WARF UpStart Program for Minority and Women’s Entrepreneurship

The WARF UpStart Program provides free comprehensive classes for minority and women entrepreneurs in the Madison area.

With a welcoming environment and local focus, the several-week course covers the skills needed to plan, finance, organize and test a business idea. We’ll focus on fundamentals like marketing and customer strategy, goal setting and negotiation. We’ll also break down the biggest hurdles to success.
Sessions are taught by members of the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center, as well as active professionals with expertise in fields such as accounting, sales and marketing. Participants are part of a cohort of motivated individuals from diverse professional and educational backgrounds with whom they learn and share their own ideas and experiences.

Our curriculum provides practical advice and resources to help entrepreneurs turn ideas into enterprises. Class members have gone on to place their products on the shelves of major vendors, start small businesses and turn a profit.

Interested? Please fill out the application form so we can begin to learn about you and your entrepreneurial ideas. We look forward to meeting you soon!


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Class Schedule

Classes meet Tuesday evenings from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus in the Discovery Building and other nearby locations conveniently served by bus. Classes run for several weeks with sessions beginning in the winter and fall each year.

Week 1
Ideation Session to Spur New Business Ideas and Meet Everyone
Week 2
The Business Model Canvas
Week 3
Market Research
The Business Model Canvas Part II: Understanding Customer Segments
Week 4
Marketing and Sales Planning
Week 5 Using the Web for Your Business
Week 6 Insurance and Risk Management
Operations and Management
Week 7
Accounting, Recordkeeping and Basic Tax Issues
Week 8 Financial Projections
Week 9 Financing Your Business
Week 10
Legal Issues for Small Business
Week 11 Bridging the Gap: The Concept of a Business Plan