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CEI

Jordan Rhodes ’10, and Dan Brosman ’15, know what it takes to make it as young entrepreneurs.

With the backing of the Alta Resources Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Rhodes worked to create ActiveEDU, an educational software for elementary school teachers to stream videos in their classroom that blends exercise and academic content in alignment with common core standards. The results to market ActiveEDU were off the chart so Rhodes asked Brosman to partner with him to take ActiveEDU to the next level.

Rhodes, who is a current MBA student at UW Oshkosh, is the director of the CEI. Brosman, also an alumni, is the former president and CEO of the Collegiate Entrepreneurship Organization, which the ActiveEDU team credits with sparking their business relationship.

Last April, Rhodes and Brosman were approached by the CEO of Agnesian HealthCare of Fond du Lac to discuss how Agnesian could help fund ActiveEDU, which was the big turning point to get ActiveEDU into school districts around the state. With the funding from Agnesian, the Fond du Lac School District was able to adopt the program for free.

Brosman and Rhodes recently attended the Association for Community Health Improvement (ACHI) Conference in Baltimore where they exhibited ActiveEDU and developed relationships with community health professionals from around the nation. Their goal for the future is to obtain more funding, increase exposure for their business and take the product national. Currently, they are working with 65 teachers in the Fond du Lac School District, which reaches more than 1,000 students.

“Being a part of UW Oshkosh opened a lot of doors. That is a cliché, but it is true. Mentorship, office space, finding people to be on my team and getting connections to Agnesian HealthCare has led to inspiring opportunities for me,” Rhodes said.

Beyond his own ventures, as the director of the Alta Resources CEI, Rhodes has helped shape the lives of many young entrepreneurs.

“I hope have at least opened students’ eyes to the opportunities that are available through entrepreneurship,” he said. “They see it as something hard to do and attain, and I feel like I have humanized it to help them become more aware.”

At UW Oshkosh, the CEI is on a mission to inspire, educate and develop entrepreneurial leaders through world-class education, cutting-edge research and applied preparation, mentorship and public recognition. To date, more than 20 companies have been started and are running successfully due to the help of the CEI. Another 15 companies are in different phases of launching a business, Rhodes said.

“The College of Business has been a life changer because of the entrepreneurship program. The CEI specifically spearheaded the efforts to motivate me, provide resources to take the idea to the next level and provide learning and support,” Brosman said. “There is so much opportunity for entrepreneurs at UW Oshkosh.”

Recently in Brosman’s and Rhodes’ entrepreneurial journey, ActiveEDU was accepted into stage 2 of Ideadvance, which gives $50,000 in grant funding during the course of a year starting Feb. 1. Ideadvance is a grant-based accelerator program headquartered out of Madison. It is funded by the UW System and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), and administered by UW-Extension’s Center for Technology Commercialization, only open to UW System students, faculty and staff.