MadREP Report: April 13, 2017


Important Conversations: Economic Development Meets Diversity

In our fourth year of unparalleled partnership, Madison Region Economic Partnership (MadREP) and the Urban League of Greater Madison (ULGM) will host a joint event for Madison Region business and community leaders focused on economic development and diversity. Be in the company of 500+ business executives, community leaders, economic development professionals, educators, elected officials, entrepreneurs, and emerging leaders attending this year's event!

MadREP and ULGM are excited to announce this year's keynote speaker: Tiffany Jana, CEO, Author, and International Public Speaker.

Tiffany is the CEO and President of TMI Consulting, a Diversity and Inclusion firm based in Richmond, VA. With Tiffany at its helm, TMI Consulting has become a global leader in social enterprise and values-based engagement that nurtures and supports talent while making a positive impact in the world. Her latest published work is Overcoming Bias: Building Authentic Relationships Across Differences. Her awards and talks include: Diversity Journal's 2013 'Women Worth Watching,' Metropolitan Business League's 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year, BCorp Best for the World 2016 Award, Enterprising Women's Enterprising Women of the Year 2017 Award, and TED Talk: The Power of Privilege.

Join us in our collective commitment to advancing talent, opportunity and growth for all the region's citizens.  Early bird rates end tomorrow, April 14th. View the full agenda , and register today

We look forward to seeing you on May 11th!
Partner Profile: University of Wisconsin's Impact on the Regional Economy

This week, MadREP had the opportunity to showcase the impact of the University of Wisconsin (UW) on the regional economy in front of an audience of 50+ business and community leaders. Remarks from UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank and UW-Whitewater Chancellor Beverly Kopper were followed by a panel discussing the significance of the UW in the region and across the state. MadREP was pleased to be able to highlight this asset -- a reminder of how integral the UW is in driving economic development in the Madison Region and beyond.
Capital Connection
Third Fund Under State Program Gets $6M, To Be Based in Southern WI
A program supported in part by the state of Wisconsin that's aimed at helping startups raise venture capital said it invested $6 million in a new fund based in the southern part of the state. The new fund is the third launched in the past year under the program, which is known as the Badger Fund of Funds. According to a press release, the new fund is called "Rock River Capital Partners Fund I," and will be managed by Andy Walker and Christopher Eckstrom. The two men, who have experience in startups and investing, co-founded Rock River Capital Partners several months ago, but it was not clear until Tuesday's announcement that the organization was to become one of the "recipient" funds under the fund-of-funds program. Both of Rock River Capital Partners' co-founders graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and returned to the Badger State to start the fund, according to the release.
Business Expansion:
Underground Meats to expand, new brewery to open in east Madison
Starting this summer, Madison craft butcher Underground Meats will more than triple in size with a new processing facility, taking over from RP's Pasta Company at 1133 E. Wilson St. "We get a chance to stay part of the neighborhood we've been a part of for the last 10 years," said co-owner Jonny Hunter. "We can create more jobs and support more local farms as well as continue to support the neighborhood like we have." Joining the sausage makers when the lease begins on July 1 will be a new brewery from Ryan Browne, a home-brewer and manager at the Wine and Hop Shop. With State Line Distillery set to open on the east side not far from Old Sugar Distillery, Madison Sourdough milling its own flour, and a growing profile for small businesses like Potter's Crackers and Quince and Apple, the near east side is beginning to look like an artisan food and drink district. The addition of a public market, set to break ground in 2018 at First Street at East Washington Avenue, could take it a step further.
Read more.

Company Profile:
Friends team up to open new Janesville Brewery

Three friends are now making stellar brews they're ready to share. Andy Walker, John Rocco and Ed Sundstedt, all craft beer lovers from around the Stateline Area, recently opened Rock County Brewing Company in Janesville. The trio, along with long-distance investor and friend Toni Canzian of Pittsburgh, dreamed up the concept for the business a few years ago."It was really a journey to find the right place where we could make and serve our beer," Walker said. The friends have each been brewing for years and wanted to move away from creating their beers at home on the stove top, patio or even in the garage. Now that they have a brick-and-mortar location, everyone can relax and enjoy a drink at an inviting space. Walker said the current location is the perfect fit. "I hope that Rock County Brewing Company contributes to the ongoing redevelopment of the City of Janesville and provides the area with a venue for socializing and drinking locally-made, great tasting beer," Canzian said.
Regional Economy:
Road work grants helping DeForest businesses 

