where I was. This is the place that had the opportunity, a gap, that needed something like what we created with Volume One."

What is special about Eau Claire's vibe? "Our valley – the cities and the people and the energy held within – is not content to stop with one great development, one great concept, one great cultural movement."

Volume One and The Local Store would love to meet you. Visit them online at or stop in to 205 N Dewey Street in Eau Claire.

Eau, the Summer Vibe!

BY Jessica Wicklund
Jun 17, 2016

As a city full of startup entrepreneurs, Eau Claire is ready to reveal some of its most talented locals. Sounds Like Summer, hosted by Volume One, highlights homegrown on-site partners, food vendors and artists-alike throughout this weekly summer event every Thursday night in downtown Eau Claire's Phoenix Park. Crowds of over 2,000 will gather to enjoy tunes and treats on the banks of the Chippewa River throughout June, July and August. Similarly, Startup Current's summer series titled "Eau, the Summer Vibe!" will highlight local entrepreneurs who established their successful companies in the heart of Eau Claire. Throughout the series, entrepreneurs will be asked a series of questions including the length of their company's establishment, why did they choose Eau Claire and what makes Eau Claire's vibe unique? Stay tuned!

Entrepreneur Program Intern

BY Ann Rupnow
May 31, 2016

Welcome to Jessica Wicklund, the new Entrepreneur Program Intern at UW-Eau Claire. Jessica is entering her senior year and is excited to dive head first into the world of entrepreneurship representing the Eau Claire community. Although originally from northern Minnesota, her love for America's Dairyland is endless. Feel free to reach out to her and introduce yourself, she can't wait to meet you!

New Beginnings

BY Alysha Stoffel
May 18, 2016

Diane Hoadley, dean of the College of Business, is retiring in June. The Entrepreneur Program at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire was revitalized under her leadership. Her vision and support for entrepreneurship has positively impacted the campus and community. Though she’s leaving her role as dean, her work with entrepreneurs isn’t finished. Hoadley plans to stay connected with the evolving entrepreneur scene in Eau Claire. Stay tuned…​

Economic Development Celebration

BY Alysha Stoffel
May 13, 2016

As part of Eau Claire’s Economic Development Week celebration, members from the community gathered at the Chippewa Valley Innovation Center (CVIC) on Wednesday evening. The innovation center encourages new and emerging entrepreneurial businesses by providing temporary facility as well as managerial, technical and financial assistance. Since its opening 30 years ago, CVIC has provided more than $18 million dollars in salaries. Julie McFadden’s startup, Eco Urban Timber, is one of the businesses that has benefited from the innovation center. McFadden started her wood sign and banner business in her garage, but soon realized she needed a bigger space. Her search brought her to the CVIC. Since moving to CVIC, she has been able to grow her business exponentially. CVIC’s passion for startups helps local entrepreneurs and the Chippewa Valley’s overall economic development.

Feeding a Dream

BY Alysha Stoffel
May 10, 2016

A vision and hard work is sometimes all it takes to launch the business of your dreams. Last week, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire senior, Daniel Beck, soft launched his meal prep business, Midwest Meals. As an entrepreneur student, Beck was able to learn the basics of starting a business in the classroom, but was really challenged when he took the steps to actually implement his idea. In March, Beck received a first place prize after he pitched Midwest Meals to a panel of judges at UW-Eau Claire’s Swim with the Sharks Business Pitch Competition. With his prize, he was able to kick off his business two months later. Throughout the process of opening his business, Beck emphasizes the importance of loving the mission. “It’s very rewarding aligning your work life with your passions,” he states. Congratulations, Dan! To learn more about Midwest Meals, visit

She's Movin' On

BY Ann Rupnow
May 6, 2016

Alysha Stoffel has been key to Startup Current's success since the website began last October. She's the Entrepreneur Program Intern who is graduating next week and moving on. We congratulate her on her degree; we thank her for her awesome work; and we wish her all the best going forward! She will be missed... If you know a UW-Eau Claire student who may be interested in the opening her leaving creates, have him or her contact the Entrepreneur Program Coordinator:

