The Manufacturing Idea Challenge is a strategic entrepreneurship initiative to encourage manufacturing idea generation and innovation to foster new businesses and increase the number of diverse manufacturing owners in Milwaukee’s 30th Street Corridor and in the Transform Milwaukee target area. Given the right incentives, opportunities, tools, and support, there are residents in Milwaukee’s inner city neighborhoods that can build this region’s future manufacturing enterprises that will create jobs, higher pay, and increase regional economic productivity.
The challenge winners receive cash in addition to technical assistance and business coaching from a host of qualified business sources (partners) to help take their ideas to the marketplace. The contests are open to traditionally under-served individuals (especially African-Americans and Hispanics) who want to start a manufacturing business in the target area.
Grant recipients will be directed to business services support inside the University of Wisconsin-Extension Division of Business and Entrepreneurship like the Small Business Development Center, the Center for Technology Commercialization, and Ideadvance Seed Fund and other select service providers that use lean start-up approaches to assess commercialization potentiality. These business service units will assist MDI in connecting grant awardees with mentors, customers, partners, investors, and others who have an interest in their idea.