Over 30 aspiring or current inventors and entrepreneurs plus other professionals connected with each other at the inaugural meeting of the new Inventors and Entrepreneurs (I&E) Club on May 14th at the Elks Club, Fond du Lac.
“We are thrilled with the turnout and positive feedback we received for our first meeting,” says Jo Ann Giese-Kent, I&E Club Advisory Council co-chair and Director of Entrepreneurship and Business Intelligence at the Fond du Lac County Economic Development Corporation (FCEDC). “On average, 30-50 people attend I&E Club meetings in other cities so having over 30 people at our first meeting is awesome and shows a need for such a group in our area.” Participants networked, shared their creative ideas, learned some tips from one another and got inspired by the keynote speakers, Terry Whipple, brainchild of the I&E Club model, and Greg Mies, a local inventor. Gary Boyke, owner of Vir-Clar Farms and Dutch’s Trading Post, is also excited about the Club. Boyke shared after the meeting, “I truly enjoyed the enthusiasm and energy that was present at the meeting. I will definitely be back at future meetings!”
The purpose of an I&E Club is to educate, nurture and network area inventors and entrepreneurs. At the I&E Club meetings, people can connect with and learn from peers and others in a fun and supportive environment which will foster a culture of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship in our local communities. People can share ideas, tap into a vast network of resources and help each other. According to Whipple, “You never know who you will meet that can help you succeed”. The I&E Club is open to everyone including aspiring and current entrepreneurs, inventors, retired or former business owners, manufacturing reps, investors, entrepreneur support organizations and other like-minded individuals in the Fond du Lac County area, surrounding counties and beyond.
Club meetings are free and will meet every second Tuesday of each month at the Elks Club, 33 Sheboygan Street, Fond du Lac. Registration and networking begins at 5:00 p.m. The meeting with speakers commences at 6 p.m. Topics will vary each month. Sharing and networking follow at 7:00 p.m. Attendees can order and pay for dinner at the Elks Club before 6:00 p.m. and a cash bar will be available before, during and after the Club meeting. The next meeting on June 11th will feature Brian Davis, serial entrepreneur and owner of Fix It Sticks. Brian will share his story plus tips for a successful Kickstarter funding campaign and selling on Amazon. Anyone wishing to be added to the mailing list to find out about future meeting topics should contact FCEDC at 920-929-2928 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Club is sponsored by the Fond du Lac County Economic Development Corporation and the Center for Enterprise Development in partnership with the I&E Club Advisory Council. The Council includes members from Moraine Park Technical College, Ripon College’s Creative Enterprise Center, UW-Oshkosh Small Business Development Center, ADVOCAP, Raised I Brow and Inspired by You.