The Perfect Pitch

BY Alysha Stoffel
May 4, 2016

On Friday, entrepreneur students from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's capstone entrepreneur course presented their semester long business plans at Volume One. Students were given between 10-15 minutes to pitch their idea. Not only were students' projects graded, a live panel of judges selected first place winners. The morning sessions winning pitch was by Daniel Beck and Nick Brekken, who pitched their business idea of Midwest Meals, a meal prep company based out of Eau Claire. The afternoon winning pitch was by Leah Pronschinske, who pitched her business idea of The Affogato Cafe, a dog friendly, organic coffee shop. Events like this prepare students for their future entrepreneurial encounters - like delivering a successful pitch!


BY Alysha Stoffel
Apr 29, 2016

The Wisconsin Innovation Awards (WIA) highlights and honors the development of groundbreaking and innovative ideas throughout Wisconsin. To create an environment of innovation, the WIA brings innovators together from various business sectors such as, food, healthcare, agriculture, education and government throughout the state. This Monday, May 2, at 5:30 p.m., entrepreneurs, nominees and past winners will meet at The Lismore Hotel in downtown. The precursor event will have a short program laying out the plans for the 2016 WIA Awards in Madison. The event is free, but space is limited. To learn more information and RSVP, visit

Women's Business Conference

BY Alysha Stoffel
Apr 22, 2016

Nearly 450 women gathered at The Plaza Hotel on Thursday for Western Dairyland’s 13th annual Women’s Business Conference. The daylong event encompassed a multitude of breakout sessions geared toward helping entrepreneurs, a silent auction, and over 100 local businesses displaying their products. “The conference creates synergy for people no matter what stage of business development they are at. It provides women with resources to help them continue to move forward in their business,” said Karman Briggs, with Western Dairyland. From marketing plans to bookkeeping, the conference’s breakout sessions covered a wide range of topics relevant to all entrepreneurs. The closing ceremony, led by Sarah Stokes, Nancy Rothwell, Vanessa Moessner and Mindy Pedersen, capped off the eventful day. The women discussed benchmark and surprising moments in their entrepreneurial careers, as well as lessons they have learned through owning a business.

Eau Claire's Rockin' New Coffee Shop

BY Alysha Stoffel
Apr 20, 2016

A visit to ECDC today, opening day, did not disappoint. Check out Eau Claire’s newest coffee café on Barstow Street, within the beautiful, soon to open, Lismore Hotel.

gener8tor Visits Eau Claire

BY Alysha Stoffel
Apr 15, 2016

On Thursday, April 14, Maggie Brickerman (far left in photo above) from gener8tor held office hours at JAMF Software to provide guidance and discuss the gBETA program with University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students and alumni. gener8tor is a nationally ranked accelerator that invests in high-growth startups; gBETA, is a no-fee, six week accelerator program for early stage startups. Through the program, startups are introduced to a network of mentors, potential customers and investors, with the goal of growing their business and raising seed capital. For more information about gener8tor check out their website:

Save the Date: Startup 48

BY Alysha Stoffel
Apr 12, 2016

Have you ever wondered if you could create a plan and launch a startup in a three day period? Startup weekend challenges this idea. Taking place Oct. 14-16, Eau Claire's Startup 48 brings designers, entrepreneurs, developers, and anyone with a passion for startups together to create great things. Interested in attending? Learn more on

Save the Date: Students Pitch

BY Alysha Stoffel
Apr 8, 2016

Come to cheer on entrepreneur students as they present their business plans on April 29 at Volume One’s Gallery. There will be judges from the community rating the 10-20 minute pitches. The day-long event has a morning (8:30-12:00) and an afternoon (12:30-4:00) session. Stop in for an hour or stay for an entire session! Pictured above is student, Leah Pronschinske.

