Rural Entrepreneurs Find Support and Connection Through Driftless Makers Podcast

Rural Entrepreneurs Find Support and Connection Through Driftless Makers Podcast

Kate Koziol, Executive Director of the Platteville Business Incubator, discusses the challenges and opportunities for rural entrepreneurs in the Driftless Area.

Starting a business is never easy, but for rural entrepreneurs, the challenges can feel even more daunting. Kate Koziol, the executive director of the Platteville Business Incubator, understands this firsthand. In her role, Koziol has witnessed the unique struggles faced by rural entrepreneurs and has made it her mission to provide support and connection to these individuals. One of her initiatives, the Driftless Makers Podcast, has become a valuable resource for rural entrepreneurs in the Driftless Area, offering inspiration and a sense of community. In a recent interview on Wisconsin Public Radio’s “The Morning Show,” Koziol discussed the challenges and opportunities for economic development in rural areas and how the podcast is helping to bridge the gap for rural entrepreneurs.

1: Challenges Faced by Rural Entrepreneurs

Starting a business in a rural area presents its own set of challenges. One of the main obstacles faced by rural entrepreneurs is the lack of access to a diverse range of expertise. Koziol explains that entrepreneurs are often skilled in a few areas but need a well-rounded skill set to succeed. This is where the Platteville Business Incubator comes in, providing support and resources to help entrepreneurs develop and grow their businesses.

2: The Myth of the Nonstop Startup Life

There is a common misconception that entrepreneurs must work around the clock to build a successful startup. Koziol dispels this myth, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. While it is true that entrepreneurs often carry their ideas with them outside of working hours, setting boundaries and allowing for time away from work can lead to fresh perspectives and innovative solutions.

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3: Workforce Shortages and Rural Entrepreneurship

Workforce shortages, lack of child care, and affordable housing are significant challenges faced by entrepreneurs in rural areas. Koziol acknowledges these issues but highlights the advantages that rural areas can offer. With smaller operations, rural entrepreneurs may find it easier to find the necessary workforce compared to larger urban areas. Additionally, the Platteville Business Incubator provides on-site child care, making it easier for entrepreneurs with families to pursue their dreams.

4: The Platteville Business Incubator: A Hub for Innovation

The Platteville Business Incubator offers a range of spaces and resources to support new businesses. From small offices for professionals to manufacturing spaces for larger operations, the incubator caters to a variety of needs. However, it is not just the physical spaces that make a difference. The mentoring, coaching, and sense of community fostered within the incubator are equally important. The Driftless Makers Podcast and other networking events provide opportunities for entrepreneurs to connect, share ideas, and seek guidance from their peers.

5: Funding and Access to Capital

Access to funding is crucial for startups, and rural entrepreneurs often face challenges in this area. Koziol discusses the various funding programs available, such as revolving loan programs and local accelerators like IDEA Hub. These initiatives aim to bridge the gap between entrepreneurs and investors, ensuring that good ideas have the financial support they need to thrive.


Rural entrepreneurs face unique challenges, but with the right support and resources, they can overcome these obstacles and thrive. Kate Koziol and the Platteville Business Incubator are dedicated to providing rural entrepreneurs in the Driftless Area with the tools they need to succeed. The Driftless Makers Podcast serves as a source of inspiration and connection, reminding entrepreneurs that they are not alone on their journey. By addressing challenges such as access to expertise, work-life balance, workforce shortages, and funding, Koziol and her team are helping to create a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in rural Wisconsin. With their continued support, rural entrepreneurs can turn their ideas into successful businesses and contribute to the economic development of their communities.

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