Former Madison mayoral candidate and City Council member Scott Resnick has been named the executive director of StartingBlock, an “entrepreneurial hub” intended to support local startup businesses.
“There are obviously challenges in Wisconsin for creating startups in general,” Resnick said. “There is a culture we’re going to be up against, but it’s an exciting opportunity to have that conversation about where we’re going in the 21st century.”
A report issued earlier this month by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a Missouri-based nonprofit that focuses on entrepreneurship and education, rated Wisconsin last in the United States for startup activity.
Starting Block, which will be located on the 800 block of E. Washington Ave. in a yet-to-be-built development, will bring local startup-supporting organizations Capital Entrepreneurs, Gener8tor and Sector67 under one roof.
The organization’s goal, according to its website, is to connect entrepreneurs, investors, advisors and community members to “share innovative ideas and create next-generation businesses.”
“We have a number of companies in the Madison area who are looking to how to be innovative,” Resnick said. “(StartingBlock) is about catalyzing entrepreneurship in the Madison region.”
He said the organization will be a “safe space” for entrepreneurs and will focus on mid-career changers looking to start their own business – “someone who may have been employed with the same company for 10 years and is now looking for guidance and mentorship on how to create a startup at 35 or 40 (years old).”
StartingBlock is currently working toward fulfilling a $1.5 million fundraising goal. They recently received large donations from the MG&E Foundation ($150,000) and the Evjue Foundation ($50,000). The organization has also received financial support from the City of Madison and American Family Insurance, Resnick said.
StartingBlock is planning to open its offices in the winter of 2016.