Women's Business Conference Speaker

BY Alysha Stoffel
Apr 5, 2016

Local entrepreneur, Sarah Stokes, will be leading both a breakout session and the wrap up at this month’s Women’s Business Conference. Stokes, who first started her career as a local news reporter, decided to make a career change and take on her own business, Queen of the Castle Magazine, two years ago. Since then, Stokes and her husband have opened their own public relations, advertising and video studio, Stokes+HERZOG. As an entrepreneur, Stokes understands the importance of marketing yourself as a business. Her breakout session called, “What to Ask when Marketing Your Business” will help attendees will work through crucial marketing questions. During the conference, hosted by the Western Dairyland Women’s Business Center, attendees will learn from established members of the business community in Western Wisconsin, talk to business assistance providers, and network with over 500 emerging entrepreneurs. For more information, visit

Something's Brewing?

BY Ann Rupnow
Apr 1, 2016

A group of UW-Eau Claire entrepreneur students, representing their chapter of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs' Organization, was in Seattle during spring break learning about coffee roasting. Not to spill the beans, but it's rumored that a Blugold coffee roast may be brewing for fall... The students and their faculty adviser were warmly welcomed by Beth and Gary Smith, owners of Mukilteo Coffee Roasters, on Whidbey Island.

Swim with the Sharks Winner

BY Alysha Stoffel
Mar 18, 2016

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire student, Daniel Beck, took home first prize during Tuesday night’s Swim with the Sharks business pitch event. Beck pitched his meal prep business, Midwest Meals. For those who are looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle, Midwest Meals provides fresh local prepackaged meals that can be picked up each Sunday night at Banbury Place. Along with the winning title, Beck received $500 to help jump-start his business.

Local Student is Generating Buzz

BY Alysha Stoffel
May 15, 2016

A Chippewa Falls High School student has been named Junior Achievement of Wisconsin’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Sophomore, Natalie Abbott, is being recognized for her honey business, The West Hill Honey Company, which began as a 4-H project when she was 10. Abbott makes lip balm and bottled honey from her hives and sells it at local boutiques, craft fairs and salons. Like many entrepreneurs, Abbott has faced her fair share of challenges. Last year, a bear destroyed three-fourths of her beehives. Moving forward she hopes to rebuild 20 of her hives and continue to expand her honey and beeswax business. She will be honored at Junior Achievement's Wisconsin Business Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on April 21 in Milwaukee.

Local Women Support Each Other

BY Alysha Stoffel
Mar 11, 2016

Once a month, women from Eau Claire and surrounding cities meet at local businesses to network with other women interested in entrepreneurship. Facilitated by The Western Dairyland Women’s Business Center, the events encourage networking among female business owners, allowing them to expand their small business knowledge. Not only do these events bring community members together, they provide a platform for women to jump start their entrepreneurial career. This month’s event, centered around creativity, took place at Glaze N’ Glass Creations located at Eastridge Center in Eau Claire. During the event, business owner, Evelyn Peloquin, discussed the ins and outs of owning a paint your own pottery and glass fusing business. To get involved or learn more about The Western Dairyland Women’s Business Center, visit

WorkSpace for Creative Collaboration

BY Alysha Stoffel
Mar 4, 2016

Sometimes productivity depends on the atmosphere of the area you are working in, and the people with whom you interact. This seems to be the case at WorkSpace, a collaborative place for entrepreneurs, UW-Eau Claire students, freelancers, remote workers, and those who just need a creative space to work. Located on the lower level of the Volume One store in downtown Eau Claire, the space is equipped with wireless internet, desk space, meeting rooms, a lounging area and a kitchen stocked with coffee. WorkSpace not only allows for a productive work environment, it also provides a forum to collaborate, make new friends, and increase professional contacts within the community. Visit to learn more.

