Our Co:Lab pilot program has officially come to an end for 2019!

Since March 2nd, 17 Milwaukee young professionals have come together every week as part of this new civic accelerator produced by our teams at NEWaukee, The Commons, and Startup Milwaukee. Split into three teams, these young professionals learned about Mitchell Street, Granville and Avenues West, met with BID members and locals from those areas, ran through a series of workshops and ideation exercises, and proposed solutions to address community challenges these neighborhoods face.

After 7 weeks of hard work, participant teams pitched their solutions at The Big Impact on April 24th during YPWeek, hosted at Sherman Phoenix. Presentations were given to a panel of judges and an audience of over 130 Milwaukeeans, each of whom were given a ballot to vote for which solution should receive the most funding.

Participants assumed that only the winning team would receive funding for their solution. However, thanks to the ticket sales from attendees and the generosity of our sponsors at Concordia University Wisconsin, We Energies Foundation and Wells Fargo, we were able to provide funding for all three solutions!

Our Mitchell Street team placed first, and won $5,000 to experiment activating public space next to the Modjeska Theater. Their plan is to offer much-needed green space, and to create a community gathering hub, especially for area youth.

In second place, our Avenues West team won $1,000 to pilot a makerspace and workshops on the Near West Side. Their goal is to leverage attendance during Doors Open Milwaukee to drive interest in the district’s Live, Work, Play Homeownership Incentive program. In third place, our Granville team won $500 for Spark, a professional engagement program to create a sense of community and connection for area workers.

In addition to neighborhood impacts, the Co:Lab program impacted our young professional participants in a number of ways. Based on pre- and post-program assessments, participants saw a drastic jump in their ability to engage within communities that are not their own (35.5% increase), take risks (30.6% increase), and persist through failure (24.6% increase).  Perhaps most importantly, participants left the program confident that they could transfer the community development and social innovation skills learned back to their company and everyday work (23.0% increase).

To view a full program impact report, click here.

Are you interested in being a part of a future program as a participant, mentor, community partner or sponsor? Contact us!

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