Milwaukee startup accelerator opens application process

Wisconsin's aspiring entrepreneurs will have a new opportunity for growth in the spring, when Ward4, a Milwaukee startup hub, opens its doors. Last week, Ward4 began taking applications for tenants to occupy the 35,000 square feet of available space in the Pritzlaff Building. The hub has both an open work space and closed offices, conference rooms, areas for informal networking meetings and, like any tech company these days, recreation areas with foosball and ping pong tables.

Sixty-six workstations are available for a modest fee, with companies moving into private offices as needed. The tenants will be hand-picked by the backers at venture fund firm CSA Partners. Among the partners is the current Milwaukee County Executive, businessman and philanthropist Chris Abele, who has worked hard to turn the city into an innovation hub.

CSA Partners executives have said they also want to make Ward4 a venue for out-of-town investors to hold conferences and office hours, providing greater expansion opportunities for the startups. The location of the Pritzlaff Building in Westown, close to Milwaukee's financial district, is also expected to be an advantage.

"In order to get more opportunities to invest, we need to invest in the whole community as well," said CSA managing director Brian Taffora to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The city is already home to other accelerators, such as gener8tor and Startup Milwaukee. The addition of Ward4 is further proof that Milwaukee is a legitimate player on the national tech scene. Local IT consultants can contribute to the growth of the sector, helping startups and established companies alike with the technical side of their businesses.