WorkSpace for Creative Collaboration

BY Alysha Stoffel
Mar 4, 2016

Sometimes productivity depends on the atmosphere of the area you are working in, and the people with whom you interact. This seems to be the case at WorkSpace, a collaborative place for entrepreneurs, UW-Eau Claire students, freelancers, remote workers, or those who just need a creative space to work. Located on the lower level of the Volume One store in downtown Eau Claire, the space is equipped with wireless internet, desk space, meeting rooms, a lounging area and a kitchen stocked with coffee. WorkSpace not only allows for a creative work environment, it also provides a forum to collaborate, make new friends, and increase professional contacts within the community. Visit to learn more.

Save the Date: Swim with the Sharks Event

BY Alysha Stoffel
Mar 1, 2016

On Tuesday, March 15, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will host its second Swim with the Sharks business pitch event. Beginning at 6 p.m. in Davies Center Marketplace, students will pitch their business idea to a live audience and a panel of judges. In addition to the winning title, contestants will compete for prizes. Both students and community can attend this event- come join the fun!

Perfecting the Pitch

BY Alysha Stoffel
Feb 26, 2016

Entrepreneur students in their final course at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire have spent the past week practicing their business pitches. Each student is given two minutes to pitch their business idea to their classmates as they would to an investor. “A two-minute business pitch is anything but simple. Creating a concise and effective pitch takes time and practice, but it's important work, ” says entrepreneur professor, Ann Rupnow. “If you aren’t prepared at all times to articulate your startup idea, you may miss an opportunity to gain an investor or make a sale,” she states. Pitching a business idea is something that will become more than just a class assignment to some students this spring. In the upcoming campus-wide event, “Swim with the Sharks,” students will have the opportunity to pitch their business idea to a live audience and a panel of judges. Pictured above is entrepreneur student, Alicia Moen.

Student Entrepreneur Spotlight

BY Alysha Stoffel
Feb 19, 2016

Stephen Sutherland has been listening to and making music since he was young. Though he played and studied music throughout high school, his entrepreneurial career didn’t begin until his freshman year at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. After connecting with a few other musicians on campus, Sutherland and his now bandmates played music for fun. As years passed, the group began to grow. Now five years later, the band, Doks Robotiks, has 10 members. Thanks to their hard work and dedication, the group released their first full length album earlier this month called Doks. As an entrepreneur, Sutherland’s greatest strength is networking. He enjoys meeting and connecting with as many people as he can. When asked what the hardest aspect of being an entrepreneur is, Sutherland said it’s being able to learn from your failures. Looking ahead, Sutherland wants to continue making music and eventually open a business of his own. To learn more about the group, visit

Save the Date

BY Alysha Stoffel
Feb 16, 2016

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s second annual Entrepreneur Week will be taking place Monday, Oct. 10 through Friday, Oct. 14. Events throughout the week will celebrate the exciting culture of entrepreneurship in the Chippewa Valley. All events will be open to the public. Stay tuned for details.

2015 Paragon Award Winner

BY Alysha Stoffel
Feb 9, 2016

The Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corporation announced Dynamic Fitness & Strength as the 2015 Paragon Award winner on Monday, February 8. The Paragon Award is given annually to a local business that has positively impacted the community through economic development. As a startup in 2011, Dynamic Fitness & Strength specialized in contract steel fabrication. A few years later they transformed into a business focused on manufacturing their own line of fitness equipment. More recently, Dynamic Fitness & Strength has made a significant investment in both the Eau Claire community and their employees. In 2015, the company began an expansion to a new location. In the process of updating their new location in the Gateway Industrial Park, Dynamic Fitness & Strength will generate 75 new jobs in the next three years.

CEO Kicks Off Spring Semester

BY Alysha Stoffel
Feb 5, 2016

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO), has reconvened for the spring semester. On Wednesday, during the university’s student organization recruitment fair, CEO members promoted their club and the benefits that come with membership. The goal is to help students jump-start their entrepreneurial careers. CEO holds weekly meetings where students network with peers and business professionals. The organization, specifically targeted at students interested in entrepreneurship, is part of a greater network of CEO chapters across the country. Last fall, nine students from Eau Claire’s chapter participated in the 2015 Collegiate Entrepreneur Organization (CEO) National Conference in Kansas City, Missouri. This semester, CEO hopes to engage and encourage participation among their members through speaker presentations and a possible spring entrepreneur event. Pictured above are CEO executive board members, Ben Ingold and Josh Pedro.

