Looking to take Wisconsin businesses worldwide, University of Wisconsin E-Business Consortium has been working toward increasing the state’s entrepreneurship resources and bringing credibility to the university.
Headquartered in Wisconsin, the consortium began in 1998 and now consists of 65 state companies that have assisted and advised more than 150 others from around the world, Lori Wilson, the consortium’s spokesperson said.
“This includes companies that we’ve done projects with over the years and not all of them were members,” Wilson said. “The numbers we’ve helped are more than our members.”
The consortium focuses on four major areas: marketing, information technology, customer service and supply chain management, Wilson said.
When a company joins the organization, all of the company’s employees are able to come to the consortium’s events as a part of their membership. The consortium also allows for members to advise each other, conducts polls on their members’ best practices and works on company projects, Wilson said.
Wilson said the consortium focuses on peer-to-peer learning among companies. It has several special interest group meetings where managers and senior practitioners learn from each other and their professional peers, Wilson said.
“Basically, it’s the companies working with the consortium, sometimes UW faculty and student assistance on real-world applications and problems,” said Wilson.
One of the consortium’s longtime members, Colony Brands, has used its resources for many of their company’s departments, Colony Brands’ spokesperson Kim Markham said.
Colony Brands is a local Wisconsin organization, which UW alumnus Ray Kubly Sr. started in 1926. Being part of the consortium has also allowed Colony Brands to partner with other UW resources like the Center for Professional and Economic Development at the Wisconsin School of Business, Markham said.
Todd Fischer, vice-president of another member company called Endries, said in a statement that the consortium helped them establish the link between “can we?” and “can do!” He said the company has been able to learn a lot from not only other companies but also UW.
“As a member of UWEBC, you get all that research knowledge and information, and it’s applied to real-world situations,” Fischer said.
The consortium also holds an industry-focused annual business conference, which averages about 650 attendees every year, Wilson said. The conference brings many senior executives and has had keynote speakers including NASA engineer Adam Steltzner and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer.
“[The conference] has been a great success,” Wilson said. “It is something that makes us unique among the university and across other universities as well.”
The event is open to the general public and will be held Sept. 14 this year.