Best Practices

U.S.SourceLink® Welcomes Two New Affiliates: ArkansasSourceLink and the State of Ingenuity

Published Sep 14, 2011 by Maria Meyers

We’re thrilled to welcome two new affiliates to the U.S.SourceLink family:  Arkansas SourceLink, another statewide implementation of the U.S.SourceLink model that will connect and improve access to small business resources, and State of Ingenuity, an innovative bi-state collaboration between southeastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

Arkansas SourceLink Builds Entrepreneurship across the State

With resources spread out across the state, Arkansas entrepreneurs had difficulty finding the resources they needed. The challenge: bring cohesion to that fragmented support system, facilitate growth and create more opportunities for small business.

U.S.SourceLink gives them that visibility and cohesion. Arkansas SourceLink found out about U.S.SourceLink through discussions with the Kauffman Foundation.

Sponsored by Connect Arkansas, our newest affiliate will bring together all the small business resources to support startup and business growth throughout Arkansas, and make those assets easily accessible through a web portal and a hotline, using the U.S.SourceLink® model and The Resource Navigator® technology.

Arkansas SourceLink’s early supporters include the Arkansas Capital Corporation and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. The project is funded through the National Telecommunication Administration’s broadband stimulus funding grant.

Southeastern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois Join to Support Entrepreneurship

There’s a new state between southeastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois called the State of Ingenuity, created to foster economic recovery and entrepreneurial activities in the region—where the convergence of ideas, intellect, investigation and investment fosters economic opportunity.

The “State of Ingenuity” resulted from a collaboration of organizations from southeastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. The six-county region served has been hit hard by the recent economic downturn, the problems in the auto industry as well as devastating floods in 2008 that negatively affected infrastructure. The founding partners decided to bolster the area’s economy by developing a comprehensive entrepreneurial system to support business development at every stage.

The U.S.SourceLink model was chosen as the backbone of the program for our proven success in creating entrepreneurial ecosystems in communities and regions across the country. The “State of Ingenuity” will use U.S.SourceLink processes and technologies to develop a seamless network of entrepreneurial support and cross-county/cross-state collaboration.

Funding for the project comes from the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Association to the lead partner, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (UWW).  Partners involved in the creation of  the “State of Ingenuity” network include UWW’s Global Business Resource Center, GIS Center, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and the Wisconsin Innovation Service Network;  Gateway Technical College;  Wisconsin Business Incubation Association; Northern Illinois University; Growth Dimensions for Belvidere and Boone County; Rockford College; Rock Valley College/EIGERLab; Rockford Area Economic Development Council; and Blackhawk Technical College.  Economic development specialists from all six counties (Racine, Kenosha, Rock, and Walworth in Wisconsin as well and Boone and Winnebago in Illinois) also serve as key collaborators/leaders.