Profile Guidance

Logo that says Start In UW MadisonStart In UW-Madison is a directory of resources and programs offered by campus-based entities for campus audiences.  Campus-based entities, known as ESO’s (entrepreneurial service organizations) will enter and update profiles for their own organizations, programs and resources. The platform is administered by Discovery to Product (D2P) and hosted on its Innovate Network webpage.

To help optimize your profile and usability of the platform for campus audiences, D2P has developed the following guidance with input from a workgroup of campus stakeholders and the overall Start In Wisconsin team. To best serve campus users, we encourage you to customize your organization profile(s) based on the guidance below.

Especially during the first year of launch (starting fall 2020) D2P will regularly review the platform and user feedback, and we welcome your input as we work to optimize this platform to serve campus.

General guidance for Start In UW–Madison profile entry

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Do you already have a profile on the Madison region? Read this first!

If you already have an active profile on the Start In Madison Region page, you do not need to submit a separate profile for the campus implementation. Please scroll down to the FAQ section and read the instructions under “I already have a profile on the Madison Region” and “how to edit an existing profile” for guidance. Questions? Contact us.

1. Profiles:  Focus on resources, not organizations

Users of the Start In UW–Madison resource navigator will be searching for resources based on specific needs they have. To make it easy for users to find the information they need, we encourage you to think of profile(s) not only as organization listings, but also as resource listings. Campus ESO’s are encouraged to craft separate profile listings for distinct resource offerings within larger organizations. These separate profile listings may be in addition to, or possibly instead of, an overall organization profile.  Annual competitions for students, co-working spaces, prototyping facilities, or funding opportunities are good examples of distinct offerings that may be submitted as standalone resource listings.

Based on our understanding of the Start In platform and your organization, D2P can provide an initial recommendation for your consideration of what profiles to create. You are welcome to confer with D2P and to modify the suggested approach after reviewing this profile guidance.

When to consider listing a separate profile for a resource?

  • The resource is tailored to a unique or specific target audience within the UW–Madison innovator community. For example, a resource that is ONLY open to graduate students or post-docs, or a resource that only serves researchers developing discoveries in a particular industry area.
  • The resource is a signature event or program (criteria below)
    • Stand-alone and held once annually
    • Track record of high attendance/demand
    • Distinct established brand and identity (has its own website/page)
  • The resource is a funding opportunity for campus innovators
  • The resource is a space/place for campus innovators
  • The resource is a competition for campus innovators

2. Logos: square formats work best

You may upload a logo in any format you wish, but because of the platform layout, rectangular format logos can be harder to see and read. If you have a square format logo, that will work best. If you don’t have a square format logo, or if the resource you are submitting doesn’t have a specific logo, it’s OK to submit a profile without one.

3. Contact:  List the appropriate contact person

Please note that when entering the name, email address, and phone number for the profile entry, you should list the person who can field incoming inquiries about the resource and answer questions. The idea is for users to quickly get connected with the right person who can help.

We understand that the person who is entering the profile may not be the main contact person for the resource. If the person entering the profile is different than the resource listed, please email D2P to share the name and email address of the point person for profile entry, so we can be sure to loop that person in on communications about the profile moving forward.

4. Descriptions:  Use the principles of pitching to describe what you offer and who it’s for

Many of us coach aspiring entrepreneurs to communicate their value proposition in clear, concise language, with their customer’s needs in mind.  Similarly, we advise ESO’s to craft profile descriptions  to include a quick “pitch” that helps users quickly understand if the resource is a match for their needs. In other words, craft the profile from the campus innovator perspective so they can see “Is this for me, is it what I am looking for?” versus an “about us” approach. We invite you to use the “Mad Libs” style prompts below to craft your pitch.  This pitch can be used for the “Quick description” field, and it can serve as the first sentence of the “Full description” field on the profile application form.

Pitch-style template:

We do/create/provide: Our services or program
For: e.g., graduate students, post-docs, faculty, alumni
Who wants or needs to: Do something, e.g., find funding, bring their technology to market, develop their idea
Through or by Training, a grant, a competition, a program, connection to industry

5. Descriptions: Use keywords to improve searchability

While there is no specific field within the Start In platform to enter keywords, we encourage ESO’s to craft the language used for profiles to include common terms that your clients use to search for your services. This will make it easier for users of the Start In platform to find what they are looking for. The power of keywords lies in better understanding your target market and how they are searching for your content, services, or products. You can connect with your organization’s communication staff to ask for information from Google Analytics to learn what terms are currently used in search engines to drive traffic to your organization’s website. You should avoid the use of jargon or undefined acronyms in your profile– try to spell things out using average language whenever possible.

6. Completing the "Overview" section of the profile

In the profile section labeled “Overview,” you will find a number of questions about the specific audiences served by your resource– by stage of business, geographic region, types of businesses, and specific university audiences eligible for the resource. Please note, these fields will not show up anywhere on your profile page. They serve as search filters only. Users can choose to search the Resource Navigator by selecting various items from the drop-down menus in the search toolbar. The selections you make in the “overview” section will help categorize your profile for these targeted searches.

7. Region: Be sure to select the Madison Region

There are two questions on the profile application about region, one about the regions you support, and the other about your primary region. Select the Madison Region for both.

