This piece was produced by a student reporter in the Madison365 Academy. To learn more or support our educational programs, visit madison365.org/academy.
Founded in 2013, 100State takes entrepreneurship to another level by creating space for coworking. Although the basic idea that this organization stands on might have been used by lot of entrepreneurs before, this company provides the most important ingredient in making a company successful and helpful to the community by creating a space for people to pour their ideas, plans and passion. The space keeps young entrepreneurs motivated and feeds them with unique new ideas. Claudia Seidenberg, who took over as executive director on July 2, says that 100State offers what amounts to “gym membership for entrepreneurship.” Beside a place for entrepreneur to be motivated, 100State is also a place to learn new skill or even teach them. The classes 100State offers are member-run, filled with members as students.
Members of 100State pay a monthly fee but Claudia says that if a person with potential and a plan does not have financial stability, 100State will work with the person to overcome that issue. “We are not really big on the nickel and dime concept,” Seidenberg said, but they do acknowledge that money plays a big role in making a stable company.
As the member numbers have grown, 100State leaders noticed only about 33 percent of their entrepreneurs were women, and they have been working towards getting more women to be their members by hosting programs.
To break barriers like this and make the ground equal for everyone is what Claudia Seidenberg passionate about. “I want things to be fair and be justified,” she says. “Anybody is capable of creating change. I think there are opportunities and resources that enables some to create more changes than others. What I care about is creating a community that enables and empower people to create their own change and create their own success.”
Claudia’s background prepared her for this new role. “I come from a very academic family,” she says. As a high school kid Claudia had been very interested in history and literature. She was also a part of an art club; there she played the role of manager which involve getting a platform for artist to express themselves. She played that role her entire high school career and at the same time she was volunteering for a person who worked in a non profit organization; he was the one who informed Claudia about 100State.
She first encountered the space, which was on the Capitol Square at the time, early in her time as a student at UW.
“Walking into the 100State (for the first time) was like coming out of cave and seeing the whole world below you.” She also added that the space itself was pretty “grungy” and “scrappy” but the whole community was filled with people who had different ideas to help the world amazed her and she wanted to be a part of it. (The whole space moved to West Washington Avenue last year, and is somewhat less “grungy” now.) After she first saw 100State, she wanted to be a part of it for the long term which is why she said “When I graduate in three years, I want your job” to former executive director Gregory St. Fort.
Now that St. Fort has moved on and Seidenberg is at the helm, she remains as excited as ever. “It’s impossible for me to not be excited about somebody who is so passionate about what they are doing that they want to devote their life in creating it,” she says.