MadREP Report | October 15, 2020
The Madison Region Economic Partnership (MadREP) and the Urban League of Greater Madison (ULGM) have announced additional speakers for the 7th Annual Madison Region Economic Development & Diversity Summit. The event, being held virtually October 22 and 23, will feature renowned national and regional speakers, programming and networking opportunities with a focus on why embracing diversity and inclusion is integral to equitable economic development in the Madison Region.

TODAY, October 15, 2020, is the last day to respond to the census. Census results shape the future of communities, as census data informs how billions of dollars in federal funds are distributed for health clinics, school lunch programs, disaster recovery initiatives, and other critical programs and services for the next 10 years. Take the census
Sector Highlight: Biosciences
The Region’s bioscience industries have a number of prominent, large employers that are key components of the cluster. While these large firms provide an important foundation for the bioscience cluster, it is also critical to consider that most firms have fewer than 100 employees, with many establishments having under 10 employees. These smaller firms are often neglected by economic development policies and incentives that target larger establishments for business recruitment and workforce development activities. In contrast, the needs of smaller firms may vary and often require greater support in the form of access to capital and technical assistance.

Area Tourism Leaders Speak Out About the Importance of Tourism in the Economy
The region’s hospitality industry is in critical condition. After a record year of visitor spending in Wisconsin in 2019, the effect of COVID on the regional hospitality industry has been devastating, imparting both an economic toll on communities and a personal toll on the tens of thousands of regional people who work in the industry. Madison, Wisconsin Dells, Janesville and Beloit each entered 2020 riding waves of recent visitor spending successes. Wisconsin Dells welcomes over 4 million visitors each year, and in 2019 visitor spending contributed to $1.67 billion of economic impact. In Janesville, visitors spent over $147 million in 2019, up 1.6% from the previous year. The greater Madison area saw record visitor spending in 2019, at $1.4 billion while Beloit recorded $264 million spent by visitors.

Anna Shircel, PR & Communications Manager with Destination Madison, spoke with leaders who represent regional tourism agencies and asked for their perspectives on how COVID-19 has affected their communities and what hope they have for the future.

How important is tourism/hospitality to your community?

Deb Archer, President and CEO of Destination Madison: Madison’s hospitality and tourism industry is a critical piece of the fabric of our community and economy. Beloved local shops and restaurants, iconic Madison attractions, live music and cultural festivals along with sporting events and legacy tradeshows that take place each year – these entities and events are fueled by visitor spending and reflect the vibrant personality of our destination.
Romy Snyder, President & CEO of the Wisconsin Dells Visitor & Convention Bureau: Tourism is far more than waterparks, attractions, hotels, golf courses and restaurants. Tourism boosts our local economy, employs thousands of people, supports infrastructure and education, enriches our area businesses and creates economic development in our community. Tourism plays a critical role in Wisconsin Dells.

Christine Rebout, Executive Director at Janesville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau: The tourism industry supports over 125 restaurants and 9 hotels in the Janesville community. Visitors to our community help sustain the community’s largest events including the National Water Ski shows, Freedom Fest, Art Infusion and the Tour of America’s DairyLand Bike Race; enhancing our quality of life and providing great activities for local residents to enjoy.

Celestino Ruffini, CEO at Visit Beloit: Our community recognizes that tourism is a strong backbone to our local economy. Before someone chooses to reside or build a business here, they first come as a visitor to experience our tourism-related assets that are deeply valued not only by visitors, but also by our residents.

Four Things You Need to Know This Week
Madison Named One of the Best Places to Live

#3 Madison is a town that defies definition. It’s a sports-crazy college town, but also the staid seat of state government. It’s a great place for millennials and recent grads, with a high employment rate, but also rated among the best places...

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We're All In Small Business Grants - Phase 2

WEDC is opening up a second phase of We’re All In Small Business Grants, making available more than $50 million of additional CARES Act funding to Wisconsin businesses hard hit by the pandemic.

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Entrepreneurship Support Program

WEDC will provide grants generally between $10,000 and $100,000 to eligible Wisconsin nonprofit organizations or communities for projects with eligible activities including the promotion of entrepreneurship; entrepreneurial education, mentoring...

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Open House at Novel Coworking

Working parents and students in Madison - this open house is for you! Novel Coworking, located at 345 W Washington Ave, is committed to working parents and students, and to alleviating some of the uncertainty of virtual learning this fall.

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Reopening & Recovery Resources
WEDC Reopening Guidelines

The future will require the gradual adoption of new business practices that reflect the evolving reality of the COVID-19...

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Return to Work

Businesses must show they are prepared to keep employees, customers and other guests safe.

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Greater Madison Chamber Slido

Join the Conversation! Please ask questions related to COVID-19 and business here.

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MadREP Partner Spotlight
Support from partners like these make our work possible. Want to get involved? Email