Northern Star Fire, Eau Claire startup, Wins 2017 Wisconsin Governor's Business Plan Contest

| Allyson Gommer

Northern Star Fire, a startup up company dedicated to saving firefighters’ lives, was announced as the grand prize winner at the 2017 Governor’s Business Plan contest in Madison on Wednesday. The contest connects up-and-coming entrepreneurs with a statewide network of community resources, expert advice, high-quality education, management talent and possible sources of capital.

Northern Star Fire LLC is a company started by Captain Jeff Dykes in 2014 and is located in Eau Claire. Dedicated to producing life safety devices, Captain Dykes, invented the company’s flagship product called ‘The Northern Star’. The Northern Star is designed to help firefighters maintain their orientation in environments with low visibility. Powered by a powerful rechargeable lithium battery, the Northern Star is essentially an eight directional compass that can easily be installed inside a firefighter’s face mask.

As Jeff worked on development of his product and business, one of the resources Jeff Dykes utilized was the Small Business Development Center at UW-Eau Claire. Luke Kempen, Director of the SBDC at UW-Eau Claire stated, “Jeff has great passion for his lifesaving device. He has leveraged this passion, assistance from others and hard work into this tremendous success of winning the Governors Business Plan Contest.”

The Wisconsin SBDC Network is funded in part through a collaborative agreement between the U.S. Small Business Administration and supports entrepreneurs and business owners statewide through no-cost, confidential consulting and targeted educational programs.  Regional SBDC experts leverage the resources of the SBDC, the UW System and UW Extension to facilitate improvement and growth for small and emerging mid-size companies and help launch successful enterprises. The Wisconsin SBDC at UW-Eau Claire serves Eau Claire, Chippewa, Dunn, Pepin, Clark, Rusk, Taylor, and Barron counties. 

To learn more about Northern Star Fire, The Governor’s Business Plan Contest or the SBDC at UW-Eau Claire contact Luke Kempen, 715-836-5902, kempenls@uwec.edu.