MadREP Report: March 15, 2017
MadREP & Urban League partner for fourth joint Summit 
May 11, 2017 | Monona Terrace, Madison 

In our fourth year of unparalleled partnership, Madison Region Economic Partnership and the Urban League of Greater Madison will host a joint event for Madison Region business and community leaders focused on economic development and diversity.

The Madison Region's Economic Development & Diversity Summit builds on our previous joint events in a collective commitment to advancing talent, opportunity and growth for all the region's citizens.

The day-long event -- held May 11 at the Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center -- will feature keynote speeches, break-out sessions, and networking opportunities for an anticipated audience of 500+ business and community leaders from across the eight-county Madison Region.

Featured speakers include: 
Dr. Chris Benner is the Dorothy E. Everett Chair in Global Information and Social Entrepreneurship, Director of the Everett Program for Technology and Social Change, and a Professor of Environmental Studies and Sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His research examines the relationships between technological change, regional development, and the structure of economic opportunity, focusing on regional labor markets and the transformation of work and employment.

Dr. Edward E. Hubbard is President and CEO of Hubbard & Hubbard, Inc., an international organization and human performance consulting corporation that specializes in techniques for applied business performance improvement, Diversity Return on Investment (DROI®) measurement and analytics, instructional design and strategic organizational development. He is the author of more than 40 business-related books.
Dr. Alicia Robb is the founder and CEO of Next Wave, which provides early stage financing and advising to young firms. She is a prolific author on the topics of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial finance. She is an angel investor, a mentor to various young firms, and a general partner in several early-stage venture funds.  

REGISTER TODAY! Get early bird pricing until April 14. 
View more information and register online at

Early Bird Rates (by April 14): $199 Standard | $99 Government/Nonprofit rate 
After April 14: $249 Standard | $119 Government/Nonprofit rate
All rates include full Summit & Luncheon.  Sponsorship and group rate benefits are also available.
Special thanks to our presenting sponsors: 
LiveXchange Conference Coming to Madison Region:
MadREP and Greater Madison CVB bringing 60+ site selectors to Madison

MadREP and the Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau are excited to announce they were successful in winning the bid for the 2018 Business Facilities LiveXchange event, which will bring more than 60+ influential professionals to the area for three days in May, 2018.

LiveXchange is a unique, exclusive event for site selectors and consultants who are searching for locations for their corporate expansion and relocation projects. Attendees will include representatives from Fortune 500 organizations, high-growth companies and leading site consultants. The consultants will hold meetings and tour the region, seeing firsthand all the Madison Region has to offer. Learn more.
Business Expansion:
RP's Pasta and Yumbutter merge with paleo-friendly newcomer Ona Treats

Two local artisan food companies and one that from Fort Collins, Colorado have joined forces in a new merger. Fresh pasta maker RP's Pasta, the nut butter company Yumbutter and paleo-friendly Ona Treats from Colorado merged in late February. An investment group called Natural Food Partners created a new umbrella for the three brands called Tribe 9 and offered $2 million in growth capital. The new company will also be able to offer contract manufacturing, or co-packing, to new and established natural food companies. That side of the business is called Real Food Innovations. The potential benefit to hopefully keeping production in Madison is geographic, RPs Pasta founder and chief creative officer Peter Robertson said. But the city's name has cachet too. "When you look at specialty food or just quality food, Madison pops up as a good brand name," Robertson said. "It's important to keep that name Madison at the bottom." 

Company Profile: 
Arch Virtual creates real-life success in nearly boundless field of virtual reality  
Arch Virtual founders Kandy and Jon Brouchoud started their company in early 2014, providing customized virtual reality (VR) services and tools. Usually, VR is associated with games or entertainment, but the Brouchouds are not just interested in playing. "We're focused specifically on using virtual reality to solve real-world problems," Jon Brouchoud said. For now, at least, that involves creating 3-D simulations for architects and builders, the health care industry, energy-related projects and education. The company recently provided the Madison Plan Commission with a virtual reality walk through The Spark, the eight-story building planned by American Family Insurance in the 800 block of East Washington Avenue, featuring StartingBlock Madison. A report last week by IDC projected worldwide spending in the VR and augmented reality market will hit $13.9 billion in 2017 and could reach $143.3 billion by 2020. By the end of this year, Arch Virtual expects to top $1 million in revenue since 2014.
Read more.

Industry Spotlight: 
Madison shows 'great momentum' in tech job growth, Brookings analyst says

Madison is one of the few U.S. metropolitan areas with a rising share of tech jobs, according to a new Brookings Institution report. Madison ranked No. 20 in its growth in tech jobs between 2013 and 2015, with 2,900 jobs added in the fields of software publishing, data processing and hosting, computer systems design and other information services. It was seventh-highest in the percentage increase of tech jobs, with an average gain of 11 percent a year. And it may gain even more ground in coming years as tensions mount over the high cost of living on the East and West Coasts and over escalating political concerns, the report's co-author says. The Brookings report didn't surprise Vicki Ryan, vice president of human resources at Nordic."We've got a strong academic infrastructure, great entrepreneurial spirit, and the Madison community is a great place to make a home," said Ryan.

