MadREP Report: October 12, 2016
Inside Innovation: oneEvent Technologies brings life-safety systems into the modern age

The Village of Mount Horeb in Dane County is home to a population of nearly 7,500, characterized by its quaint downtown with specialty shops and a unique thoroughfare lined with wooden trolls -- a classic feature of its Scandinavian heritage. It's also home to one of the Madison Region's most innovative companies: oneEvent Technologies.

Co-founders Dan Parent and Kurt Wedig
Co-founded by Kurt Wedig and Dan Parent in 2011, oneEvent Technologies is bringing life-safety systems into the modern age by using cloud-based technology to provide smart building protection. The company's onePrevent system alerts building owners and occupants to issues -- such as rising humidity or temperatures -- before they become problems. By collecting and providing immediate access to data via smartphone or tablet, property owners are able to reduce the frequency and severity of emergencies, first responders can access vital information needed to save lives, and insurers are better informed in limiting and evaluating risk.

The company has hit growth mode, expanding its office space as well as leasing additional space to house inventory and packaging. Recently, oneEvent Technologies partnered with several local dealer-installers to make its product available to commercial properties in south central Wisconsin. In August, it took home a Most Innovative Company award during the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce neXXpo event, and will be among the seven finalists making pitches to a group of Wisconsin investors at the Nex7 Stage Event in December.

MadREP supports the region's Innovation & Entrepreneurship (I&E) ecosystem, and had the opportunity to make a direct impact on this start-up's success together with Mount Horeb Area Economic Development Corporation (MHAEDC). "MadREP and MHAEDC have been great partners in helping oneEvent leverage local resources, find key talent, and open up new business opportunities," said oneEvent Technologies Founder/CEO Kurt Wedig.

For more information about MadREP's I&E efforts, contact Enterprise Development Director Craig Kettleson at 608.571.0405.

Thank you to Brick Road PR and MHAEDC Executive Director Brad Murphy for contributing to this story.

REAP Food Group Receives $203,500 USDA Grant with Support of MadREP's IMCP Designation  

Madison-based REAP Food Group has been awarded a $203,500 grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program for its Farm Fresh Atlas Project, with support from MadREP's Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) designation. The Farm Fresh Atlas project will expand farmer-to-consumer marketing in Wisconsin by creating one statewide mobile-friendly, searchable database and website of sustainable farms, farmers' markets, and businesses; launching a statewide marketing campaign to promote the website and printed atlases; and evaluating and improving the effectiveness of online and print atlases for farmers, farmers markets, and consumers. View the full press release.
Regional Economy: 
Improving workplace diversity is a work in progress 

Many leaders are raising awareness about improving diversity and inclusion in Madison area employers' hiring practices. While regional companies including Alliant Energy, MG&E, AmFam and Dean Health are making a difference in diversity hiring practices, there's still work to be done, according to Urban League of Greater Madison (ULGM) CEO and president Ruben L. Anthony. This past spring, ULGM and MadREP collaborated for the third straight year on an Economic Development and Diversity Summit. In conjunction with the Summit, MadREP released the results of its Workplace Diversity & Inclusion survey, which showed that out of 349 employers, 81 percent do not have workforce demographic goals. MadREP president Paul Jadin says companies can start by recognizing best practices and creating a diversity statement to suit the company's purpose.

Talent & Training: 
Schools with 'fab labs' on the cutting edge of manufacturing innovation

In a room that once stored unused equipment, the Waunakee School District is outfitting a space where students can explore their futures. Dedicated this month, the fabrication laboratory -- or "fab lab" -- within Waunakee High School is a year or so from being fully operation. However, students are already utilizing the laser engraver, and more computer operated machines such as 3D printers are on the horizon. The Waunakee Innovation Center is part of a growing network of school-based fab labs in the state, a movement that promises to expose more young people to careers in manufacturing -- a sector that remains a core strength of the Wisconsin economy. There are 25 fab labs in Wisconsin school districts, and more are on the way as WEDC has earmarked an additional $500,000 for the program.

