MadREP Report: November 30, 2016
IMCP Designation Helps Attract over $2.1 Million in Federal Investment to the Region

National map of IMCP regions
In July 2015, MadREP received the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) designation, becoming one of just twenty-four IMCP regions in the nation. Led by the U.S. Department of Commerce, IMCP is a multi-agency initiative designed to accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing industries nationwide by supporting the development of long-term economic development strategies.

MadREP's IMCP designation targets the Agriculture, Food & Beverage (AFB) sector, and has also been leveraged to advance other industries in the region. MadREP and its partners have received coordinated support to identify federal resources, affording opportunities to access significantly greater federal dollars that help the region attract talent, technology, and investment.

Following the designation, MadREP formed a regional IMCP Consortium of 85 partners to implement the thirty projects included in the IMCP strategy, as well as any other opportunities to advance the regional economy. So far, the IMCP Consortium has supported 12 applications seeking more than $6 million in funding. And we're thrilled that our partners across the region have leveraged IMCP to successfully garner nearly $2 million in federal funding for their projects to date.
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded REAP Food Group $203,500 for its Wisconsin Farm Fresh Atlas project, which will connect local farms to more consumers throughout the state.
  • The Food Finance Institute received $500,000 from USDA to deliver financial management and training programs for Food Hubs to accelerate their growth and enable them and their clients to reach financial sustainability.
  • UW-Extension was named an EDA University Center for Wisconsin, receiving $750,000 from the U.S. EDA to further its assistance to local government and nonprofits for regional economic development strategy development.
  • StartingBlock Madison will receive $475,000 from the U.S. EDA through its i6 Challenge grant to cultivate the next generation of entrepreneurs, provide proof-of-concept and commercialization support to existing companies, and leverage and connect regional assets.
  • MadREP was awarded $200,000 in EDA Local Assistance funding to implement the IMCP Consortium.
"The key to the success of all of these efforts is that they are remarkable projects irrespective of their relationship to IMCP," said MadREP President Paul Jadin. "MadREP is pleased to add a competitive advantage by authoring, sponsoring or endorsing the projects under the auspices of the IMCP program. We look forward to assisting many more worthwhile programs while we have the designation."

View MadREP's full press release.
Grow Your Business Globally: Exporting Basics
Not sure where to start in expanding to global markets? This Exporting Basics video series from the International Trade Administration provides an introduction to exporting, outlining the important steps companies must take to begin exporting overseas and achieve real business growth.
Talent & Training: 
Business-to-student connection a sound investment
MadREP VP of Talent and Education Gene Dalhoff told attendees at the recent Columbia County Economic Development Corporation awards banquet that including their businesses in a database accessible to career-exploring teens is a sound investment in the future -- not only of the teen, but also of the business. "If we want small towns to sustain and thrive," Dalhoff said, "we have to connect kids with local businesses, while they're still in high school." That's where Inspire Madison Region comes in. Inspire is an add-on to, a computer program that's already in place in the guidance offices of many high schools. Inspire takes the process one step further by connecting students with local companies that offer the kinds of jobs in which they may be interested. What is needed now is more participation by businesses. "This is your opportunity," said Dalhoff. "to connect with students that are in your communities." 

Industry Spotlight:  
Multiplayer game: Video game companies join forces to level up the Madison scene

In 2015, a group of about 80 video game industry insiders and tech gurus gathered for a meetup organized by MadREP, the goal of which was to bring together all the key players in the area's video game scene -- from studio executives to independent developers to UW-Madison researchers. In part because Madison is home to industry heavyweights such as Human Head Studios, PerBlue and Filament Games, MadREP realized the region was poised for something special in the realm of game development. What came out of the meeting was the Madison Games Alliance (MGA), a network of studios in the metro area working together to change Madison from a deceptively quiet video game town into an internationally recognized hub of game activity. "When people say, 'Name the top five cities for video games,' we'd like to be on that list," said Jennifer Javornik, VP of Sales for Filament Games and the executive director of the MGA.

