Center for Entrepreneurship

The mission of the Madison College Center for Entrepreneurship is to strengthen communities through education, innovation and collaboration. We strive to plant the seeds of entrepreneurial thinking and to foster a culture of entrepreneurial action across all of Madison College.  Our goals are to:Entrepreneurship Center Madison College

  • Assist in the creation of new businesses within our district.
  • Assist in the retention of businesses within our district.
  • Provide tools for startups to launch and for early stage businesses to improve planning and to achieve growth.
  • Focus on providing resources to underserved populations within our district such as women and minority entrepreneurs.

Our Center seeks to leverage the talents of our distinguished faculty, and our world class campus infrastructure to add value to our regional entrepreneurship ecosystem while collaborating with existing organizations and promoting what others do best.

Business Planning

The Madison College Business Planning workshop series is designed to provide hands on information and planning tools for both novice and experienced entrepreneurs alike. This ongoing series will take participants from the exploratory stage of learning what entrepreneurship is, through the fundamental elements of putting together a business plan. Registered Madison College students are eligible to enter the Madison College Challenge business plan competition and compete for cash and in kind prizes, including a $5,000 grand prize.  

The Business Planning Series is free to Madison College students and to the general publicEntrepreneurs from communities surrounding Madison, Wisconsin are encouraged to attend. 

All events are 6 - 8 p.m. Register for our entrepreneurship workshops below.
Check out past events.

Dreaming of Becoming an Entrepreneur?

March 28, 2017 | South Campus | Presented by Jill Huizenga

Do you have ideas and aspirations, but aren't sure where to go or how to proceed? This informational and engaging workshop may spark your passion into a reality. Topics include the state of entrepreneurship (business ownership), the entrepreneurial mindset, characteristics of a successful entrepreneur, idea generation, and resources for your entrepreneurial journey. 


Financials for Startups

April 5, 2017 | Truax Campus, Room B3243 | Presented by Dan O'Brien

This workshop provides an introduction to the key financial reports used in all businesses. Topics covered will include balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements. Following this session participants will have an understanding of common performance metrics related to the practice of entrepreneurial finance. 


2017 Third Annual IceBreaker Event

April 28, 2017 | Kohl Center: 601 West Dayton Street, Madison, WI

IceBreaker returns for its third year with the theme “Prodigium,” which is Latin for an omen or sign of things to come and is the Latin root of prodigy. It could also be an element on Greater Madison’s periodic table – the “human element” that helps make our community unique, dynamic and forward-thinking.

This year’s speakers are Greater Madison prodigies, and they will address how this community’s innovation and entrepreneurial spirit have played an important role in fostering their own success and inspiring the next generation of talent.

IceBreaker is the only business event on the floor of the Kohl Center, featuring a high-quality production, engaging content and a room full of business leaders representing diverse industries.

Ticket to the event, lunch and transportation are FREE for Madison College students, faculty, and staff. Advanced Registration is required.


Past Events

Dreaming of Becoming an Entrepreneur?

February 1, 2017 | Presented by Jill Huizenga

Do you have ideas and aspirations, but aren't sure where to go or how to proceed? This informational and engaging workshop may spark your passion into a reality. Topics include the state of entrepreneurship (business ownership), the entrepreneurial mindset, characteristics of a successful entrepreneur, idea generation, and resources for your entrepreneurial journey. 

Business Model Canvas

February 15, 2017 | Presented by Jill Huizenga

Describe, design, invent, pivot, and discuss your business idea. The Business Model Canvas helps to tell the story of how you create, deliver, and capture value (for your organization). Join in on visualizing your plan through the Business Model Canvas as well as listening to some expert advice from guest speaker(s) and see what barriers and opportunities they found through their own business start up

Protecting your Intellectual Property

March 1, 2017 | Presented by Bryan Woodhouse & WiSys

Protecting intellectual property is essential to the success of any business. This workshop will cover the topics of patenting and licensing, and the resources available through WiSys Technology Foundation in transforming ideas into products.

