How can Southeastern Wisconsin grow its knowledge economy? Entrepreneurship and small business acceleration are an importnt component of any strategy. Thi study recommends an innovative approach - a network of coworking centers targeting the knowledge sector with access to specialized software and technical resources.

Within just three sectors - information, professional, scientific and technical services, and management of companies - There are more than 19,000 businesses with fewer than ten employees, along with self proprietorships, emerging entrepreneurs, and people thinking of starting a business. More knowledge economy businesses can be found in other industry sectors.

These businesses share common needs such as access to software and technology, assistance in sales and marketing, collaboration and networking opportunities, and general business management assistance. Existing programs (like those offered through the Small Business Development Centers) may address some of these needs, but not all, and not customized to knowledge businesses.

The study proposes a unique entrepreneurial development and small business acceleration platform. It proposes to develop a network of coworking centers throughout the region. Coworking is an emerging concept in which solo entrepreneurs contractors, and micro-businesses share office space, with options such as daily, weekly, and monthly rental of a desk, office or suite. Centers usually provide conference and meeting space, audiovisual equipment, and standard office equipment. As conceptualized here, the coworking centers will also offer access to software (CAD, GIS, and other programs) and hardware such as plotters and binding equipment which can be very costly for start-up businesses.

3090 S. Country Lane
New Berlin, WI 53146
(262) 510-2131
Next Steps: The next step in implementing this project will be to gather a core group of communities and economic development partners who will define an operating structure, conduct site-level feasibility analysis, prepare a business plan, and fund implementation.
Entrepreneurship, Business Acceleration, and Co-Working Study
Southeastern Wisconsin
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