StartingBlock Madison, a coworking space and entrepreneurial hub in downtown Madison, is enhancing member benefits by offering Health Insurance through a new pilot project and partnership with M3 Insurance and Quartz. Entrepreneurs who operate their startups and social impact nonprofits out of StartingBlock now get to add health insurance plans to the list of membership perks and amenities at 821 E Washington Ave. in Madison.  

For entrepreneurs and small businesses, the second most costly expense after payroll is offering an Employee Benefits program.  To attract and retain talented staff, startups need to be able to offer Employee Benefits. However, the cost associated with offering benefits is often out-of-reach for start-ups and the traditional “one size fits all” benefits package may not necessarily satisfy the needs of entrepreneurs, startups, and the gig economy. The defined contribution benefits program will be available to all members at StartingBlock, where memberships begin at just $150/month for 24×7 access.

“Access to health care should not be a barrier to entry for people wanting to start businesses and especially not for people who want to work for startups,” says StartingBlock Executive Director, Nora Roughen-Schmidt. “By partnering with Quartz and M3 Insurance, we are offering affordable healthcare to StartingBlock Madison members and their employees, making entrepreneurship as a whole more accessible.”

The addition of health insurance completes a package for members that includes vision, dental, life insurance, and telehealth services with 24×7 mental health support. The benefits are offered in a cafeteria-style format, meaning members can pick and choose what they would like to participate in based on entity size and employee needs. 

Quartz offers an innovative approach to health insurance products and wellness programs designed to improve the health and well-being of people in the communities they serve.

“This partnership allows us to bring accessible, high-quality health care to more of our neighbors in Wisconsin,” said Quartz Vice President of Product Innovation, Christina Ott. “Bringing plans to StartingBlock gives local entrepreneurs more choices to meet their needs and budgets.”

“We are excited to partner with Quartz in an effort to make health insurance more accessible for StartingBlock Madison members.  It’s important that entrepreneurs have access to resources such as affordable health insurance, which can help them to attract and retain talent.  Our team is ready to guide members through the insurance process.” Rebecca Menefee, Vice President of M3 Elevate, M3 Insurance

“Entrepreneurs face so many challenges when trying to scale or launch a business. It can be even harder when you are inundated with the challenges we face in everyday life. StartingBlock Madison continues to provide resources for all entrepreneurs to succeed and that will allow more people to chase their dreams. This is another example of just that!” Max Fergus, CEO LUM

Heather Wentler, StartingBlock’s Entrepreneur in Residence, adds “Being able to afford high-quality benefits as an entrepreneur is a challenge; and the same goes for small business and early-stage venture owners who are trying to support their staffing benefit options to be able to retain talent. The fact that all membership types have this option too, and not only the companies who are using physical office spaces within StartingBlock, shows that StartingBlock supports entrepreneurs at every level of business development and believes in their growth and success.” 

StartingBlock members will have the ability to sign up for benefits starting January 2022 and new members will be able to access benefits of membership with applications being processed on a rolling basis. With this partnership, StartingBlock members will have access to office hours with M3 and Quartz along with resources to make the process accessible and straightforward.

As we continue to navigate a global pandemic, the need for affordable and accessible health care is essential for both physical and mental well-being. According to a McKinsey and Company study, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, 42 percent of employees globally have reported a decline in mental health. Symptoms of burnout are increasing among employees and leaders alike, according to press reports. These kinds of effects can be detrimental to small teams and startups, making access to telehealth services all the more necessary. 

“If we want to make the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Madison and Dane County truly accessible for all people interested in entrepreneurship, we have to start totally supporting entrepreneurial needs–not just talking about supporting them– and that includes providing healthcare options,” says Roughen-Schmidt.

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