MadREP Report: September 7, 2017
Regional Roundup: Moving the Madison Region Economy Forward  
Communities across the Madison Region are dedicated to moving their economies forward, and it's evident in the growth taking place in all corners of the eight-county region.
Groundbreaking at Heritage Ridge Travel Plaza (image source: Beaver Dam Daily Citizen) 
In Rock County, the Janesville Plan Commission approved the creation of a business improvement district to make its downtown more welcoming and attractive, while Iowa County's Dodgeville is building a solid foundation for growth with Phase II of a comprehensive plan and preparing development-ready land for businesses looking to locate there. Meanwhile, Heritage Ridge Travel Plaza broke ground in Dodge County's Waupun, where a tax increment district was established to clear the way for development and the addition of about 50 jobs. 
One of Columbia County's largest employers, Associated Milk Producers, Inc. held a job fair for its approximately 80 openings in the Portage area. And business -- 20 million pounds of processed cheese every month -- is unlikely to slow down, with first place awards for processed cheese going to Associated Milk Producers at the World Dairy Expo, the Wisconsin State Fair, and the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest. Klondike Cheese Company of Green County increased its capacity with a second facility slated to open in April 2018, where it will make an additional 100,000 pounds of cheese a day. 
Expansion at ETC (image source: Wisconsin State Journal) 
In Dane County, the latest expansion at Middleton's Electronic Theatre Controls will make room for another 250 employees. Computer design firm Extreme Engineering Solutions proposes to triple its space with a new 120,000 square-foot location in the Silicon Prairie Business Park, while the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation announced plans to triple its investment in startups. Meanwhile, Madison-area companies continue to climb the Inc. 5000 list of "fastest-growing private companies in America."  
The economy in Jefferson County is certainly booming, with Generac Power System's $73 million statewide investment which will include upgrades to facilities in Jefferson and Whitewater, and Ab E Manufacturing breaking ground this fall on a new $3.5 million manufacturing headquarters and production facility in the City of Waterloo's industrial park.  
Finally, the International Crane Foundation unveiled plans for a $10 million expansion to its headquarters in Baraboo, as Sauk County retains its spot among the top counties for state tourism spending -- an economic driver that contributed $20 billion to Wisconsin's economy in 2016.
This sampling of economic development activity across the Madison Region -- from planning to workforce development, funding to business expansions -- shows the great breadth of work that goes into advancing the region's economy.
Fifth Annual Madison Region Economic Development Guide

Showcasing the best of the Madison Region's people, places and positive business climate, the Madison Region Economic Development Guide reinforces the area's favorable assets while also targeting prospective residents, employees, businesses and visitors. The fifth annual issue and its companion website will launch in Spring 2018, and we invite you to join us in this important effort.

For more information on becoming a part of the Madison Region Economic Development Guide, contact Scott Young at or 256.394.1068.
Regional Economy:
Inspiring the next generation of workers

Workforce development woes are nothing new to employers constantly in search of talented and skilled young workers to fill out their ranks. That's why it was welcome news last week when all nine of Wisconsin's regional economic development organizations announced they're teaming up to develop a statewide platform that directly connects local employers to students.The regional organizations, with support from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), will expand the use of a web-based platform called Inspire that virtually connects area businesses to their future talent pool through online profiles, virtual career coaches, and career-based learning activities for high school students and educators.  Taking the lead on the initiative is the Regional Leadership Council, a coalition made up of the executive directors of the state's regional economic development organizations.
Industry Spotlight: 
State agricultural exports still on the rise 

