Starting Up While Staying In

Matt Burzec, a first year UW-Madison student living in the StartUp Learning Community, certainly knows how to make lemons out of lemonade—or at least how to build a thriving customized sneakers business in the face of COVID-19.

Matt contracted the virus his first week on campus in September, but during his time in isolation he applied for and was awarded a $1,000 Dream Big Grant from StartUp. This valuable funding, available only to StartUp students, allowed him to order supplies and begin more actively promoting his venture, Kicks of Chicago (KOC), on social media

“Once I got into isolation, I had a lot of time on my hands, so I launched my website and got other things done,” the Chicago native said. As a Wisconsin School of Business Management and Marketing double major, Burzec realized solitary time, not just for him, but for much of his target audience, was the perfect environment to get the word out about KOC—people were spending a lot of time online.

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