Regional Economy:
Madison airport finding more travelers flying local

With the economy on seemingly stable ground, business and leisure travel out of Madison's airport is growing. A total of 691,118 people flew out of Dane County Regional Airport through the end of September, up 9.5 percent from last year. Steady passenger growth is good for Dane County if it hopes to land another commercial carrier to serve Madison and offer more direct destinations to travelers. Additional direct flights from Madison would be welcome news, as the city's burgeoning tech industry is feeding more interest from local business travelers to reach other tech hubs around the country including Boston and San Francisco, said MadREP president Paul Jadin. When site selectors look for locations for a business headquarters or regional office, transportation and access to a quality airport are among the top priorities, said Jadin.

Regional Economy:
Wisconsin ranks 2nd for small businesses

Wisconsin ranks second among the 25 largest states for small business activity, according to a new report released by the Kauffman Foundation. The report found that more than half of the businesses started in Wisconsin survive their first five years. There's also a relatively high rate of adults in the state who own a business for their main job: 6.5 percent. And the state has a high density of local, established small businesses -- those that have less than 50 employees and are at least five years old. The high survival rate is evidence of the supportive culture and resources available to entrepreneurs in the state, said WEDC VP of entrepreneurship and innovation Aaron Hagar.

Talent & Training
Beaver Manufacturing open for business

A new business at Beaver Dam High School has many students learning the art of employment. Beaver Manufacturing, a non-compete school-based business that assists employers and the community with welding and fabrication jobs, began this year and has already seen interest from local manufacturers. The program is roughly based on Cardinal Manufacturing, which operates at Eleva-Strum High School. The students spend 90 minutes a day learning real life business practices in the classroom. The students benefit from learning employable skills and local businesses benefit from students developing skills before they enter the workforce. Area businesses have been very supportive of the technical education program in the high school, said Beaver Dam High School tech ed teacher Joe Kutzler. 

Industry Spotlight: 
Maturing companies help keep Wisconsin's tech scene vibrant

Epic in Verona and Promega in Fitchburg remain among the most familiar stories of companies born and raised here, in part because they're mature companies with long track records. Fortunately, that list is growing. One emerging story is Stratatech, founded by a professor in UW-Madison's School of Medicine and Public Health. Over time, Stratatech has produced the world's first genetically enhanced substitutes for human skin. The science is impressive, but so is the pathway that allowed the company to clear two rounds of regulatory approval from the U.S. FDA. The research began on the UW-Madison campus and was disclosed to WARF. The company set up shop in University Research Park, and won a string of Small Business Innovation Research awards before attracting private investors, being acquired by UK-based pharmaceutical company Mallinkcrodt last summer. The company stands as a prime example of Wisconsin's expertise around regenerative medicine. And there are other examples of companies coming of age, such as PerBlue, Nordic Consulting, and Propeller Health. 

Alternatives to Venture Capital
December 5, 4-5:30pm
Discovery Building, Madison
Join Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation for the upcoming session of its Entrepreneurons series focused on early stage financing alternatives. Learn more and register by 12/1
Wisconsin Fast Forward: Manufacturing Grant Program
Deadline: December 7
Applications are being accepted for Wisconsin Fast Forward's Manufacturing Grant Program, employer-focused worker training grants ranging from $5K-$400K. Find out more and contact the Office of Skills Development with questions or for technical assistance.
BioForward Annual Meeting
December 13, 5-7:30pm
BioPharmaceutical Technology Center, Fitchburg

Join BioForward to celebrate 2016 successes and determine 2017 direction. At the annual meeting you will get the chance to review key initiatives and have the opportunity to network with top innovators in the industry. Register online.
Nex7 Stage Event
December 14, 5-7:30pm
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce presents seven compelling pitches from the seven finalists for its inaugural Most Innovative Company Award at the upcoming Nex7 Stage Event. Learn more.
Fab Labs Grant Program
Application Deadline: December 15

WEDC will provide grants of up to $25,000 to eligible Wisconsin public school districts, or up to $50,000 to consortiums of two or more pubic school districts, for the creation and/or expansion of fabrication laboratories. Find out more.
Applications Now Open: gBETA Beloit
Deadline: December 18

Applications are being accepted for gBETA, a free six-week program run by gener8tor to help connect early stage companies with mentors, customers, and investors. This program will be based out of Irontek and begin in early 2017. Learn more.

Thanks to UW-Madison, WARF & University Research Park and to all of our investors

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