A startup in Madison engages local businesses, non-profits and students with a relaxing day of coffee, doughnuts and solutions to their questions about technology.
Grow Madison, a local business located within 100state, a collaborative organization designed to work with local entrepreneurs, aims to help Madison residents solve their technology issues, said JJ Pagac, CEO of Atomic Coffee Media and a member of the Grow Madison team.
“We find, in a lot of companies, all of the sudden their writers are in charge of the website, and they know nothing about building a website,” Pagac said.
Matt Nelson, a founder of Grow Madison, described it as an “accidental business.” It started as a quarterly workshop on WordPress, but was able to take it to the next level when 100state moved into their current location on Mifflin Street and allowed Grow Madison to use some of the space.
The core program is called WordPress Bootcamp. It covers the basics of WordPress and helps customers use those skills to work on their own projects.
“We’re kind of a bootcamp type company,” Pagac said. “[Training] will start out with a little bit of history, showing people what to do and then we will do some hands on with them for the rest of the day,” he said.
Grow Madison is built especially to help non-profits that do not have much time or money, as well as employees of businesses who are thrown into designing or remodeling a website, Pagac said.
The company also works to help students who need help outside of the traditional technology workshops on University of Wisconsin or Madison College campuses, Nelson said.
“There are ways you can teach yourself online, but you don’t get the hand-holding, and I think that the personal touch is what’s really getting people,” Pagac said. “Sometimes you don’t even know the right question to ask. It’s a new technology for a lot of people.”
Grow Madison hopes to be beneficial to the community by creating the possibility for local businesses to expand. Promoting businesses through social media or the Internet does not have to be confined to expert developers and marketers, Nelson said.
Grow Madison also benefits the trainers and consultants on the team by allowing them to get hands-on experience working with customers.
“It’s an educational experience for myself and the other trainers because we’re always encountering new experiences that we haven’t seen before,” Nelson said.
Grow Madison is looking to expand their services and will be hosting their first Social Media Marketing bootcamp May 9.
The bootcamp will be basic in comparison to the possibilities social media offers, but will be more advanced than anything a typical social media user would know, Nelson said.
In the future, Grow Madison also hopes to add a collaborative programming class as well as more classes geared toward young adults, Nelson said.
These classes would cover subjects that would be more interesting to adolescents, such as video games or robotics. Scholarships would be available for teens who are unavailable to afford them without aid, he said.
“Really, the sky is the limit,” Nelson said.