Online services and support for campus entrepreneurs


As of April 7, the information on this page has moved to a more user-friendly web page. Find the updated information here:

COVID-19 resources and services for entrepreneurs

As campus leadership monitors and responds to the spread of COVID-19, daily life has been disrupted for most of our community, but brilliant minds never stop innovating. Below is a listing of no or low-cost programs and services available from Innovate Network members and collaborators. Do you know of an entrepreneurial resource that we’ve missed? Drop us a line and we’ll add it to this list.

Note, The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation also curated a list of resources shared on their March 25 Entrepreneurons program focused on what entrepreneurs need right now, with offerings from a wide array of support organizations. See the list here.

Timely opportunities (live webinars, program deadlines, etc)

  • Wednesday, April 15 is the deadline to apply for grant funding for researchers to address COVID-19 from the Wisconsin Partnership Program (see details in funding section below).
  • Wednesday, April 22 @12:00 pm: Doyenne Ask A Coach is a live virtual coaching series that will be held monthly on Wednesdays via Zoom. The first session will take place on Wednesday, April 22 with Heather Wentler and Laura Gmeinder. Laura and Heather will answer questions about growing your venture that you send in ahead of time. Submit questions here.
  • Friday, May 8: Deadline to apply for the Center for Technology Commercialization’s SBIR Ready Course, which will take place fully online. Details here.
  • Friday, May 15: Deadline to apply for Discovery to Product’s Innovation to Market (I2M) course, open to UW faculty, staff, and students. The course will take place online if social distancing measures extend to the summer. Details here.

COVID-related research & funding

UW–Madison Vice Chancellor for Graduate Research and Education Steve Ackerman provided an update on March 30 on how the campus research community is responding to COVID-19.

UW–Madison Research and Sponsored Programs maintains a listing of research funding, including opportunities related to COVID-19 related research. They are also curating information about how COVID-19 is affecting sponsored programs.

The Wisconsin Partnership Program announced $1.5M in grant funding to help community organizations and UW–Madison researchers address the urgent challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more.

Virtual coaching, mentoring, and other services for entrepreneurs

The Center for Technology Commercialization’s team of consultants are available via phone, email or web conference to work on an SBIR/STTR proposal or commercialization plan.

Discovery to Product (D2P) is offering free online mentoring and entrepreneurial education for UW–Madison faculty, staff, and student innovators.

Jon Eckhardt (Pyle Bascom Professor in Business Leadership) is holding online community Zoom office hours. Feel free to set up a meeting if you would like someone to bounce ideas off of, fight loneliness, or if you need assistance. Register here.

The Madison Entrepreneurial Community has formed a LinkedIn group and invites all area entrepreneurs to join and network with others in the startup and entrepreneurial community to learn about additional resources.

The Small Business Development Center’s 13 offices statewide (including at UW–Madison) are working to support small business owners who are facing unprecedented and steep challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more here.

Wisconsin Startup Talent is a new site launched by the Madison entrepreneurial community to connect job seekers with companies that are hiring. See it here.

On-demand courses & webinar recordings

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and D2P hosted a virtual Entrepreneurons on March 25 entitled, “COVID-19: What Entrepreneurs Need to Know Now.” View it here.

BioForward hosted a panel on March 24 with some of its largest biohealth companies sharing best practices and guidance for smaller companies dealing with COVID-19. View it here.

Doyenne has just announced Learning Lab, a knowledge-sharing platform where members, coaches, and partners will create courses to equip entrepreneurs to handle common challenges. Their first course introduces the Doyenne 5x5x5 program and explains how to apply. Course listings here.

The Food Finance Institute has an on-demand course for food entrepreneurs on how to use their 13-week rolling cash flow template to help manage your cash during the pandemic. Take the course here.

The Small Business Development Center at UW Madison has developed a free online course called “First Steps to Starting a Business.” It can be taken anytime that is convenient for you, and it takes about 90 minutes to complete. Take the course.

UW Libraries has developed a series of free online micro-courses in partnership with the Graduate School and subject matter experts, including several topics relevant to innovators and entrepreneurs. Browse the course listings here.

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and D2P hosted the Innovation Roadmap workshop series in 2018 and 2019, featuring a range of workshops on how to start a company or spark change within an existing corporation. Watch session videos here.

Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC) is moving its classes online to a webinar format, supporting new entrepreneurs, seasoned business owners and anyone looking to improve their financial health. Browse webinars here.

Bunker Labs is a national organization offering support for active duty military, veterans and military spouses. Their Launch Lab Online program is an interactive entrepreneurial education program. Access it here.

Information on assistance for businesses & others impacted by COVID-19

The City of Madison has compiled a list of resources for businesses in Madison impacted by COVID-19. See them here.

The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce has a similar list. See it here.

BioForward has compiled a list of local and federal COVID-19 resources for the biohealth industry. See them here.

Gener8tor has published a step-by-step guide to applying for SBA Disaster loans. See it here.

WEDC has a list of resources for business statewide impacted by COVID-19. See them here.

UW–Extension has compiled a comprehensive list of resources for families, farms, and businesses. See them here.

Do you know of a low or no-cost program or service for campus entrepreneurs? Send us a note and we’ll add it to this list.