Construction Continues at The Lismore Hotel

BY Alysha Stoffel
Feb 2, 2016

The Lismore Hotel in downtown Eau Claire is still under construction with plans to open in April. Cofounder of JAMF Software and Eau Claire entrepreneur, Zach Halmstad, and his property company, Pablo Properties, purchased the building, formerly known as the Ramada Inn, in 2014. With the hopes to bring a new and fun lodging experience to downtown Eau Claire, the updated and improved hotel will feature 112 rooms, two event halls and a new restaurant, bar and coffee shop.

We're Back

BY Alysha Stoffel
Jan 29, 2016

We are back and ready to make some waves this year. We want to continually provide content that is interesting and relevant to the Chippewa Valley in regards to entrepreneurship. If there is something you want us to cover, whether it be featuring a local business, entrepreneur or event, don’t hesitate to ask. We would love to hear your suggestions. Email us at

Year of the Entrepreneur

BY Ann Rupnow
Dec 23, 2015

The Year of the Entrepreneur, an article by Tom Giffey, VolumeOne, offers a fantastic look into the culture of entrepreneurship that is continuing to evolve here in Eau Claire. ( _the_year_of_the_entrepreneur.) Startup Current (this website) is one of many efforts seeking to bring visibility and support to entrepreneurs and their startup companies, as well as to entrepreneur-related events and efforts on campus, and in the community. There are a growing number of us showing our enthusiasm and support for entrepreneur-ism by placing our name on the"We're In" page (see tab above). If you haven't "signed" the page yet, today would be a great day to declare your overall support. Finally, since Startup Current is a campus-fueled website (by UW-Eau Claire’s Dennis L. Heyde Entrepreneur Program), this is our final post for 2015. We will be back the week of January 25, so come back and visit then!

Local Business Spotlight

BY Alysha Stoffel
Dec 18, 2015

It’s not always the first effort that sustains, but sometimes the second. In the process of following their dreams, two local entrepreneurs, Joey Olson and Josh Smeltzer, learned a very important lesson about entrepreneurship: expect the unexpected. After separating from a partnership, Olson and Smeltzer decided to take on a venture of their own. Their new business, Draft Design House, is a web design company located in downtown Eau Claire. Since its opening in April 2014, the powerhouse agency has accumulated over 45 clients and has recently added its first full time employee. In 2016, Draft Design House is excited about their plans to continually grow and work to flourish this business.

UW-Eau Claire Welcomes New Professor

BY Alysha Stoffel
Dec 16, 2015

Sam Zordich, CEO and founder of RAI Stone Group, a local business that creates financial analysis software for businesses, will begin teaching at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire as an entrepreneur professor beginning spring 2016. Zordich is not only an entrepreneur and leader, she is an experienced educator. Before coming to Eau Claire, she taught entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. While at UW-Eau Claire, Zordich will teach a course in management that focuses on new venture feasibility. Playing on her strengths, she will help students learn how to conduct operational and financial analyses when designing a business model. As a professor at the university, she will be able to provide a real-world teaching approach. “I’ve been there, done that. I am able to provide knowledge that can’t come from a textbook,” says Zordich. When you think about it, what’s better than an actual entrepreneur teaching a class in entrepreneurship?

Alumnus Spotlight: Troy Winrich

BY Alysha Stoffel
Dec 11, 2015

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire alum, Troy Winrich, was one of the first students to graduate from the UW-Eau Claire Entrepreneur Program in 1995. For his final project, Winrich's business idea was to refurbish and assemble ground support equipment used by the airline industry. Expanding upon his original business idea, Winrich turned his concept into a business solution. Today, he is the owner of Trowin Industries, Inc., a company that refurbishes tow tractors, push back tractors, burned carriers, speed trucks and custom chassis. His entrepreneurial journey wasn't entirely easy and straightforward. Post-graduation, Winrich held a few different jobs in order to save capital for his enterprise. With what first began in his parents garage is now a full-blown business located in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. When asked his favorite thing about having his own business, Winrich says he always looks forward to the next big thing. “You have to keep looking forward,” he says.

