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


“After [my consultant] Amy took a look at my business plan, she was able to let me know what I needed to add to be able to convince the financial institute about my plan to open a coffee shop. The consulting experience helped me to gain new business skills like knowing my numbers and being able to balance orders and keep track of our sales balance.”

~Priscah Norton, Coffee 4 All

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.

Forward Thai Boxing

Founded by Abbe Braun and Brandon Shoemaker, Forward Thai Boxing is housed in a newly renovated facility on Rimrock Road. Six instructors teach Thai boxing (Muay Thai) and Krav Maga.

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

Dolphin Swim Academy

Brittany Ballweg teaches kids to be confident, strong swimmers

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.