Marketing and Social Media for Startups

March 8, 2017 | Presented by Steve Noll

Social Media is a critical part of a Small Business Marketing plan. Learn how to integrate tools like Facebook into establishing and growing an online presence for your business. Getting new likes/fans, content creation, paid vs free advertising and using Social Media PR will be covered (and more) to help make sure your business can launch with customers on day one.

Business Organizations, Tax, and Legal Status

March 22, 2017 | Presented by Jodi Cooper and Kim Varsho

There are a number of factors to keep in mind before starting your own business. Of all the choices you make when starting a business, one of the most important is the type of legal structure you select for your company. This workshop is an introduction to the basic forms of business enterprises. Sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, and LLCs will be examined and compared. Specific topics include forms of business organizations, structures of an enterprise, liability, and tax implications.

Chef Series

The Madison College Chef Series focuses on the entrepreneurial journey that each of our guest chefs has embarked on and the challenges they faced and overcame along the way. The evening will also cover methods of preparation they use, a cooking demonstration, and serving of appetizers prepared by the chefs.

Each presentation will be hosted in our new Culinary Arts program demonstration kitchen, located at the Truax campus in Madison, Wisconsin. The Chef Series is free to Madison College students and $25 for non-students. 

All events are 6-8 p.m. Limited seats available, RSVP below. Check out prior events.

The Making of Pig in a Fur Coat

April 19, 2017 | Truax Campus, Room B1285 | Presented by Chef Dan Bonanno


Sardine, Marigold, Gates and Brovi

May 10, 2017 | Truax Campus, Room B1285 | Presented by Chefs Phillip Hurley and John Gadau


Prior Events

The Heritage Farms Story

March 23, 2017

Owner and Executive Chef Dan Fox opened Heritage Tavern in 2013, which has been recognized for its upscale farm-to-table cuisine and approachable, classic atmosphere. Patrons enjoy twists on familiar dishes that use local and sustainable ingredients. The Chicago area native also has a passion for pigs—raising heritage breeds, that is. In 2011, he founded Fox Heritage Farms to raise heritage breeds of pigs including Hampshire-Yorkshire, Mangalitsas, Swabian Hall, Red Wattle and Tamworth-Hereford—all of which are prized by chefs for their flavor. Heritage Farms provides pigs to other Madison-area kitchens including Osteria Papavero, A Pig in a Fur Coat, Brasserie V, the Madison Club and Milwaukee-area restaurants. In 2011 Fox also founded Slopig, billed as a “celebration of heritage pigs and the people who drive the movement.” The successful culinary event features a celebrity chef competition, heritage pig tastings, butchery demonstrations and craft spirit tastings. Fox was Madison Magazine’s 2013 Chef of the Year and a James Beard semi-finalist for the Midwest region in 2015 and 2016.

Four Seasons Four Restaurants with Tory Miller

February 22, 2017

Tory Miller has created a small gustatory oasis in the heart of Madison with his four restaurants: L’Etoile, Graze, Sujeo, and Estrellón. Miller specializes in dishes made from locally grown, sustainable, organic ingredients, executed in part through a rigorous “put-by” system, in which he preserves summer produce for use year round. Before Miller was a devotee to sustainability, he was a graduate of the New York City’s French Culinary Institute (now the International Culinary Center). He worked in several of New York’s best restaurants, including Eleven Madison Park and Judson Grill, before arriving at L’Etoile to work as Odessa Piper’s chef de cuisine. In 2005, Miller purchased the restaurant with his sister and business partner, Traci Miller. Seven years later he earned L’Etoile’s second James Beard Award for “Best Chef, Midwest.”

Cookies & Cream with Mindy Segal

January 31, 2017

Mindy Segal opened HotChocolate Restaurant in 2005 after years of dedication to her craft and working in some of Chicago’s finest restaurants including, Ambria, Charlie Trotter’s, Marché and MK. In 2012, Mindy was awarded the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award for “Outstanding Pastry Chef” after receiving 5 nominations in previous years. Her best selling cookbook “Cookie Love” was released in the Spring of 2015. In 2016, Mindy partnered with Cresco Labs, Illinois’ largest cannabis cultivator. She is now giving back to those suffering from chronic conditions by reinventing the cannabis-infused sweets industry with her new product line. For more information please visit Chef Segal has appeared on The Today Show, The Martha Stewart Show, The Food Network and in Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, and The New York Times. 