UW-Eau Claire Entrepreneur Program History

BY Alysha Stoffel
Dec 9, 2015

Since its conception in 1994, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Entrepreneur Program has helped students succeed by providing relevant coursework and excellent mentorship. When the program first launched, the curriculum consisted of two, 12-credit courses offered in a series of modules. Since then, the program has undergone a few changes. Today, the core curriculum consists of four, three-credit required courses, which provides the foundation for a certificate, minor, or major emphasis. Though the structure of the program has changed since 1994, the continued support and mentorship from both faculty members and program mentors has not; this year the program has 9 mentors. Ann Rupnow, a professor of the program, believes the future will continue to be bright. "The UW-Eau Claire Entrepreneur Program is using best practice methodology, and continues to evolve to meet the needs of entrepreneurial students in an ever-changing world.”

Idea Challenge Winner

BY Alysha Stoffel
Dec 4, 2015

Gorilla Dumpster Bag- an innovation in the dumpster industry, won the 2015 Idea Challenge yesterday afternoon. The Idea Challenge, a program of the Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corporation (EDC), is designed to help local entrepreneurs take their ideas and turn them into tangible products and businesses. After submitting an idea application to the EDC, five Idea Challenge finalists had the opportunity to present their idea to a panel of judges. Since 2012, The Idea Challenge has seen over 400 local applicants and has helped create over 10 businesses. Along with the winning title, inventors of the Gorilla Dumpster Bag, Steve Faacks and Chris Hansen will receive $5,000 towards reimbursable business expenses.

EDC and SBDC Move

BY Alysha Stoffel
Nov 25, 2015

Eau Claire’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) have merged into one building downtown. The SBDC helps businesses around the Eau Claire area at every stage of the business life cycle. Whether in the startup or mature phase, the SBDC has the tools and resources to help each business succeed. Similarly, the EDC helps local businesses and entrepreneurs through specialized action plans. The EDC’s efforts center around continual growth, emphasizing its positive impact on the local economy. By merging the two entities into one building, the SPDC and EDC are able to collaborate for the benefit of the community’s entrepreneurs and business owners. Find them located at: 7 S. Dewey Street Eau Claire, WI 54701.

Sconnie Foods Visits UW-Eau Claire

BY Alysha Stoffel
Nov 20, 2015

Tracy Lundberg, the president of Sconnie Foods, visited the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's Intro to Entrepreneurship class last Friday to share her entrepreneurial story. Founded in 2011, Sconnie Foods specializes in producing food products that cater to unmet customer needs. Their first product, which won the company a grand prize in the 2012 "Idea Challenge" for its innovation, is a squeezable sauerkraut. While visiting UW-Eau Claire, Lundberg discussed patents and intellectual property, the challenge of getting a new product "out there" in the market, as well as the process of working with co-packers and distributors to deliver a quality product. Aside from her regular day job, Lundberg is one of nine student mentors for the Intro to Entrepreneurship class. She is pictured above with her four mentees: Brandy White, Leah Pronschinske, Ben Ingold and Keith Sampica.

Students Visit Local Brewery

BY Alysha Stoffel
Nov 17, 2015

Last week, students of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Intro to Entrepreneurship course received a little taste of what it’s like to start your own business. Students visited The Brewing Projekt, a local brewery owned and operated by UW-Eau Claire grad himself, William Glass. Glass touched on his entrepreneurial journey, while discussing some of the challenges he encountered, such as finding the right location for his brewery. He stressed the fact that despite these challenges, he would not want to be anything, but an entrepreneur.

