While startup activity in Wisconsin has lagged behind other states, there is an emerging energy around supporting the development of early-stage companies across the state. A critical piece of any startup ecosystem are accelerators and incubators, which help entrepreneurs convert their ideas into successful business ventures and bring them to market.
Accelerator programs are typically fixed-length, structured programs that offer companies access to mentors, business coaching and intensive programming designed to develop different aspects of their businesses. Accelerators often offer financial support in the form of cash grants, debt, equity or other funding.
Incubators, on the other hand, generally do not have a fixed cohort length or program requirements, but instead offer an ongoing support system of coaching and connections as entrepreneurs develop their early-stage ventures. An incubator is more like a coworking space-with-benefits; companies have access to office space (often discounted) and office resources, but additionally to the structured guidance of the incubator’s team and network. Some incubators take equity and make seed investments, while others simply provide the benefit of access to seasoned entrepreneurs and peer startups. Read the full list here.