By Kathleen Gallagher
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
After spending 35 years growing her own companies in California, Jacquin Davidson came home to Wisconsin to help grow some more.
Davidson in November was named executive director of BizStarts Milwaukee Inc., a nonprofit formed in 2008.
She’s aiming to combine her entrepreneurial experience with BizStarts’ resources to encourage companies to “start and stay’ in the region.
“She’s strong and extremely capable, and she’s got this iron will about her,” said Paul Eberle, chief executive of the Milwaukee-based law firm of Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek.
Davidson’s appointment will help BizStarts continue to grow, said Dan Steininger, co-founder and president.
There are about 160 entrepreneurs and companies currently working with BizStarts, Davidson said.
They are receiving help with tasks such as finding customers, securing loans and preparing pitches for investors, she said.
One of the big advantages of working with BizStarts is that Davidson and her staff provide constructive advice right from the beginning, said Jim Jendusa, founder of Hartland-based Forteco Framing Co., an installer, and Lightweight Structures LLC., which makes a framing system for commercial and residential construction.
“All of the feedback from BizStarts has been that our product is viable and scalable — it’s given us confidence,” Jendusa said.
BizStarts has provided Jendusa with connections and mentoring in a range of areas, from crafting a business plan and entering competitions, to applying for a patent and obtaining funding, he said.
His company, which hope to get another round of financing, participated in an investor forum organized by BizStarts. He and the group are discussing holding a forum where he could introduce his lightweight framing system to local developers and contractors, Jendusa said.
A Kenosha native, Davidson taught middle school art in Green Bay before moving to California 35 years ago. There, she started and ran for 20 years WrapIt Entertainment, which supplied film crews with motor homes for wardrobe changes, makeup and other purposes.