Whitewater Tech Park gives startups a head start

WUTP enters 10th year of existence and has over 25 companies

In 2009, Whitewater was awarded a $4.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration to build the state-of-the-art innovation complex later named the Whitewater University Technology Park (WUTP).

Over a decade later, the WUTP has evolved into a hotbed for startup companies such as the UW-Whitewater Launchpad program and other startup style companies based on their incubator style development plan, which begins at the WUTP Innovation Center.

The innovation houses over 25 clients/tenants who use the center as a place to work smarter with resources or consultation provided by WUTP.

These companies are brought on by the WUTP board to give them a small work space and consultation resources to run their day-to-day business. The hope is these companies will grow out of the Innovation Center and build their headquarters on one of the building sites on the 130-acres of land designated for the WUTP.

Affiliation with UW-Whitewater is a crucial part to the overall success of WUTP. Mark Johnson, executive director of WUTP, sees this as a competitive advantage.

“The university provides a faculty, operations and employees for the student and because of that there is a synergy that is between the businesses at the Innovation Center and the university resources,” said Anderson.

Kristina Koslosky, the founder of Kreative Solutions LLC., which is a tenant of the Innovation Center, graduated from UW-Whitewater in 2015.

After graduation, she worked within a company who hired a marketing agency to rebrand and redesign their website. She found her calling in rebranding, designing websites, digital marketing and creating sustainable strategies for online success. She quickly realized she loved the creative and hands-on aspect of the service.

Koslosky knew of the WUTP initiative from her time at UW-Whitewater, and she went back to school here at UW-Whitewater for her MBA. She enlisted the help of her mentors Johnson and Kristen Burton, board members of the WUTP, who helped her get Kreative Solutions started in the Innovation Center.

“The Whitewater Innovation Center provided the opportunities for me to recognize my passion and gave me the confidence to pursue my dream,” said Koslosky. “Thanks to Whitewater, Kreative Solutions has expanded to logo design and digital marketing consulting.”

One of the tenants of the program is UW-Whitewater’s Launchpad program, which is an accelerated entrepreneurship opportunity where you present a business idea to a panel of potential investors, and if the program decides to bring your idea on, they will assist you in making your dream a reality at the innovation center.

In addition, Innovation Center does not just have opportunities for those trying to make their own businesses. With the relationship between the park and the university prevalent, there are a number of opportunities for student interns to join one of these startups to gain valuable experience.

Kristin Holtan, an entrepreneurship major at UW-Whitewater, got her start with WUTP as a freshman when she got involved in Launchpad for her business SOCIALIGHTZ, which specializes in LED light kits for skateboards and snowboards.

Because of the community atmosphere between the businesses at the Innovation Center, she was able to work and earn a job as a marketing director with BlueLine, another lighting company which holds their operations in the Innovation Center.

“The Innovation Center is such as positive space. One of the best parts about it is the collaboration that goes on with the other businesses,” said Holtan. “Another major perk is the business and professional resources that are available to the clients.”

This is just the beginning of what is possible for the WUTP.     They are hitting their stride and bringing on some potential big winners with these companies. Anderson was very clear that the success is not short lived

“In 5-10 years we will have more success stories revolved around students and their ability to get involved and jobs with these companies that are here in Whitewater,” Anderson said.

If you are interested in learning more about the WUTP or take a tour please visit whitewatertechpark.org.