Chippewa Valley Code Camp

BY Alysha Stoffel
Nov 13, 2015

On November 7th, the eighth annual Chippewa Valley Code Camp took place at the Chippewa Valley Technical College Business Education Center. Thanks to over 10 local sponsors, 6th-9th graders and adults of any age were able to learn the basics of HTML and CSS. After the daylong event, Code Camp attendees celebrated their eventful day at Houligans in downtown Eau Claire.

Moving from an idea to an action

BY Alysha Stoffel
Nov 10, 2015

On Wednesday, November 4th, Ignite Wisconsin, a program dedicated to encouraging and inspiring local entrepreneurs, invited Kim Nimsgern, CEO at Casual Panache, to speak about her entrepreneurial experience. She expound upon her journey, stressing the fact that there were obstacles to overcome. She discussed the process of turning a sole idea into a profitable product, known as the Click n Curl hairstyling system.

Alumnus Spotlight: Dayne Shuda

BY Dayne Shuda
Oct 30, 2015

I've always been interested in business. I attended the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire to study entrepreneurship, and today I have a company called Ghost Blog Writers. Even with running a company, there is always still plenty to learn. I love hearing the stories of entrepreneurs and that's what I heard during Entrepreneur Week’s first event where Jim Stewart shared his story of starting and operating Seattle's Best Coffee. There were many things in Jim's story that paralleled other startup business stories, like struggling to pay rent and having enough food to eat in the early days. He also spoke about the challenges of reaching new levels with the company. The challenges and fear that come with growing an enterprise. It was great attending this talk. I felt like there were lessons and wisdom that I can apply to my own business. I'm already looking forward to next year's event.

Entrepreneur Students head to Kansas

BY Alysha Stoffel
Oct 28, 2015

Exciting times lie ahead for nine University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students who will attend the 2015 Collegiate Entrepreneur Organization (CEO) National Conference on Nov. 5 in Kansas City, Missouri. Over the course of the three day event, students will listen to entrepreneurs and business leaders share their ideas and expertise on how they launched their businesses and the lessons they learned throughout the process. UW-Eau Claire professor and faculty adviser for the Eau Claire CEO chapter, Tom Mihajlov, will also attend the event. “It is important for students to attend and participate in the National Conference because it is a place where aspiring entrepreneurs can network with their peers from other campuses around the country. They can also learn how to further develop leadership and chapter development skills,” states Tom.

New Venture for Volume One

BY Alysha Stoffel
Oct 13, 2015

Volume One decided to take a chance and pursue a “new venture” for the month of October. Nick Meyer, the owner/publisher of Volume One wanted to set up an event for community members to just well, hang out at. The string of events called The Night Market, take place every Friday night in October from 6-9pm. “We just really invest in the vibe. There’s live music in our outdoor courtyard, a small firepit, a local food truck, local tastings, a big sale under the lights on our sidewalk, and five or six different local makers on hand displaying their wares…" says Nick. Since its first event, Nick has been pleasantly surprised at the positive response from the community. “People really have latched onto the idea and spread the word,” he states. A magazine, event production company, retail store, and now a place for people to hang out at in October, The Night Market just goes to show that sometimes all it takes is a leap of faith to take something from an idea to reality.

Student Entrepreneur Spotlight: Taylor Pierce

BY Judy Berthiaume
Oct 21, 2015

When Taylor Pierce arrived on UW-Eau Claire’s campus she never imagined that her passion for baking would help her find a major — and hopefully a career — that she loves.The Ashwaubenon native will graduate in December with a degree in management with an entrepreneur emphasis, as well as with a plan to open her own Cupcakery, a cupcake bakery. “I’ve always had the passion and love for baking,” says Taylor. When Taylor earns her degree, she will be among the first Blugolds to have completed all the classes that are part of UW-Eau Claire’s recently revamped and growing entrepreneurial program. Now considered one of the most comprehensive programs in Wisconsin, nearly 75 Blugolds currently are entrepreneur majors or minors.

