MadREP Report: January 4, 2017
Economic development regions in WI
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Beyond the Madison Region: 
Building Unity in Economic Development 

You likely know the Madison Region Economic Partnership is busy working on initiatives to attract and retain businesses in our region, but did you realize we're part of a network of similar organizations across the state?

The Regional Leadership Council (RLC) is comprised of participants from the nine regional economic development organizations. Their monthly meetings have encouraged relationships which foster unity and leadership among the groups in order to promote Wisconsin as a great place to build or expand a business.

"The RLC was organized to provide a comprehensive communications pathway for regional organizations to talk to one another and to our principal state partner, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC)," said Jerry Murphy, executive director of New North, Inc.

Pat O'Brien, executive director of Milwaukee 7, believes the RLC is a good example of the continuing evolution of economic development practices in the state. "The RLC provides a forum for the regional leaders to share best practices, the latest trends in economic development, and work on cross regional issues."

Throughout the past year, the RLC established core activities in economic development and began successfully sharing best practices. Steve Jahn, executive director of Momentum West, is the new Chair of the Council, replacing MadREP's president Paul Jadin who served the past 18 months. "The RLC has been a  driving force in taking the work of the individual regional economic development organizations (REDOs) to the next level ," said Jahn. "The REDOs have developed programs suitable for statewide implementation in their markets, established details and prepared for rollout elsewhere. Programs such as the Supply Chain Marketplace, Gold Shovel program, and now regional talent initiatives are spreading from organization to organization. Without the RLC these collective efforts wouldn't take place, and we would be reinventing the wheel over and over instead of leveraging the capacity of the REDOs working together."

O'Brien says the forum has also greatly increased collaboration with the state economic development organization. "We have a good relationship with WEDC, allowing us to provide local input into the best ways to use and distribute scarce state resources. The results are a more well connected network of economic development organizations working together to improve the state." Jadin agrees, "The intent of regionalism in Wisconsin was to get everyone in the state performing at a similar level on core activities. The RLC has moved the needle on that in a way WEDC could not do on its own. And, it's a lot easier to fund regional initiatives like our own Inspire Madison Region program when WEDC knows it will be shared with eight peers." 
Join Madison International Trade Association (MITA) on January 10 for the 2017 Global Economic Forecast: Where Will the Growth Be event to look into the future of the global economy, identify your export opportunities, and hear from keynote speakers from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and Wells Fargo Capital Management.

Then on February 14, put your plan into action by attending MITA's Keys to Export Compliance in 2017 program to learn about the latest and ever-changing export compliance laws, how to deal with shipments that get stuck at the port, common red tape concerns, how to avoid costly penalties, and achieve exporting success. 
Learn more about these and other international-focused events at
Regional Economy:
Not all public sector jobs: Dane County second in GDP growth among Wisconsin counties

Rankings from SmartAsset -- a financial technology company based in New York -- show that Dane County has the second-highest GDP growth among Wisconsin counties. It's one of multiple indicators that show the economic health of the county, which extends beyond the public economy associated with the university and state government. GDP, or gross domestic product, is the total dollar market value of goods and services produced over a specific period of time, measuring how fast an economy is growing. Dane County's healthy GDP growth can be linked to unique target sectors, said MadREP president Paul Jadin. "Life sciences and information technology set us apart... It comes out of a very strong relationship with business and University of Wisconsin." 

Talent & Training:
Program pairs businesses with students for experiential learning

A new program to Lodi and Poynette school districts enlists local businesses to help students envision their futures. Through the Inspire Madison Region program, students can explore future careers by connecting with career counselors or find experiential learning opportunities such as job shadowing, tours and internships. Inspire Madison Region is a supplement to Career Cruising, which is the career exploration software program the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has made available to all public school districts in the state. The Career Cruising software has resources to build a portfolio and explore different career paths. "But where it's lacking is connecting students to experiential learning opportunities," said MadREP VP of Talent and Education Gene Dalhoff. And so, Inspire Madisn Region picks up there. The Inspire Madison Region program was partly founded because of local businesses' desire to recruit future employees, Dalhoff said, and he encourages businesses to get involved to benefit local students.

