LSC grads tackle entrepreneurship to make their dreams a reality

LSC grads go on to have careers in numerous fields, whether it’s digital marketing, technical writing, broadcast production, or science outreach.  More still go on to create their own ventures through entrepreneurship. These individuals imagine new opportunities not yet in the marketplace and take action to create successful enterprises. The businesses they create span a range of industries from agriculture to health and fitness and technology development.

Andy Peterson with his wife, Jenna, and daughter, Shirley.

One LSC entrepreneur is 2008 grad Andy Peterson. Andy started working on a plan for his business, Limousin Live, in his LSC capstone, allowing him to jump into the company directly after graduation.  Today, Andy owns two companies. Limousin Live which helps ranchers market their herd’s genetics through quality content and information, and Peterson Craftman Meats where he raises and harvests high-quality meats.

“LSC impacted both of my businesses by helping guide me to the industries that were a best fit for my interests,” says Peterson.  While in school, Andy learned to produce podcasts through an information radio class with LSC’s Larry Meiller, and mastered content marketing and website design from LSC’s Don Stanley and Sarah Botham. Right off the bat, he was able to provide high quality websites and content to his ranch clients and bring social marketing strategies to the cattle arena.

“To me, LSC totally encapsulates the Wisconsin Idea because it allowed me the space to be creative. The classes in LSC provided me the tools and resources to be successful and the creative room to explore different business solutions,” notes Andy.

LSC grad Heidi Bailey’s love for the outdoors helped inspire her business.

Another up and coming LSC entrepreneur is 2016 LSC grad Heidi Bailey.  Heidi, along with her partner and fellow UW-Madison grad Stefan Stahl, recently started their business, Wander Outdoor, in Boulder, Colorado.  Wander Outdoor is a smart phone application connecting outdoor enthusiasts with professional tour guides, allowing customers to choose where they want to go and find a guide to take them there.  Right now they are in the initial phases of the business and are working on securing funding to build the app, however that hasn’t slowed them down.  This summer Heidi and Stephan are touring the country in the Wander Van to build support for their company.

According to Heidi, the majority of the company’s outreach and promotion takes place online and she oversees all of their social media marketing efforts. “I learned the bulk of my social media marketing skills through LSC.  When it came time to create our communications campaign I already knew the best times to post and how to determine a target audience because of my LSC coursework,” notes Heidi.

Abi with her horse, Duke, at a recent horse show.

One of Heidi’s classmates, Abi Jensen (B.S ’16), is also in the process of starting an app-based business.  Abi got the idea for her business while in her LSC capstone with LSC senior lecturer Tom Still. As a part of the course, students applied to the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest, and Abi’s company, the FarmVet App and Program, made it to the top 25 in 2016.

Abi grew up on a farm and she remains active raising, training, and showing horses, chickens, and pigs. Because of her background, Abi realized there are far more farm animals than there are large animal veterinarians leaving a gap than can often be detrimental in an emergency.  The FarmVet App and Program connects veterinarians with those who care for and work with animals to ensure these animals get the best care possible.

Currently, the app is in the development phase and Abi is in the process of pilot testing it in the equine industry before expanding to other animal industries. According to her, she wouldn’t be where she is today without the guidance of LSC.  LSC’s Tom Still helped encourage and support her at every step of the business plan contest and the knowledge she learned through LSC classes helped her leverage what she created for the contest and turn it into a successful business.

Seth has always been an athlete but according to him it wasn’t always easy finding time to work out.

Seth Braddock (BS ’14) is another LSC entrepreneur.  Soon after graduating Seth joined the staff of Epic as a Project Manager, and not long after he realized how hard it was to stay fit with a busy work and travel schedule. From there, Braddock got the idea for his business – Kilter Rewards.  “The idea behind the business is that it can be difficult to dedicate yourself to working out, so it is important to be rewarded for making it to the gym,” notes Braddock. Through Kilter Rewards people get rewards for hitting the gym and save money on a variety of items – from daily items like coffee or restaurants to high-end workout apparel and spa services.

Like Jensen, Braddock also participated in the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest as a part of Tom Still’s LSC capstone class, and he credits that class for getting him started in entrepreneurship.  “My capstone class got me thinking about different businesses and where I could fill a need. LSC overall was an awesome experience for me.  I was able to hone my communication skills – a vital skill in business – and through classes like risk communication, video production, and social media, I was able to broaden my knowledge and learn skills I still use today.”

While these students are only a small example of the LSC graduates who have gone on to pursue their own companies, they showcase the variety of businesses developed. These students, and many others, have taken the knowledge they gained at LSC in combination with their creativity and entrepreneurial prowess to achieve success in a competitive and ever dynamic technological landscape.