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:

  • 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.  

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The Center for Entrepreneurship provides a variety of workshops and events designed to provide hands-on information and planning tools for both novice and experienced entrepreneurs. This ongoing series covers topics from the exploratory stage of learning what entrepreneurship is, through the fundamental elements of putting together a business plan. 

Entrepreneurs from communities surrounding Madison, Wisconsin are encouraged to attend. 

Attendees can park in any marked stall in the student parking lot. View our campus map.

Fall 2019 Schedule

Tackling the Scary Business Plan 

Presenter: Kay-Tee Olds 

Tuesday, October 22 
5:30 - 7:30 p.m. 
Truax Campus - Room D1630B 


Business planning is the most crucial stage for aspiring entrepreneurs. Not only is it a process to test the viability of your new idea and a guideline for your business operations, it is a required component of acquiring funding. Yet, developing the business plan is a big hurdle due to its extensiveness and technicality, so much so that many startup hopefuls often become exhausted and uninspired, and new ideas are delayed or killed during incubation. 




Lunch & Learn – Finance Your Business with Kiva  

Presenters: Nichole Crust and Andrea Hughes 

Tuesday, October 29 
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. 
Truax Campus - Room E1874 


Explore new and creative methods for funding your business. Find out how Kiva and WWBIC work together to provide funding for your business. Not familiar with KIVA?  Come and learn more about this fundraising/lending platform. 




Overcoming Obstacles in Business 

Presenter: Dione Laufenberg 

Wednesday, October 30 
5:30 - 7:30 p.m. 
Truax Campus - Room D1630B 


The business world is ever changing therefore your vision and strategy must also change if you want to see growth.  The business plan you start with is based on the current climate, trends and your hypothesis of what your target customer want or need. Once you have established your business and opened your shop, you need to be constantly gathering data, feedback and adjusting your concept per your actual sales.   With over ten years in the wellness/beauty industry Dione has had to find ways to stay on top of the latest trends.  She grew her Boutique day spa business during the toughest financial climate.  With a new product based e-commerce business, she is once again finding innovative solutions to fulfill her customer’s needs. 




Business Basics for New Startups

Presenter: Tom Bader

Tuesday, November 5
5:30 - 7:30 p.m. 
South Campus - Room 118


Tom will be covering basic topics such as insurance planning considerations for small businesses, address topics like employee benefits plans to attract/retain key employees, ways for business owners to take advantage of programs that are available to them, and how to network with other business owners to drive referrals for their business.


Lunch & Learn – An Entrepreneur's Guide to Coworking 

Presenter: Claudia Seidenberg 

 Tuesday, November 12 

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. 
Truax Campus - Room E1874 


Join Claudia Seidenberg, Executive Director of 100state, Wisconsin's largest coworking community, for a breakdown of Madison's coworking ecosystem, a discussion on the benefits of coworking, and what type of space is right for you as an entrepreneur. Whether you have questions, are considering taking the coworking leap, or just want to learn something new, this session will be a great opportunity to get to know this exciting aspect of the entrepreneur community. 



To Hire or Not to Hire?

Presenters: Todd Starkey and Sharon Egan

Tuesday, December 3
5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
South Campus – Room 118


Congratulations!  Your business is growing to the point where you may be considering a regular staff person or people to help.  How do you know when that is?  What is there to consider?  Your first hire is critical to your vision.  What about a Contractor?  Hiring Family or Friends?  Todd Starkey and Sharon Egan of The QTI Group’s HR Services Team will talk about things to ponder, walk through some scenarios and the pitfalls to avoid. 



Lunch & Learn – Presentation Tips

Presenter: Shana LaFore

Tuesday, December 10
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 a.m.
Truax Campus – Room 1874


Have a fabulous product or service, but it feels like people just don’t “get it”? Need to make a pitch or present an idea, but are unsure how to even begin? During this lunch and learn Shana LaFore will share tips on how to present yourself and your work in a compelling and impactful way to attract attention and compel viewers to take action. The session will cover both visual presentation techniques as well as how to talk about (and ultimately sell) your work.  





