Featured Grant The Hustle

Entrepreneurs of Color Spotlight: Ignacio Enriquez of Ascent Consulting

First responders for first responders. Ascent Consulting was founded by veteran police officer Ignacio Enriquez to address the stresses that come with working in law enforcement.

Enriquez was featured in the Entrepreneurs of Color Spotlight series, which highlights entrepreneurs of color to empower and support their businesses. It is sponsored by the Appleton Public Library, ColorBold Business Association and UW-Madison Division of Extension.

Enriquez spent four working in juvenile corrections in California and 15 years in law enforcement for the Appleton Police Department. He found himself in a unique position with his background as a law enforcement officer and a licensed counselor, and his studies obtaining his bachelor’s in sociology and master’s in counseling. Enriquez, encouraged by his wife, Nancy, wanted to transition into using his license and passion to help find a way to help people that help others — law enforcement in his case.

“I think for me, there were a variety of different things that sort of aligned to where I’m at today,” Enriquez said. “Early on in my career, I started to gravitate towards a certain part of helping people.”

As Enriquez notes, he and others that get into law enforcement seek out the career with the idea of wanting to help others. He started Ascent Consulting, 701 E. Evergreen Dr., Suite 295, Appleton, in 2019 with that mission in mind.

Currently Ascent Consulting and Enriquez’s focus is centered on mental health support, crisis de-escalation training and suicide prevention for law enforcement, government officials and first responders.

“I tell people it’s providing and enhancing wellness overall for law enforcement and first responders,” Enriquez said. “I found this niche, if you will, and it was this thing I feel very passionate about in helping the helpers.”

His passion dictated his focus, but Enriquez wasn’t sure where to start. He didn’t have an entrepreneurial background, due to his lifelong career in law enforcement, so he leaned on others for advice.

“I knew I didn’t have the personal knowledge on how to get that going. That meant I had to collaborate, and I had to seek support from many other people that are experts in the field,” Enriquez said.

Enriquez, in his pursuit to build his business’ strong foundation, went to Fox Valley Technical College’s Venture Center. The Venture Center is a place for startups and small businesses to work on their business through streamlining operations, launching their business and minimizing wasteful steps through training and one-on-one mentoring.

“In there, they would walk you through from beginning to end as to how to even develop a business plan, how to do research on competition, how to structure your fees and payments — different things like that,” Enriquez said. “For me, going back to school and just learning the business end of things, was very, very instrumental to what the company is today.”

But despite the foundational strength taken from advice and the Venture Center, Enriquez still leans on his wife Nancy. Any decisions for Ascent Consulting needs to start at home for Enriquez, and family is the pillar behind how he continues to grow.