More and more of the food and other agricultural products grown by Wisconsin farmers continue to be enjoyed by consumers around the world. That's according to the state's agriculture department, which announced this week that Wisconsin is on pace for another record-breaking year for agricultural exports. Wisconsin shipped over $1.8 billion worth of farm products abroad to 134 countries between January and June of this year. That was an 8.8 percent increase over the same period in 2016; placing the state 12th in the nation in ag exports. "Our solid first-half export numbers, which outpaced the U.S. increase in exports, is yet another indication of the overall strength of Wisconsin's economy," Governor Scott Walker said. "We are seeing more companies of all sizes and industries gain access to new markets and new customers through exporting. This is outstanding news for the state business and farmers." 
Business Expansion: 
Kollege Town Sports operational in new Sun Prairie Business Park facility  
Kollege Town Sports' new 102,125 square foot facility means more opportunity for the company. "We have more room to do our thing, more space for equipment, inventory, offices and a beautiful showroom to bring our customers to so they can see how we stand out from our competitors," said vice president Jeff Handlen. More than 172 employees -- the majority of whom work at the Sun Prairie facility -- are part of the production, sales, design and administration teams. City of Sun Prairie officials worked hard to beat out surrounding municipalities in landing the new Kollege Town Sports facility here, to provide jobs for residents and boost the local economy. The Sun Prairie City Council OK'd creating Tax Increment Finance (TIF) District 12 to offer the company $1.3 million in a pay-go TIF incentive over the course of eight years. As part of the agreement, the company agreed to build a facility worth $7.5 million and hire 240 employees by 2021, according to Taylor King, the city's Economic Development Specialist.
Talent & Training:
Madison College's 'bold' plan for south Madison includes school district partnership  
Madison College recently unveiled a plan for the school's South Campus Initiative that holds the promise of enhancing the college, community and beyond. The college will purchase a site near a Madison Metro bus hub, a walkable destination for south side residents. Madison College will also partner with the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) on a pipeline program that will allow selected MMSD students to complete STEM coursework in their junior and senior years of high school at the college in a dual credit program. The planned opening of the new South Madison Campus is in fall 2019. "In Madison, we all need to be bolder -- to take more risks, to do better for our young families of color, especially those who live in south Madison. This is an example of that kind of action," said James Howard, president of the Madison School Board.

Capital Connection:
Record funding raised for startups in state tax credit program

The ecosystem for early-stage companies is maturing, a Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation report suggests. The report, released Wednesday, examined companies that earned the state's Qualified New Business Venture certification in 2016. The certification allows investors in the company to earn tax credits for invested fund, with the idea behind the program being to incentivize investment in Wisconsin firms. Investors into certified companies earn a tax credit equal to 25% of the equity investment. Total funding to those certified companies topped $281 million in 2016, up from about $176 million in 2015. It's the largest funding total in at least the past 10 years.
Read more. 
Company Profile: 
Duluth Trading Co. celebrates expansion; downtown Mount Horeb reaps the benefits
The additional 2,219 square feet at the Duluth Trading Co. store in downtown Mount Horeb is adding to the energetic vibe of this village's troll-themed downtown that will also gain the Duluth headquarters in 2018 in a five-story building under construction a block away from the store. "We are thriving. It's hard to keep up," said Melissa Theisen, executive director of the Mount Horeb Area Chamber of Commerce.
Since opening its flagship store in Mount Horeb in 2010, the company has added 20 more stores and two outlets. This fall it will open six more stores in four states. "Its tremendous success gave us the confidence to pursue our retail store expansion," Duluth's CEO Stephanie Pugliese said. "Mount Horeb has been very good to us, and we are proud to present our town with a newly renovated store and later with a new Duluth Trading headquarters building just a few blocks away."
Tax, Trade & Top Tier Capital
September 12, 11:30am-2pm
Fluno Center, Madison

Madison International Trade Association presents this upcoming program focused on possible global tax and trade policy changes, with an emphasis on the European Union and Wisconsin's 2nd largest trade partner, Mexico.  Find out more.
Community Economic Development Awards
September 13, 5pm
The Edgewater Hotel, Madison
Join WEDA in recognizing the 18 finalists -- individuals, projects, businesses, and organizations -- that are making significant contributions to Wisconsin's economy.  Register online by 9/12.

gALPHA+CS Accelerator
Now Recruiting for Fall 2017 Class 
gener8tor is partnering with the UW-Madison Computer Sciences (CS) Department and WARF to bring its gALPHA program to the UW-Madison campus. gALPHA+CS will connect industry experts to CS students to help them build products and start companies.  To learn more or apply, contact Director of gALPHA Kiernan McGowan.
Biotech: From Idea to Market - Regulatory Overview and SBIR Funding Support
September 14, 10:30am-5pm
MG&E Innovation Center, Room 50, Madison

Join the Center for Technology Commercialization for this free workshop featuring speakers from FDA and NIH, as well as one-on-one sessions. Learn more and register online.
WEDC Global Trade Mission: Tel Aviv, Israel
Registration Deadline: September 22

WEDC will lead a global trade mission to Israel from Oct 26 to Nov 3, with the goal of helping Wisconsin companies forge profitable ties with Israeli partners. Learn more and register by 9/22.

Transportation: The Future is Now
September 26, 8:30am-4:30pm
Monona Terrace, Madison

Join 1000 Friends of Wisconsin for this conference focusing on how communities can design transportation policy to achieve economic growth, environmental sustainability, and social equity in a changing world. Find out more.
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