MadREP Report: January 11, 2018
From Wisconsin to Argentina: Building International Connections 
MadREP's multi-pronged international program focuses on export and import facilitation, promoting foreign direct investment, and connecting the Madison Region's industry clusters and start-up ecosystem with like organizations and consortia in other parts of the world.

In 2015, MadREP hosted 50 private-sector and academic leaders from 27 countries in the Americas as part of the third America's Competitiveness Exchange on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ACE), an initiative of the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Organization of American States. This and future ACE events provided MadREP and its Advance Now Strategy significant exposure to the U.S. government and several Latin American governments, centers, and organizations. Ultimately, MadREP was identified as a national best practice for mid-sized regions, and the U.S. Embassy in Argentina invited MadREP to help guide the Argentinian region of Cordoba in the development of an economic development program.  
Last month, SVP of Economic Development Michael Gay -- who is fluent in Spanish -- spent a week in Argentina sharing MadREP's operational programming with chambers, economic development organizations, business leaders, innovators, and academics in the Cordoba region. Additionally, one-on-one meetings were held with targeted businesses to create linkages with Madison Region industries and companies.

Building on new insights and networks formed during this mission, MadREP plans to connect innovators from Cordoba with markets in the Madison Region as well as introduce businesses in the eight-county region to opportunities and partnerships in Argentina -- especially in our shared industries of strength: Agriculture, Food & Beverage Manufacturing, Information Communications Technology, and Medical Devices.

For more information on MadREP's international activities, contact Michael Gay at 608.571.0402 
First Business Annual Economic Survey Results

With 15 years of data from Wisconsin business leaders, the First Business Economic Survey reflects  executives' assessments of overall and regional financial performance, as well as predictions for the next year. Find out what business leaders are saying about 2017 and 2018 anticipated sales, capital expenditures, profitability, hiring, wage changes, capacity and more, and compare those numbers to years past. View the results for Dane County  here

Talent & Training:
Study to target manufacturing labor in Dodge and Jefferson Counties
The Dodge County chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has been awarded an Enterprising Leadership Grant for its partnership with the Glacial Heritage Development Partnership (GHDP). The Dodge County SHRM and GHDP began working together in March 2017 to help Dodge County manufacturers attract workers. "With more than 62 percent of Dodge County's employed residents currently commuting out of Dodge County to work, the goal is to better understand how we can keep these workers employed in Dodge County, and specifically in manufacturing, the county's largest industry," said GHDP President Vicki Pratt. "We know everyone is trying to hire -- this study will provide us with data about the actual number of workers willing to consider jobs in manufacturing in Dodge County," Pratt said.

Startup Scene:
Madison firms Ideas That Evoke, Dotcom Therapy gain national recognition

Two young Madison companies are among 360 named by Entrepreneur magazine as the "best entrepreneurial companies in America." Ideas that Evoke, a marketing agency, and DotCom Therapy, a transplant to Madison that offers speech and language therapy online, are on the 2017 Entrepreneur360 list. Entrepreneur says it chose companies whose leaders "expertly balance impact, innovation, growth and leadership to grow their business." DotCom Therapy has nearly 100 employees and has served clients in at least 18 states and three foreign countries. This is Ideas That Evoke's second time on the Entrepreneur360; it made the magazine's list in 2015, as well. "I hope ... as Wisconsin-based businesses are awarded recognition such as this, it continues to put Wisconsin on the map for continued innovation and leadership," said Kelly Ehlers, founder and president of Ideas that Evoke.