Startup Scene:
The 'Internet of Things' is quietly taking root in Madison

The Internet of Things (IoT) is an increasingly visible phenomenon in Madison, with a growing class of entrepreneurs in town who are working on innovative devices of their own. Bob Baddeley is a serial entrepreneur who is currently working on the Allergy Amulet, an IoT device that can help identify allergens in food. He says that IoT is just the next step in the history of computing. Propeller Health has been making waves with its smart asthma inhaler attachments, which can help people with respiratory conditions monitor their health. Weightup Solutions uses wearable technology to collect data that can help athletes with their weight-lifting routines. And OneEvent Technologies was just named the "most innovative company" for its software that monitors safety conditions inside buildings via smoke detectors.

Business Expansion:
CAMECA breaks ground on expansion

A new 28,596-square-foot building by Ruedebusch Development recently broke ground at Nobel Drive in Fitchburg. The building will be a new office location for CAMECA Instruments Inc., the world leader in elemental and isotopic microanalysis. "We want to create a building where everyone can be the most productive, a space where people can leave feeling better than when they came in," CAMECA Instruments country director Jesse Olson said. The $5.9 million project is an addition to the live-work neighborhood, joining the Kepler Center for Promega, a 30-unit multi-family apartment also under construction and several new single-family homes. "Another new building on the Fitchburg Certified Site is a benefit for the city and reinforces the advantages of the Tech Lands development for growing companies," Fitchburg Mayor Steve Arnold.

Community Highlight:
Janesville job market emerges in 2016 after climbing from Great Recession

2016 might be remembered as the period when Janesville's job market began to emerge after a years-long climb from the Great Recession. Janesville's total workforce saw historic rebounds as a few large employers moved to the city and one big employer launched a major hiring spree, bringing 600 new jobs here. The result is increased demand for workers and higher pay for many jobs. The headcount for the Janesville area's total workforce late this year rose to nearly 90,000 -- the highest in nearly a decade. And Rock County's unemployment rate stayed locked at 3.9 percent in September and October -- a low not seen since 2000. A leading edge in that growth has been new jobs in various sectors, with new employers and expansions including Dollar General, A.M. Castle, W.W. Grainger, and Plastic Industries.

On the Move:
Madison draws a startup from Chicago with a novel way to track cancer

A startup company that is working to fight cancer is moving to Madison from Chicago, and is bringing along its first round of funds from investors. Capio Biosciences has developed technology that can identify cancer cells in the bloodstream, said co-founder and president Seungpyo Hong. Hong joined the UW-Madison faculty this week as a professor of pharmaceutical sciences. Capio's device, the OncoSense CTC, can pinpoint cancerous cells and measure them to see how the patient is responding to the treatment, Hong said. He said it's faster, easier and less expensive than conventional tumor biopsies or body scans. The company is renting space in the MGE Innovation Center at University Research Park. Its first investors -- a Chinese pharmaceutical company and angel investors -- have provided $2.9 million, the first part of a $4.5 million financing round. 

Evansville I&E Club: Wacky Invention Contest 
January 12, 6:30pm
Creekside Place, Evansville
Join the Evansville Area Inventors & Entrepreneurs Club for its 10th annual Wacky Invention Contest. This year's theme is transportation. Trophies will be awarded for Best Invention and Best Presentation. Bring your own team or join one at the event. Find out more.
Accepting Nominations: 2017 Governor's Export Achievement Awards
Deadline: January 13, 5pm

WEDC is accepting nominations for the 2017 Export Achievement Awards, which recognizes Wisconsin companies and organizations that have achieved extraordinary results in international markets or have contributed to the state's ability to compete in the global economy. Learn more.
Seminar: Water Optimization and Efficiency in the Food Processing Industry
January 27
The Water Council, Milwaukee

Attend this seminar presented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark and partners across the Midwest to learn about water optimization as well as the challenges and solutions with water in the food processing industry. View the event brochure.
Call for Entries: Wisconsin Governor's Business Plan Contest
Deadline: January 31

The mission of the Governor's Business Plan Contest is to encourage entrepreneurs in the startup stage of tech-based businesses in Wisconsin. The contest links up-and-coming entrepreneurs with a statewide network of resources. Learn more.
Nominations Open: 2017 Top Rural Development Initiatives
Deadline: February 3

Wisconsin Rural Partners is accepting nominations for Top Rural Development Initiatives to recognize, uncover, and share the great things happening throughout rural Wisconsin. Any project, activity, or community in rural Wisconsin is eligible. Find out more.
Governor's Conference on Economic Development
February 8-10
Hilton Milwaukee City Center

Join Wisconsin Economic Development Association for its biggest education and networking event of the year. This three-day conference includes education sessions, exhibits, receptions, and other networking opportunities. Register online.

Thank you to all our investors
who support our region's economic future through their generous financial contributions.

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