Chef Series

Events will be hosted in our new Culinary Arts demonstration kitchen, located at the Truax campus in Madison, Wisconsin. The Chef Series is free to Madison College Culinary students, $5 for Madison College students and $35 for non-students. 

Kyle Cherek

Don't miss these exciting talks and culinary presentations for the 2019-20 Madison College Chef Series, presented by The Vollrath Company and hosted by Kyle Cherek - culinary historian, food essayist, and 11 year host of the Emmy Award-winning television show Wisconsin Foodie on PBS. For over a decade, Kyle has chronicled regional food stories, exploring where our food comes from and how it shapes who we are.


2019-20 Chef Series Dates


Michael Twitty 

Michael Twitty

The Cooking Gene/Book

Wednesday, October 23
5-8 p.m.
Truax Campus - Diane's Dinner (B1285)

Michael W. Twitty is a noted culinary and cultural historian who interprets the experiences of enslaved African Americans through food and its preparation. He created, the first blog devoted to African American historic foodways and their legacy, and was honored by as one of twenty greatest food bloggers of all time. He has appeared on Bizarre Foods America with Andrew Zimmern, Many Rivers to Cross with Dr. Henry Louis Gates, and has lectured to more than 250 groups, including Yale, Oxford and Carnegie Mellon Universities, Colonial Williamsburg, and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Twitty has been invited to speak around the world – his work has been featured in publications including Ebony, The Guardian, and NPR’s Codeswitch blog.  He has appeared on frequently on NPR and has being interviewed on the acclaimed food program, The Splendid Table. 

Twitty has served as a judge for the James Beard Awards, is a Smith fellow with the Southern Foodways Alliance and a TED fellow and speaker.  He has been named one of “Fifty People Changing the South” by Southern Living and one of the “Five Cheftavists to Watch” by TakePart.Com. HarperCollins released his first major book in 2017: The Cooking Gene, which won the 2018 James Beard Award for best writing and book of the year. His piece on visiting Ghana for the first time, published in 2018 in Bon Appetit earned him a second James Beard nomination.


Yia Vang 

Yia Vang

Wednesday, November 13 

5-8 p.m.
Truax Campus - Diane's Dinner (B1285)

Yia Vang was born in a refugee camp in Thailand and his father and mother moved their family to the US in 1988.

He is the founder of Union Hmong Kitchen, a Twin Cities-based Hmong pop-up restaurant that is now currently doing a residency at Sociable Cider Werks. He is passionate about making the food he grew up with more accessible to non-Hmongs, while also passing traditions down to the next generation of Hmong Americans.

 While working in some of the foremost kitchens of Minneapolis he began to find his own voice in showcasing Hmong food. His belief is that Hmong food isn’t a type of food but it’s a philosophy of food. Hmong food is not defined by its product. It’s defined by its process. He believes that the melding of many cultures plays a role in the cultural DNA of the Hmong people.

 "Our history is intrinsically woven into the food we eat," he says. "Every dish has a narrative, and if you follow that narrative closely enough, you understand the people." Yia also brings flavor, fire, and a passion for storytelling through food.


Graham Elliot

Petite Harvest & Coast

Wednesday, December 11

5-8 p.m.
Truax Campus - Diane's Dinner (B1285)
Details coming soon...

Phillip Foss

El Ideas

Wednesday, January 29

5-8 p.m.
Truax Campus - Diane's Dinner (B1285)
Details coming soon...

Zach Engel  


Wednesday, February 26

5-8 p.m.
Truax Campus - Diane's Dinner (B1285)
Details coming soon...

Lisa Ludwinski 

Sister Pie

Wednesday, March 11

5-8 p.m.
Truax Campus - Diane's Dinner (B1285)
Details coming soon...


Gavin Kaysen  

Wednesday, April 15

5-8 p.m.
Truax Campus - Diane's Dinner (B1285)
Details coming soon...