Two transportation grants totaling almost $1M are being put to good use in DeForest, extending roads in a business park to two new plants. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation contributed $945,000 in Transportation Economic Assistance grants to the village for road work in the North Business Park to new facilities for the Little Potato Company and American Packaging Corp. The recently-completed project extended the former Burton Boulevard, now called Little Potato Way, and created Shonkoo Way, connecting Little Potato Way and Yahara Road. The project also included the reconstruction of a segment of the former Grinde Road, now called North Stevenson Street, the extension of a recreation trail along North Stevenson Street and Shonkoo Way and the construction of a storm water detention basin.  The two plants are expected to create at least 189 new jobs in the village, according to a DOT news release on Tuesday. 

Community Highlight:
Madison draws attention as up-and-coming tech center
A new study shows Madison is one of 35 metropolitan areas around the U.S. with a "thriving startup environment." The study, conducted by the Progressive Policy Institute for TechNet, also says as many as 1 million jobs a year nationwide could be added if policies are enacted to encourage computer science, entrepreneurship and investing. According to the report, the U.S. currently has 10 technology hubs, led by San Francisco, San Jose and Seattle. Chicago, at No. 9, is the only Midwest city in the top 10. Madison ranks No. 26, the study says. It is the second publication in the past month to give a nod to the Madison area for excelling in the tech field. A Brookings Institution report ranked Madison No. 20 in the U.S. for its growth in certain types of tech jobs between 2013 and 2015. Startups "are the economic engine that drives job creation," said Linda Moore, president and CEO of TechNet. TechNet is a bipartisan network of technology CEOs and top executives.


Company Profile: 
With new defense certification, Pro-Active Engineering positioned for expansion 
Already an established manufacturer and designer of sophisticated circuit boards purchased by an array of customers including, Pro-Active Engineering has completed government registration allowing them to work on Defense Department projects. The company's timing couldn't be better as the U.S. appears poised for a big jump in defense spending. Already established in the medical technology sector, founder Toby Klusmeyer said Pro-Active isn't interested in creating components for weapons but said there are numerous products designed to protect military personnel as well as treat those injured in combat. Klusmeyer, who has a degree in electrical engineering from UW-Madison, never imagined when he launched his business in 1996 that he could one day be doing work for the Defense Department. The Small Business Administration estimates there are nearly 30 million small businesses in the U.S., and tens of thousands of government projects available for bidding annually. In the 2017 fiscal year, the government offered $245 billion in contracts for goods and services.
LiveBETA Pitch Night
April 13, 6-9pm
Irontek, Beloit

Meet all ten companies in the current gBETA Madison and Beloit cohorts at the LiveBETA Pitch Night, a celebration of the latest class of innovative startups. Presentations will begin at 7pm, preceded and followed by networking. RSVP online.
Rural Summit 2017: Who is the Future of Rural Wisconsin
April 19-20
Heidl House Resort, Green Lake

For all those interested in preserving and growing Wisconsin's rural communities, join Wisconsin Rural Partners for two days of presentations, discussions, and networking. Find out more.
Seminar: Foundations of Food Exporting
April 20, 8am-3:30pm
Fox Valley Technical College, Appleton

Join Food Export-Midwest and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection for this full day of food export education, and to become a more experienced exporter. Learn more.
Spring Tech Kickoff
April 20, 5-7pm
Galaxie, Madison

Technology business, entrepreneurship, and startups in Madison have another great year ahead. To celebrate and get in high gear for an eventful summer, Capital Entrepreneurs, Horizon Coworking, and the Forward Festival invite our community and its supporters to the 5th Annual Spring Tech Kickoff! Register online.
MITA Breakfast: Doing Business in Spain
April 21, 7:45-9:30am
M3 Insurance, Madison

Join Madison International Trade Association for this breakfast event and learn first-hand from the Spanish Trade Commission in Chicago about the opportunities for business in Spain. Find out more.
WARF Entrepreneurons: Talking Tech
April 24, 4-5:30pm
Discovery Building, Madison

Entrepreneurons is a WARF series focused on bringing the fundamentals of getting a new venture started to the UW-Madison community. The upcoming session will focus on how to use communications to make and break an idea. Learn more.
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