Agriculture Events

Making Your Small Farm Profitable

April 11, 2017 | 6 - 8:30 p.m. | Limited space available, register below.
Madison College, Reedsburg Campus | Presented by Ron Bula, Laura Mortimer and Randy Zogbaum

Madison College, in partnership with Sauk County Conservation, Planning, and Zoning Department offers the “Making Your Small Lands Profitable” workshop series at the Reedsburg Campus on Tuesday April 11 from 6- 8:30 pm. This workshop will explore opportunities to raise your own food and earn income from your land. Ron Bula will share his entrepreneurial journey with their family farm and their progression and growth into a multi-species meat business. Laura Mortimer will share her entrepreneurial journey with her certified organic vegetable farm and CSA Orange Cat Community Farm and discuss adding a hoop house to extend the season. Randy Zogbaum, Madison College Agriculture Instructor, will discuss methods to evaluate whether your project is still a hobby or if it’s ready to move to formal farm business. The program will end with a tour of the Madison College hoop house guided by the current tenant Jos de Block, owner of de Block Nursery, who share his entrepreneurial journey to his current flower business.


Legal Education Events

The Madison College Paralegal program, along with community partners, presents a series of hands-on professional development opportunities. These legal education programs focus on technology use in the law office. Each session is designed to help make life easier by leveraging technology in easy, meaningful ways.  

View current offerings

UW Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic at Madison College

March 30, 2017 | 10 a.m. – noon | Truax Campus, Room D1630C 

To all Madison College Entrepreneurs seeking legal assistance – the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic will have hours on the Madison College Campus on Thursday, March 30th from 10 a.m. – noon for 20-minute screening interviews. To be considered for a screening appointment contact the Madison College Entrepreneurship Center at: sends e-mail) or 608-246-6349

About the Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic
The Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic (L&E Clinic) provides free legal services to blossoming entrepreneurs and early stage companies through the work of law students supervised by faculty and private sector attorneys.  We have three primary goals: 

  1. Provide high quality legal services to entrepreneurs and startup companies
  2. Train law students in the practical aspects of transactional law while providing a challenging academic experience
  3. Impact the economy by helping Wisconsin businesses launch and grow

We also strive to connect entrepreneurs with other resources in the entrepreneurial ecosystem who can help them launch.  This might include everything from prototyping resources to business planning, office space, mentoring, seed funding and more.

Client criteria
The L&E Clinic is designed to help entrepreneurs develop businesses that create a positive economic impact for the state of Wisconsin. We select applicants on the basis of all of the following criteria:

  • The applicant would otherwise be unlikely to obtain qualified legal advice
  • The applicant has not received a significant round of outside funding or financing from investors
  • The applicant’s place of business is within the jurisdiction of the state of Wisconsin
  • The work requested by the applicant is appropriate for students and presents an interesting educational opportunity

Learn more about the Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic

Notable community events

Startup Weekend | April 7-9, 2017 | University Research Park

Startup Weekend is a 54 hour event that brings together Madison designers, developers, entrepreneurs, and experts from all domains to do amazing things.

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and embark on a three-day frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekend culminates with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback

learn more


Madison College Challenge

The Madison College Challenge is a three phase business plan competition for registered Madison College students. Finalists who make it to the third and final phase have a chance to win upwards of a $5,000 cash prize. This can be awarded to an aspiring entrepreneur (or team of entrepreneurs) designated for startup funding within the Madison College district.  

Madison College Libraries

  • Resources on Entrepreneurship

  • Creator Studio The Madison College Libraries Creator Studio is a place that encourages innovative thinking and creative exploration for group and individual learners. It is designed to build community and self-discovery by providing tools that offer hands-on experiences and learning

WiSys Technology Foundation

Madison College has a formal technology transfer agreement with the WiSys Technology Foundation.  If you are a Madison College student, faculty, or staff with an idea or product in development WiSys may be able to help you protect your intellectual property and/or commercialize your product.  WiSys works with innovators with discoveries from all disciplines as well as stage of development.

For more information on how to access WiSys resources contact