April 12. 2012 8:00AM - Last modified: April 12. 2012 8:36AM

Milwaukee to host international startup event

  
COMMON, a Colorado-based accelerator for social innovation and MiKE, Innovation in Milwaukee the Greater Milwaukee Committee's community initiative to grow Milwaukee's economy through innovation design and technology, are accepting submissions for COMMON Pitch: American Innovation.

COMMON Pitch is a nontraditional pitch competition celebrating the best new concepts for sustainable, disruptive innovation to reinvent U.S. industries. Eight entrepreneurs will compete for the chance to expose their new business concepts to an interactive audience of designers, technologists, industry mentors and "celebrity" judges. The event will occur as part of Milwaukee Innovation Week in June, and will provide significant exposure for the selected startups, including press attention, marketing opportunities, advising, and for the winning entrepreneurs, a prize package including cash and startup-ready services.
"We're thrilled to have developed a relationship with COMMON through our MiKE initiative," said Julia Taylor, president of the Greater Milwaukee Committee. "The fact that COMMON looked to Milwaukee before Chicago, Minneapolis and other Midwestern cities, confirms what many of us already know; Milwaukee is revitalizing itself through innovation."
Milwaukee is only the third city in the country to be approved to host a COMMON Pitch event in 2012, and the sole event focused exclusively on innovation in America - a distinction that acknowledges the area's increasingly welcome climate for creativity, technology and entrepreneurialism.
"I think Americans are born with entrepreneurialism in their DNA. That makes us a lucky nation, because we need it now more than ever," said Alex Bogusky, COMMON co-founder and Adweek's Creative Director of the Decade. "The entrepreneurs that join us in Milwaukee will represent a new generation of industrialists, now armed with the knowledge that the best businesses look beyond the bottom line into their communities, their environment and the future."
Past locations for Common Pitch have included New York, South Africa and Colorado. Former winners have included The Bell Lamp, a striking compact solar lighting solution and Good Karma Clothing, a subscription-based wardrobe sharing service.
COMMON Pitch: American Innovation will be featured as a main event in the larger programming schedule of the first annual Milwaukee Innovation Week in June, which includes opportunities to tour Milwaukee's many co-working spaces, experiential events with Milwaukee's tech startups and pitches from teen and collegiate entrepreneurs. A keynote speech, presented by GE, will feature Vijay Govindarajan, an expert on strategy and innovation and the first Professor in Residence and Chief Innovation Consultant at GE. Govindarajan was ranked third on the Thinkers 50 list of the world's most influential business thinkers.
Entrepreneurs interested in presenting startups at COMMON Pitch: American Innovation should visit www.commonpitchmke.com for more information and to confirm their qualification to participate. Applications will not be accepted after May 18.

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