Tony and Cathy Montuano

Wednesday, May 6

5-8 p.m.
Truax Campus - Diane's Dinner (B1285)
Details coming soon...
Resident Entrepreneurs

Meet with the experienced and knowledgeable Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIRs) and learn about our workshops and events that will prepare you for success as an entrepreneur in a rapidly evolving business world, or schedule a one-on-one consultation to talk about your business idea.

Office hours: Walk-ins available, however appointments are encouraged. Please email us at or contact on of the EIR's directly to set up an appointment

2019-20 EIR's

Genia Stevens


Genia Stevens is the owner of Belwah Media, an integrated marketing communications agency and founder of Belwah Strategy, a strategic planning agency. Genia’s also a design thinking practitioner who helps organizations develop strategies that focus on success through collaborative problem-solving. Her agency Belwah Media has been awarded the LGBT Business of the Year Award and is also part of the Forbes Agency Council, an invite-only organization for successful and diverse executives in marketing, PR, media, and advertising. Genia’s areas of expertise are strategic planning, marketing strategy development, social media marketing, marketing analytics, business plan development, and community outreach and engagement.

Genia is a Forbes columnist and you’ll also find her writing on, Social Media Today, and Business 2 Community. Currently, Genia is serving as a board member of Collaboration for Good and the Foundation for Madison Public Schools. She volunteers 10 hours each month coaching and training nonprofits and social enterprises on marketing, volunteer recruitment and retention, and improving their fundraising strategies. She’s also currently volunteering as a coach for the Social Good Accelerator, a collaborative initiative with the purpose of building ways and means for individuals and organizations that intentionally operate to address inequalities and expand prosperity.

Genia received her Bachelor’s degree from Beloit College (Beloit, WI) and her MBA from Cardinal Stritch University (Milwaukee, WI).

Please contact Genia at or Click here to schedule an appointment with Genia.

Scott Kohl

Scott Kohl

Scott Kohl is a serial entrepreneur, public speaker and product designer who has 20+ years’ experience advising fellow startups and consulting with F500 enterprises on innovation, engagement, business model creation, and organizational development. He believes in the power of failure, discomfort and small data as means to develop trust, empathy, relationships and innovative cultures.

Scott is a UW Alumni with MBA from UW Madison and bachelors in Economics. He’s certified in project management and has trained in lean startup from Intuit Alumni of the 100 startups in 100 days initiative. Recently his company, ThirdSpace, was a finalist for the most innovative company in Madison.

When he’s “not riding the white lightning” of startup life, he enjoys landscaping, outdoor hikes, building legos and playing Minecraft with his 5-year-old son.

Please contact Scott at


Brian Lee 

Brian Lee

Brian Lee, APR, is the president of Revelation PR, Advertising & Social Media, an integrated communications agency he founded in January 2011.

In addition to serving as an entrepreneur-in-resident at Madison College, Brian is a part-time lecturer on social media in the School of Continuing Education. He also is an instructor in the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation’s UpStart program for female and minority entrepreneurs.

Brian earned his Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) in 2011 and a certificate in reputation management in 2017. In 2015, he was selected for the State of Wisconsin’s Business Intelligence Team (a part of the National Center for Economic Gardening) as a digital marketing specialist who works with second-stage companies throughout the state.

A serial entrepreneur, Brian is the editor-in-chief of Madison Startups, an online publication that covers startup news in town. He also runs, a restaurant and bar guide that is searchable by amenities, as well as Revelation Events, a corporate events planning business.

Brian graduated from UW-Madison with a degree in journalism and major in strategic communications.

Office hours for Brian are: 9-11 a.m. on the second Tuesday of the month at Traux and 9-11 a.m. on the fourth Tuesday of the month at West campus. Please contact Brian directly to schedule one-on-one meetings outside of these hours.

Please contact Brian at


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 and stages of development.

For more information on how to access WiSys resources contact

American Family Dream Bank

The American Family Dream bank offers valuable talks and events for entrepreneurs.  View their current offerings.


#Faces of Founders: A discussion of entrepreneurship, race, place and gender. 

American Bar Association

ABA guide to starting a new business. This resources explains the fundamentals of funding a small business, typical laws and regulations that impact small businesses and issues that are unique to home-based businesses.



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