Entrepreneur Week Wraps Up

BY Alysha Stoffel
Oct 15, 2015

Entrepreneur Week wrapped up at the Volume One Gallery with local business owners, Marieke Penterman and Mickey Judkins. Marieke is the owner of Holland’s Family Cheese, and Mickey is the CEO of Details. Both women captured the audience by describing how they were able to create successful businesses by filling specific market niches. Check out the gallery tab to see more photos.

Entrepreneur Week's Third Event

BY Alysha Stoffel
Oct 13, 2015

On Wednesday, October 7th, the Acoustic Café was filled to capacity with entrepreneurs, Eau Claire community members and UW-Eau Claire students eager to learn how Jack Kaiser overcame a variety of barriers throughout his journey as an entrepreneur. Jack, the president/owner of Banbury Place, Inc. and partner/general manager of Cigan Properties, discussed how he transformed Banbury Place from a Uniroyal/Goodrich tire company to a multi-use, multi-tenant facility with over 150 tenants.

Entrepreneur Week Kicks Off With Coffee

BY Alysha Stoffel
Oct 9, 2015

Entrepreneur Week successfully kicked off with Jim Stewart, founder of Seattle’s Best Coffee, and his wife, Luz Marina Trujillo, who runs one of the most respected coffee estates in Costa Rica. The Eau Claire community, along with UW-Eau Claire students, faculty and staff filled the Haas Fine Arts Center lobby to learn about the struggles, successes and lessons learned throughout their lifelong journey as entrepreneurs. Check out the event photos in the gallery tab.

Startup Weekend Winners

BY Alysha Stoffel
Oct 7, 2015

Two UW-Eau Claire students, Brandon Cedarblade and Nick Scherrer, along with their partners Eric Charles, John Kane, and Nick Marzofka, were named winners of Eau Claire's first Startup Weekend on Sunday. The team's idea was to create an interactive visual marketing tool for jewelers. Over the course of Startup Weekend, they created a prototype and demonstrated the technology. Along with the winning title, their prize package includes $17,000 in start-up resources donated by businesses throughout the city of Eau Claire.

Don't Miss Entrepreneur Week Events

BY Alysha Stoffel & Ann Rupnow
Sep 30, 2015

Celebrate the culture of entrepreneurship in the Chippewa Valley during Eau Claire’s first ever Entrepreneur Week (October 5-8). Join us on Monday, Oct. 5 to kick off the weeklong event with Jim Stewart (UW-Eau Claire alum) - founder of Seattle's Best Coffee - and his wife, Luz Marina Trujillo, who runs one of the most respected coffee estates in Costa Rica. They will be telling their entrepreneurial story, and their passion for true fair trade. The event will begin at 5 p.m., in the Haas Fine Arts Center Lobby (121 Water Street, Eau Claire, WI). Costa Rican coffee and refreshments will be served.

Students Study Entrepreneur-ship

BY Alysha Stoffel
Sep 30, 2015

Entrepreneur students at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire learn a variety of skills to help them jump-start their entrepreneurial career. This introductory class uses lean launch methodology and LaunchPad Central software to search for viable business models around their ideas.

Startup Weekend Begins Friday

BY Alysha Stoffel
Sep 30, 2015

On Friday, October 2nd, eager marketers, product managers, developers, designers and startup enthusiasts will be walking through the doors of the new Lismore Hotel conference area in downtown Eau Claire. They will be sharing ideas, forming teams, building products, and competing for prizes as they seek to launch startups during Eau Claire’s first Startup Weekend. Register online or at the door.

Welcome to Startup Current

BY Ann Rupnow
Sep 30, 2015

Welcome to Startup Current, a website that is dedicated to promoting the culture of entrepreneurship across the entire Eau Claire region. Startup Current is a product of the UW-Eau Claire entrepreneur program, and will provide startup related photos/captions, and information about entrepreneur-related events. Check back often and don’t forget to show your support for startups in our region by signing the “We’re In” page.