Milwaukee to “Scale-Up” Local High Growth Ventures using OPEN for Enterprise Model Commissioned by American Express OPEN

Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:01am EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

-First-Ever Project in the U.S. to Build upon Expert Daniel Isenberg`s
Methodologies to Foster Self-Sustaining Entrepreneurship Ecosystems- 
MILWAUKEE--(Business Wire)--
Today, the Greater Milwaukee Committee (GMC), a coalition of the region`s
business, labor, academic, philanthropic, nonprofit and civic leadership,
announced that Milwaukee will be the first community in the U.S. to develop an
entrepreneurship program using a model developed by Daniel Isenberg, founding
executive director of the Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Projects. The
initiative is backed by Governor Scott Walker and Mayor Tom Barrett as part of a
bipartisan effort to grow the economy by stimulating high-growth ventures and
encouraging job creation. 

OPEN for Enterprise: Coalitions for High-Growth Entrepreneurship is designed to
help high potential urban communities connect a diverse group of stakeholders,
including city planners, private investors, academics, entrepreneurs and public
officials, to help maximize the social and economic value of the community`s
entrepreneurship ecosystem. Merging their collective expertise, the coalition
can help to develop community programs that identify new ways to stimulate,
support and "scale up" new and existing ventures. 

Milwaukee, with its strong focus on urban planning, engineering and a strategic
priority to reclaim manufacturing excellence, is a natural choice for this
initiative. Working closely with GMC, the Wisconsin Economic Development
Corporation (WEDC), the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development
Administration (WHEDA) and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM), the
Coalition will produce an actionable blueprint for Milwaukee that can help lead
to a measurable increase in growth driven start-ups and successful scale-ups. 

The OPEN for Enterprise model is based on Isenberg`s work in testing and
validating entrepreneurship ecosystems abroad, including successful programs in
Colombia, Brazil and Denmark to foster policies, institutions and cultures that
stimulate long-term economic growth, development and prosperity through programs
and workshops. The same assets that exist in these countries are evident in
Milwaukee, the first U.S. city to incubate Isenberg`s model. 

"By nurturing an environment for scalable Wisconsin-based businesses, Greater
Milwaukee Committee`s partnership with Daniel Isenberg and American Express OPEN
will help to support the State`s pledge to bring 250,000 jobs to Wisconsin -
one-third of which will come from Milwaukee," said Governor Scott Walker. 

"We have growing companies that need skilled workers, and Milwaukee residents
who need jobs," said Mayor Tom Barrett. "I am proud of this partnership and
pleased that Milwaukee is leading the way." 

Through these partnerships, local communities using the OPEN for Enterprise
model will target the development of high-growth, entrepreneurial firms, which
can have a positive impact on job creation and strengthen local economies. In
2011, 12.3% of working age adults were starting or running new businesses,
representing a more than 60% jump from 20101. And yet, 82% of U.S. businesses
are sole proprietorships2. 

"OPEN for Enterprise will help communities foster an environment in which
growth-oriented entrepreneurial businesses can thrive," said Susan Sobbott,
president of American Express OPEN. "Our ultimate goal is to help empower
communities to stimulate economic growth expansion and development through
high-growth entrepreneurship in a given locale." 

"Working closely with our partners, we are eager to construct a tangible plan
that cultivates a self-sustaining and holistic ecosystem for entrepreneurship,"
said Julia Taylor, Greater Milwaukee Committee president. "We`re pleased that
Milwaukee was chosen to conduct this ground-breaking initiative." 

"Forward-looking policy, culture and the private sector are critical for
high-growth ventures and can bring extraordinary value to a city," said Daniel
Isenberg. "OPEN for Enterprise focuses on scale-ups and a growth mindset to
generate significant job growth and create a culture that propels the growth of
other entrepreneurial firms to follow." 

Milwaukee`s program will kick-off with a public event on May 6. For more
information, visit 

About The Greater Milwaukee Committee

The Greater Milwaukee Committee is a private sector civic organization whose
mission is to contribute to the cultural and economic base of the Milwaukee
metropolitan area. The organization was formed in 1948 and is comprised of the
top leaders in business, the professions, labor, education philanthropy and
nonprofit community development. For more information, visit
or call 414-272-0588. 

About Daniel Isenberg

Daniel Isenberg is a Babson Global professor of entrepreneurship practice and
the founding executive director of the Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project
(BEEP), the global action research subsidiary of Babson College that helps
societies around the world create the policies, structures, programs and culture
that foster entrepreneurship. In June 2010 Harvard Business Review published his
"How to Start an Entrepreneurial Revolution," as the "Big Idea" feature article,
and is publishing his forthcoming book, Worthless Impossible and Stupid: How
Contrarian Entrepreneurs Create and Capture Extraordinary Value. 

Isenberg has taught at Harvard, Columbia, Insead, Reykjavik, Theseus, and the
Technion, and has been an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and active angel
investor. Isenberg has a Ph.D. from Harvard University. 

About American Express OPEN

American Express OPEN is the leading payment card issuer for small businesses in
the United States and supports business owners and entrepreneurs with products
and services to help them run and grow their businesses. This includes business
charge and credit cards that deliver purchasing power, flexibility, rewards,
savings on business services from an expanded lineup of partners and online
tools and services designed to help improve profitability. Learn more at and connect with us at,,,,

American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access
to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business

Key links to products and services: charge and credit cards, business credit
cards, travel services, gift cards, prepaid cards, merchant services, business
travel, and corporate card. 

1Report by Baruch College and Babson College 

2 American Express OPEN`s 2012 analysis of the most recent Census data

Greater Milwaukee Committee
Laurel Osman, 414-905-0104
M Booth
Moon Kim, 212-539-3285
American Express OPEN
Scott Krugman, 212-640-3244

Copyright Business Wire 2013

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