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8. Selecting services you offer

The services area of your profile helps categorize the assistance you offer to entrepreneurs. Services selected will show up in your profile area in a bulleted list under your description, and will aid users who search using the “area of assistance” drop-down menu in the search toolbar. While we recognize that the services section is not customized for a university setting, you must select at least one service for your profile to be complete. Note, marking “Specialize in Service” means you are an expert in that particular area. To keep the platform focused and useful for entrepreneurs, we ask that you not select more than 5 areas of specialty in the services part of your profile.

9. Model profiles

Sometimes it can be helpful to look at an existing profile to get a better idea of how to shape your own. Here are a few examples of profiles that model the best practices outlined in this profile guidance.

Examples of organizational profiles:

Examples of specific resource profiles:

FAQ's and platform help

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I hit submit on my profile and got a blank page. Did you get it?

After you submit your profile, there is a short time delay before you receive an email confirmation of your submission. Please give it at least 30-60 minutes. Also note, after you hit “submit,” the submission form does not automatically reload to show the top of the page, so it may look like the screen is blank, but it’s not– just scroll back up to the top.

What is the profile review & approval process?

After you submit your profile, the Start In system will generate an automatic email notification to the resource contact listed on the profile. Note, there is a short time delay before this happens– give it 30-60 minutes to show up in your inbox, and if you don’t see it, be sure to check the junk folder. The system will also generate a notification of a new profile for D2P staff. During Fall 2020 onboarding, D2P staff will strive to review and approve profiles as quickly as possible. You should expect to hear back from D2P within 1-3 business days of your profile submission.

If the person who submitted the profile is different than the main contact listed on the profile, email D2P with the name and email address of the point person for profile entry so that we can loop them in.

After review, D2P will share any suggestions for profile optimization or edits. D2P will also share the login credentials that can be used to update your profile(s) as needed in the future. Moving forward, D2P will reach out to campus ESO’s regularly to ensure the platform stays current.

I'm part of a student organization on campus. Can we be listed?

Start In Wisconsin requires a long-term contact to own the profile. Because the nature of student organizations means that leadership changes quite frequently, the Innovate website lists student organizations outside of Start In Wisconsin. The organizations can be found on this student resources page. We welcome suggestions for additions to that list!

I'm not a campus entity, but I'd love to market my offering to campus-- how do I do that?

The campus implementation of Start In Wisconsin has been customized to reflect the needs of university-specific programming. To keep the platform focused and avoid duplication of the Start In Madison region, we are only listing resources from campus entities that serve campus audiences.  All other resources are encouraged to submit a profile to the Madison region.

I want to list an event. Can I do that here?

The Innovate website has a great calendar of events section, and we welcome your event additions to that page. Events are pulled in automatically from listings on Simply tag your events with the term “innovate” to have them pulled in to the Innovate website for review and inclusion on the events page.

If your organization hosts a large annual event that meets the guidelines outlined in the general profile guidance section above, it can be submitted for review to Start In UW-Madison.

I already have a profile on the Start In Madison Region page. What do I have to do to get it on the campus page?

If you have a resource that is available to both community and campus audiences, you may already have a profile for it on the Start In Madison Region directory. Unless you want to re-shape your approach to the profile (for example, by separating distinct resources with their own profile listings), you will not need to create a whole new profile to get the resource listed in the Start In UW‑Madison directory. All you need to do is edit your existing profile and complete some additional fields that have been created for the campus customization. The information you fill in for these fields will only be visible on the campus implementation. A summary of the new terms and fields and where to find them in the profile form is below.

New Options to complete for Start In UW–Madison Where to find it on the Profile Entry Form Where to find it on the Resource Navigator
New Category to complete: Campus audiences served (faculty, staff, students, post-docs, etc) Overview University Audiences search filter
New option to select under “Business Stage”  Pre-Inception / Interest / Learning Business Stage Business Stage search filter
Under “Events and Community Building,” new option  “Competitions and Awards” Services You Offer – Provide Service and Specialize in Service Area of Assistance/Specific Need search filters
Under “Space and Equipment,” new option  “Equipment / Prototyping” Services You Offer – Provide Service and Specialize in Service Area of Assistance/Specific Need search filters

Also Note:  The following changes will be made to some of the “Area of Assistance” and “Specific Need” search terms to better reflect campus needs. These will be updated automatically; you don’t need to do anything.

  • “Training” will become “Training and Education”
  • “Space” will become “Space and Equipment”
  • “Legal Services” will become “Legal and Intellectual Property Services”

How do I update an existing profile?

There are two ways to update an existing profile.

  1. Start In Wisconsin has a built-in feature called the “magic link” that you can use. Using the magic link will generate an automatic email to the person listed as the referral contact for the resource with instructions for how to reset the password.  View instructions from Start In Wisconsin on how to use the magic link. If you are having trouble using the magic link, email D2P and we can share login credentials for you to edit an existing profile.
  2. After your profile is approved and published on the Start In UW-Madison Resource Navigator, D2P will assign you a user name and password that can be used to update your profile in the future. If you don’t remember your user name and password, email D2P to ask for it.