SHEBOYGAN- Jake’s Cafe hosted the first day of a 2-day hackathon called the “Innovation Sprint”  Sunday, March 19th.   The event, which drew nearly 60 students from 9 area colleges and universities is the pilot program for what could be “The Commons Sheboygan”.
The morning session was dedicated to teaching students the fundamentals of market segmentation and ideation.  In the afternoon, students were placed on 9 teams and given three different challenges to work on.  Students were intermixed to ensure that all groups were well diversified.  “We categorize students according to what we call “Hackers, Hustler, Hipsters and Handlers,” smiles Joe Poeschl one of three co-founder of the Commons project.  All bring very important skill sets to the ideation and entrepreneurial process.”  Maggie Dauss and Michael Mostad are also Commons co-founders.
“Hackers are technical-minded.  They’re makers, tinkerers and engineers. They’re into software, coding and hardware development.  Hipsters, on the other hand, are more design minded.  They’re artists, photographers and videographers.  They’re into branding, web design and the overall user experience.  I would classify myself as a Hipster,” laughs Poeschl.
“We also need Hustlers,” says Maggie.  “These are more business-minded people.  They like selling, strategy, marketing, finance and growing the business.  And we can’t forget the Handler.  Somebody has to be the organization and project manager for the group.  They think about tasking, timeliness, note-taking and communication.”
The students reconvened mid-afternoon for another learning sessions in group dynamics and presentation development.  Students will then pitch their new business concepts 3:30-4:30pm on Sunday, April 2.  Public is invited! Jake’s Cafe is located at 529 Ontario Avenue, Sheboygan, WI.
The Commons had its first launch at Ward Four Milwaukee last year and has gained spectacular traction, according to founder Joe Poeschl. “We’ve already assembled a bold collaboration or 24 southeast Wisconsin colleges and universities for the Milwaukee chapter,” said Poeschl, “and with the help of 200+ mentors and coaches from sponsoring corporations, we’re providing a truly unique, real world experience for students.”  Students take a dive deep into customer discovery, ideation, product development, business models, sales and more. They learn what it takes to identify opportunity and solve real world business problems. More importantly, they build network connections and get exclusive access to world-class companies.
Poeshl’s sees the Sheboygan pilot as the first step in moving this program north.  Once established, the program will regularly draw a pool of the areas best and brightest college students, to work with the finest companies in east central Wisconsin, according to Poeshl.
“For the college and university students in this area of Wisconsin, The Commons will be an opportunity for them to get firmly planted in the region’s growing innovation economy. It’s a chance for them to put their skills to the test with real-world projects, work with talented peers and find the mentorship / networking opportunities.  We’re confident the program will be agame-changer for their career paths. The Commons has already reshaped the economic landscape of Southeast Wisconsin, said Poeshl, “And we’re confident it can do the same here.”
The Commons Sheboygan has already garnered the support of several area colleges, universities and businesses including:
Lakeland University, UW-Washington County, Moraine Park Technical College, Marian University, UW-Sheboygan, UW-Manitowoc, Lakeshore Technical College, UW-Fondulac and Silver Lake College.  Pilot sponsors include: Sargento, Acuity, Sartori, Aurora Healthcare, Ansay Development, Sheboygan Chamber of Commerce, The Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation, The Wisconsin EconomicDevelopment Corporation and Jake’s Cafe.
Whether you’re a talented and motivated student ready to get out of the classroom and placed directly in the middle of everything that’s awesome, innovative and entrepreneurial or you’re interested in becoming a corporate sponsor, coach or mentor, we’d love to have you participate.  For more information, e-mail Joe Poeshl at