Business Expansion:
Fiskars opens Middleton headquarters

Fiskars -- the Finnish consumer products company best known for its orange-handled scissors -- hosted a grand opening last week for its new Middleton headquarters on Discovery Drive. The firm will coordinate its North, Central, and South America operations from the facility. Expected to create 55 jobs as part of the $26.3M project, the new building could house up to 400 people in 108,000 square-feet of office, research and development space. The state pledged $800,000 in tax credits tied to new jobs, and $3.15M in tax increment financing from Middleton helped with site development.

Business Expansion:
Toledo picks Beloit, will bring 118 jobs

Toledo Molding and Die, Inc., a supplier for the Fiat Chrysler plant in Belvidere, IL, is planning to move into a building in Beloit and bring up to 118 jobs to the area. The company will lease a 105,000 square-foot industrial building being built by Hendricks Commercial Properties. "We are excited to be expanding our operations in the southern Wisconsin region," said COO Dave Spotts. "The Beloit community is ideally located to support our continued partnership with Fiat Chrysler in the Belvidere Assembly plant. The support we have received from the Hendricks' team, as well as state, county and local officials has been outstanding and we are looking forward to the successful launch of our newest facility."  

Capital Connection: 
HealthX Ventures raises first fund

HealthX Ventures, a Madison venture capital firm that invests in digital healthcare businesses, has raised more than $20M for its first fund from about 80 investors. The fund puts money into very early stage software businesses that solve cost, quality, and access issues in the healthcare industry, said founder and managing partner Mark Bakken. "The first wave was getting the electronic medical record platform in place to start introducing the concept of documenting medical history in a way you could search it," Bakken said. "The next wave will be the effort to slice and dice the information, and use it to produce lower costs and healthier people." Madison is well-positioned to participate in that revolution.

Read more.   

Talent & Training: 
Soft skills, permanent jobs: Blackhawk Tech teaching employability basics 

At Blackhawk Technical College (BTC), school is work, and workplace standards are referred to as "core abilities" -- taught just as other skills like welding. At first glance, core abilities -- which include skills such as teamwork and problem solving -- seem like the kind of ideals spouted on break room posters. BTC has taken those generic values and made them into a code that can cost a grade, or even a place, in a program.  "We -- technical colleges -- all suffer from the same feedback from stakeholders, from our employers," said culinary arts instructor Mark Olson. "They tell us that we are excellent at teaching technical skills. When our cooks leave they're really good cooks. When our welders leave they're really great welders... But they lack soft skills; they lack what we call 'employability essentials'." Instead of repeatedly correcting inappropriate behaviors, staff got serious and included workplace standards in the curriculum. 
WIN Luncheon - What the Feds Want: Priorities in Health IT
October 18, 11:30-1:30pm
Sheraton Hotel Madison

At the next Wisconsin Innovation Network Luncheon, a senior innovation strategist for the U.S. Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT will offer an overview of federal priorities related to healthcare information technology. Learn more.
Doing Well by Doing Good
October 18, 6-8:30pm
Wisconsin Union Theater, Madison

Join top elected officials, state and local government staff, business and nonprofit leaders, UW representatives, and other professionals in an important conversation about our future prosperity and sustainability at the Wisconsin Environment Initiative's 20th anniversary event. Learn more.

How and why STEM engagement is part of the cycle of innovation
October 20, 4-5pm
Discovery Building, Madison

Join Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation for a special Wisconsin Science Festival edition of its Essential Topic Series on the importance of engaging the public and future generations of inventors in STEM. Find out more.
Webinar: Leverage Brownfields Assessment/Cleanup Funds with Economic Development Resources
October 25, 12-1:30pm

Learn how to successfully leverage resources for brownfields revitalization through a number of economic development resources available from HUD, EDA, and USDA. Learn more.
Wisconsin Pavilion at 2017 National Restaurant Association Show
Deadline: October 30

Join the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection as part of the Wisconsin Pavilion at the National Restaurant Association Show taking place May 20-23 in Chicago, IL. Contact Ashwini Rao for more info.
2016 Badger Bioneers Conference
November 10, 8am-5pm
Union South, Madison

Celebrate social innovation and honor champions in our community at this one-of-a-kind conference that will challenge, inspire, and prepare you with new ideas, partners, and skills to build a sustainable future together. Learn more.

Thanks to BMO Harris Bank and to all of our investors

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