Small Business Success Stories

The WI Small Business Development Center at UW-Madison works with hundreds of business each year. From start-ups to growing companies the SBDC assists clients as their businesses evolve. We work with individuals on business planning for start-ups, loan and financing preparation, management and operational issues as well as marketing and sales. The SBDC also offers no cost consultation, as well as non-credit courses.

“The people [at Octopi] are excellent, and offering staff growth opportunities keeps people here who are invested and want to learn and grow. I’m one of many who have had growth opportunities provided to me that benefit both me and the company.”

~Jesica Aranda, Human Resources Manager at Octopi and participant in SBDC group leadership training sessions

“Hearing, ‘You’ll figure it out; here’s what I’ve seen before,’ is such helpful insight from someone who knows what they’re talking about,” McDaniel says. “We’re passionate food people, and having Amy’s support to set our business up correctly has been a huge thing.”

~Sam McDaniel, CEO at Fortune Favors

See how the SBDC has helped these entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses - and support their leaders!


Octopi partnered with the SBDC to provide a leadership training curriculum for newly hired and promoted staff - showing investment in their team through staff development and cohesion opportunities.

American Provenance

Former middle school science teacher Kyle LaFond launched American Provenance in a remodeled machine shed on his family farm. Now, American Provenance products are sold on 5,000 shelves nationwide, in most major grocery stores, and online.

Fortune Favors

Madison-based company looks toward national expansion. After swift growth in first five years, Fortune Favors rebrands and expands

Acton Academy

Former hedge fund manager and WSB lecturer Marisa Palmer now brings the hero’s journey to children with her growth-mindset-oriented private Montessori elementary school

Iron Hop Taphouse

Iron Hop Taphouse brings craft beer to historic downtown Mazomanie

Blue Highway Lodge

Named for the backroads marked blue on old American highway maps, the Blue Highway Lodge, owned by Karri Bartlett, welcomes other travelers who also enjoy the road less traveled.

“[My SBDC consultant Amy is] emotionally tied to me and my success, and she’s very good at keeping me focused and on the right path. Amy is the voice of reason... One thing you lose when you leave the corporate world is your team, and the SBDC has almost become that for me.”

Kate Reithel, Mosquito Joe of Madison

The Wisconsin SBDC Network is a proud part of the Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship in the University of Wisconsin System.
It is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.