MadREP Report: October 5, 2017
Inspire Workforce Development Initiative Creates Regional Connections

Career development and exploration activities for students in twelve counties across Southern Wisconsin recently received a significant boost, as Inspire Madison Region and Inspire Rock County have integrated their databases to enhance collaborative talent development and employment engagement activities throughout the greater region.

With the integration of the two databases, students now can engage with employers in the following counties: Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Grant, Green, Iowa, Juneau, Lafayette, Richland, Rock and Sauk. While both Inspire Madison Region and Inspire Rock County (managed by MadREP and Rock 5.0, respectively) will maintain their regional identities, both will benefit from a significant increase in the number of employers, career coaches, and experiential learning activities. With integration, users now have access to 543 Career Coaches, 483 Company Profiles, and 2,453 Work-Based Learning Activities.

Since its inception in 2015, Inspire Madison Region has grown to nearly 55,000 active student portfolios, 23,406 of which have at least one saved career and 7,648 portfolios with at least one saved higher-education target. In addition, online career coaches have answered more than 500 questions from students.

With the merger, the joint-initiatives will cover 67 school districts (with the potential for more in South West Wisconsin), four technical colleges, one UW-System College and Beloit College. In addition, MadREP is currently working with its sister economic development regions throughout the state and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to promote and integrate Inspire statewide.

For additional information about Inspire Madison Region, contact MadREP VP of Talent & Education Gene Dalhoff at or 608.571.0403.
Applications Open: gBETA Beloit Fall 2017 Program

gBETA is a free, seven-week accelerator for early-stage companies with local roots. Each program is capped at five teams, and requires no fees and no equity. gBETA Beloit and its new director Phil Fonfara invite you to apply to the Fall 2017 program. Submit your application by October 12.
Talent & Training:
Blackhawk Technical College makes changes, increases enrollment

Blackhawk Technical College is boasting of an enrollment increase a little over a year since a new president began pushing staff members to change how the college does business. Fall enrollments had been dropping, as is normal in an improving economy. But President Tracy Pierner last year challenged his staff to make the college more user-friendly and to recruit more students coming directly out of high school. The college had enrolled 196 recent high school graduates at this time last year, said college spokesman Gary Kohn. This year, 295 are enrolled. Flexible class schedules are also attracting more students, allowing them to complete courses while juggling work and other responsibilities. "We still think we have much more room to grow," Kohn said. That includes adding more night and weekend classes, more part-time programs and different ways to deliver courses to working adults so they can advance in their professions, he said. 
Community Highlight:
New program prepares business owners for Madison's future public market 

A new program is grooming a diverse group of Madison-based entrepreneurs and first-time business owners for a public market slated to open in 2019. Thirty people were selected to participate in the MarketReady program, run by the Feed Kitchen and funded by the city of Madison with $250,000. Members of the cohort will learn marketing skills, develop business plans and receive assistance on applying for permits. Over the next two years, participants will receive one-on-one training and also meet in groups. At the end of the program, five entrepreneurs will be given $17,000 each to help run their businesses. Official vendors for the public market will be announced in fall 2018.
Talent & Training:
New talent initiatives director position to oversee statewide efforts to attract, retain highly skilled workforce 
In a joint initiative aimed at addressing Wisconsin's workforce development needs, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and the University of Wisconsin System (UWS) today announced the creation of a new position that will lead and coordinate statewide efforts to attract and retain talent for both organizations. The new talent initiatives director will work with WEDC and the UWS Office of Economic Development to help align local, regional, and statewide talent and workforce initiatives. The director will engage with organizations to provide insight and policy development to support the talent needs of Wisconsin's businesses. In addition, the director will serve as liaison to organizations and institutions seeking to develop and support complementary talent initiatives.
Regional Economy: 
World Dairy Expo opens with international crowd and terrific conditions  
While cows are clearly the draw to the Alliant Energy Center this week, the more than 70,000 visitors who will roam the World Dairy Expo through Saturday can also immerse themselves in the latest technology and other bovine-related businesses. Founded in 1967, the expo has evolved into a major undertaking that this year will feature 2,400 dairy cattle and 1,700 exhibitors from throughout North America. The expo, with an economic impact to the Madison area pegged at over $50 million, also includes a trade show with nearly 900 exhibitors from 30 countries that packs Exhibition Hall and fills a temporary building. Farm implements fill outdoor spaces including the main concourse between Exhibition Hall and the Coliseum, while the huge parking lot in front of Exhibition Hall is also jammed with tractors, balers, skid loaders, manure spreaders and other machinery.

Startup Scene:
Entrepreneurs encourage UW students to 'go for it'

Dreaming big can pay off -- if you are passionate and persistent. That was the message from four University of Wisconsin alumni who told their stories to several hundred students at the recent Wisconsin Entrepreneurship Showcase presented by the UW School of Business and University Housing. Speakers included Alex Kubicek, cofounder and CEO of Understory; Zack Halmsted, who started Jamf while he was a student at UW-Eau Claire; Madison-based serial entrepreneur Brian Wiegand; and Kristen Berman, who started NetNerds as a UW-Madison student, employing students to fix computers of other students on campus. "Don't be afraid to fail. It's part of the whole process," Wiegand told students. "Just go for it -- right now."
Business Expansion: 
Goex on the go again 
Plastic sheet and roll manufacturer Goex is on the go again in Janesville. The company is doubling down on warehousing space, adding 40,000 square-feet just a few years after building a new facility off Highway 14 on the north side. Goex President/CEO Josh Gray said the warehouse expansion is "phase two" of Goex's 2014 construction of its current, 190,000-square-foot manufacturing and warehousing facility. And it's needed as the company continues to grow business and broaden its footprint within the plastics industry. Goex plans to get the new space built and running by January 2018. The company is now on pace to have about 200 workers employed in Janesville by early 2018 -- including 12 new warehouse workers.
Applications Open: D2P Igniter
Deadline: October 6
Discover to Product (D2P) provides resources to bridge the gap from inspiration to commercial reality. D2P is currently seeking applicants for its fall Ingiter program cohort. Learn more and apply online
5 Steps to International Sales Success
October 10, 11:30am-4:45pm 
Fluno Center, Madison 
Join Madison International Trade Association for a presentation by globally renowned international sales instructor Doug Lawrence on how to win new business internationally. Find out more
A Taste of Calgary
October 10, 5-8pm
DIRRT Green Learning Center, Chicago

Calgary Economic Development presents an evening with Canada's Top Chef, Nicole Gomes. Network with influential Canadian business leaders and learn about opportunities in Calgary's new economy. Register online.

Webinar: Place VR for Economic Development
October 10, 11-12pm

Join Golden Shovel Agency to learn how 360 VR technology is being used by economic developers as a business and workforce attraction tool. Learn more.

Business Boot Camp: Skills for Launching a Start Up
October 19-20
UW-Baraboo/Sauk County

A special event focusing on Sauk and Columbia County entrepreneurs, come learn how to effectively launch a new business, network with area entrepreneurs, and get connected to business resources. Register by 10/11.
WEDC: Entrepreneurship Support Program
Application Deadline: October 20

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation is  providing grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 to organizations or communities for projects with eligible activities including the promotion of entrepreneurship. Find out more.
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Thank you to John Deere and to all of our investors. 


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