Read more. 
Regional Economy:
Wisconsin businesses made $21 billion from foreign exports last year - here's who's buying what we make

Wisconsin companies exported $21.2B worth of products to sellers outside the United States in 2016, a dip of about 6 percent from the previous year. Despite the state's identity as the Dairy State, manufactured goods are far and away the top Wisconsin exports, including the top five product categories. Here are Wisconsin's top five foreign export products from 2016:
  • Industrial machinery - $5.2B
  • Medical and scientific instruments - $2.34B
  • Electrical machinery - $1.98B
  • Vehicles and parts (excludes rail) - $1.57B
  • Plastic products - $1.03B
Dairy products, eggs and honey made up just 1.18 percent of state exports last year.
Read more.

Capital Connection:
WEDC awards $700,000 to provide seed funding for startups
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has awarded grants to three organizations around the state totaling $700,000 that will be used to provide seed funding to tech startups and early-stage companies. The Milwaukee Development Corporation received a $500,000 grant; the Greater Oshkosh Economic Development Corporation received a $125,000 grant; and the Whitewater Community Development Authority received a $75,000 grant. The Whitewater Community Development Authority will use its $75,000 grant to make a "diversified portfolio of micro-investments and grants aimed at increasing the number of startups in the city and supporting emerging growth companies." The WEDC grant money comes from its Capital Catalyst Program, which was established in 2012 and has thus far provided $3.5 million in seed funding to more than 100 businesses statewide. 


Community Highlight: 
In Fort Atkinson, a downtown revival rides on the back of a historic building

Plans to revitalize Fort Atkinson's Creamery Package Manufacturing facility, energize the city's downtown and fill the historic structure with employees are being realized. Mike Herl, a Dane County-based real estate broker and developer, and Adel Salameh, who has owned the Verlo store in the building since 2004, purchased the Creamery Building in late 2015, gradually filling the spaces that for decades were used to make milk tanks and other equipment for the dairy industry. Tenants include nearly 60 employees from AC Business Media, 80 employees from RateWatch, and Salameh's Verlo store. What had been an adjacent warehouse has been split in half for CrossFit Fort Atkinson and a Mr. Brews Tap House that will open in a few weeks. The project is being supported by the city with $80,000 in tax incremental financing and $300,000 in the form of a revolving loan. WEDC has also awarded a $250,000 grant to the city to help with further development on the site, which is adjacent to the Glacial Heritage Trail. "It's a catalyst project for the downtown," said Matt Trebatoski, Fort Atkinson's city manager. "It's definitely a welcome thing to the community."

Read more
Webinar: Overview of federal funding for your broadband needs
March 15, 1-2pm

This webinar presented by BroadbandUSA will provide an overview of the federal programs that provide funding for broadband planning, infrastructure deployment, research, public computer access and digital literacy. Register online.
MITA: US-EU Trade Relations -- Storm Clouds on the Horizon?
March 17, 11:30am-2pm
Fluno Center, Madison

Changes in trade policy on both sides of the Atlantic could disrupt supply chains and affect export opportunities. Join Madison International Trade Association at its next program to hear from two expert speakers on US-EU trade relations. Learn more.
Doyenne Spring Showcase
March 22, 5-7pm
Yahara Bay Distillery, Madison

Five women-run local businesses will present their story, products, services and future business goals in five-minute snapshot presentations. Get a direct view into how women entrepreneurs are launching and running innovative companies in our region. Register online.

Funding Opportunity: Wisconsin Fast Forward Grants
Application Deadline: March 31

Wisconsin Fast Forward grant funds support short and medium term employer-led worker training projects. Worker training grants are available for Wisconsin Construction Trades and Related Occupations and Wisconsin Small Business Occupations. Find out more.
How Public Research Affects the Biohealth Industry
April 6, 7:30-9am
Accuray, Madison

Hear Ben Miller, UW-Madison Assistant Vice Chancellor for Government & Corporate Affairs, and Crystal Potts, UW-Madison Director of State Relations, discuss the recent budget proposal and its impact on both the university and Wisconsin's biohealth community. Learn more.
Business Succession & Retention: Employee Ownership Solutions
April 20, 9am-3pm
Landmark Services Cooperative, Cottage Grove

Business owners, economic development professionals and policy makers are invited to attend this workshop that will cover employee ownership structures, converting businesses to employee ownership and the resources available when selling to employees. Register online.
View more events and opportunities at

  Thanks to Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and to all of our investors .


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