Regional Economy: 
Wisconsin groups join Microsoft's effort to close the rural broadband gap
Wisconsin groups representing rural schools, technology, business and other interests are backing an ambitious plan to close the rural broadband gap that's left millions of Americans without access to high-speed internet service. The groups are part of a new coalition, called Connect Americans Now, that aims to extend high-speed internet access across the country. In Wisconsin, the national coalition's partners include the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance, Wisconsin Economic Development Association, Wisconsin Technology Council, and Wisconsin Realtors Association. The strategy, which is getting its biggest push from Microsoft Corp., is to leverage what's called TV white space, the unused broadcast channels between active channels, to deliver internet service. Access to high-speed internet service is much like the highway system in its potential to foster business growth and enhanced quality of life in rural communities, according to Carl Ruedebusch, chairman of the Vilas County Economic Development Corp.
Regional Economy:
Business leaders excited about addition of non-stop Madison-San Francisco flights
Madison's tech community is turning cartwheels over the news this week that nonstop flights to San Francisco -- with nearby Silicon Valley, the top U.S. technology hub -- will start in June. Not just tech companies, but federal laboratories and academic research centers, such as the U.S. Forest Products Lab and Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, have ties between Wisconsin and the Bay area, said Wisconsin Technology Council president Tom Still. Airport director Bradley Livingston said he's been working for many years to persuade United Airlines to offer the direct flights. "This is a very significant development for Wisconsin," he said. Madison will be the smallest city east of the Mississippi River to have direct flights to San Francisco and the only one in Wisconsin, airport spokesman Brent McHenry said.

Business Expansion:
United Alloys expands Janesville, Wisconsin plant

United Alloy, Inc., a designer, manufacturer and powder coater of certified metal tanks, skids, frames, trailers, chassis and related products, is expanding its footprint by adding a new 100,000 square-foot production facility in Janesville, Wisconsin. More than 50 new full-time jobs will be created as a result. According to James Otterstein, Rock County Economic Development Manager, "This expansion is yet another example of the thriving manufacturing environment that exists within the Janesville-Beloit MSA. Furthermore, it demonstrates the ongoing support that companies continually receive when they invest and expand their Rock County operations."

Startup Scene:
Local entrepreneurial ecosystem made strides this year: Tribe 9 Foods captures thriving startup community

The healthy and thriving local startup community in 2017 may be best captured by an exciting new venture in the local artisan food industry known as Tribe 9 Foods. The company is the result of the merger of Madison-based RP's Pasta and Yumbutter along with Ona Treats (an energy bar and cookie company that relocated to Madison from Loveland, Colorado). Tribe 9 occupies enormous office space and a production facility on the east side of Madison. This merger was made possible because of the ambition and hard work of the original company founders, management teams and employees. The result typifies what we're experiencing in the Madison area right now: a maturing entrepreneurial economy and community. It's impressive and the result of heavy lifting by a wide range of individuals and organizations -- public, private and nonprofit. Tribe 9's debut is a feather in the cap of our incredible local food system.

Nominations Open: 2017 Governor's Export Achievement Awards
Deadline: January 13

The Governor's Export Achievement Awards recognize companies that have contributed to Wisconsin's exporting strength by achieving extraordinary results in international markets and elevating Wisconsin's competitiveness in the global economy.  Nominate a company.
2018 Business Plan Contest Info Session
January 17, 6-7:30pm
Industrious, Madison

Wisconsin Technology Council president Tom Still and Jonathan Fritz, Chief Strategy Officer of Symphony Corp. and 14-time contest judge, will offer an overview of the contest and the benefits of participating, as well as answer attendees' questions.  Register online .
MPower Champions Public Showcase
January 19, 7:30-9:30am
Monona Terrace, Madison

Join Sustain Dane's 2017 cohort of MPower Champions to get a first-hand look at their successes. Learn how MPower, a proven model of sustainability success, continues to help businesses and schools move toward a more sustainable future. Register online.
Nominations Open: WEDA Professional Awards
Deadline: January 25

Nominations are being accepted for the Wisconsin Economic Development Association's Professional Awards in the following categories: Organizational Excellence and Young Professional. Awards will be presented 2/1 at the Governor's Conference on Economic Development. Find out more.
Call for Entries: Wisconsin Governor's Business Plan Contest
Deadline: January 31

The mission of the Governor's Business Plan Contest is to encourage entrepreneurs in the startup stage of tech-based businesses in Wisconsin. The contest links up-and-coming entrepreneurs with a statewide network of resources. Learn more.

RFP: Rural Communities Facing Design Challenges
Deadline: February 16

Citizens' Institute on Rural Design (CIRD) invites rural communities to apply for design assistance. In 2018, CIRD will focus on helping rural leaders and residents find creative solutions for design issues related to multi-modal transportation, healthy living by design, and main street revitalization. Learn more.
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who support our region's economic future through their generous financial contributions.

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