MadREP Report: February 21, 2018
Lessons From Amazon
We got the news last month, just like 218 other communities around the country, that the Madison Region would not be home to Amazon's HQ2.  Not a surprise in that we had made it clear to our board going in that we had hoped to accomplish three things in our application: 1) Get on Amazon's radar screen for other projects, 2) Create a template and process for similar responses in the future, and 3) Make the first cut.

While we did not make the first cut, the phone call I got from Amazon suggests that we did make an impression and, since they have half a dozen regional non-distribution projects in the pipeline we may get another at bat.  On the third factor, we had a great collaboration with city officials which bodes well for future efforts, and our submission is one that we feel pretty good about being able to replicate when necessary.  Madison can compete nationally but, make no mistake, in a world where everyone watched Elon Musk do it with Tesla and Jeff Bezos with Amazon, the state incentives game will always be in play.

So, where will they land?  My guess is that the Eastern Seaboard has the advantage right now.  Boston, New York/New Jersey and D.C./Northern Virginia/Maryland are intriguing; the former because it checks all of the boxes and the latter two because they give Amazon the ability to leverage incentives from multiple competing and neighboring states.  The fact that Bezos has a home in the D.C. area might mean that it and the two surrounding states have an opportunity to either beat each other up or create one of the most profound economic development collaborations the country has ever seen.  Good luck to all 20 and make sure there are at least nine zeroes on your check.

Paul Jadin, President
Madison Region Economic Partnership


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Business Expansion:  
Green Light For Northstar's Next Step
NorthStar Medical radioisotopes has been green-lit by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to proceed with marketing its patented technology to supply products widely used in diagnostic medical imaging for combating cancer and other ailments, according to a company news release.NorthStar was notified of the FDA approval Thursday, with the move signaling the first domestic production of valuable medical radioisotope molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) in more than 25 years, company officials said.FDA approval was the company's final regulatory barrier before production could officially begin. The company is also seeking FDA approval on its methods of shipping other isotopes to radiopharmacy labs across the country, with the company's patented transport device, RadioGenix, to be used for point-of-care uses on patients. NorthStar expects to be shipping products within "several weeks of FDA approval," the news release said.

Company  Inquisition:   
Middleton biotech Lucigen has been acquired

Lucigen Corp., a Middleton biotechnology company that makes life science research products, has been purchased by LGC, a global life sciences firm based in the United Kingdom. Terms of the transaction between the privately owned companies were not disclosed. It took effect on Thursday. Lucigen, founded in 1998, has more than 70 employees at 2905 Parmenter St. and expects to add at least 20 more this year, CEO Ralph Kauten said. He said revenue was $15 million in 2017 and is likely to reach $22 million this year. Kauten said the company - honored in 2017 for its sales growth with both a Wisconsin Governor's Export Award and a President's "E" Award from the U.S. Department of Commerce - will expand even more rapidly as part of LGC, with exposure to new markets and products. He said LGC plans to move more operations to the Middleton site.

Funding Retained: 
UW Carbone Cancer Center funding, top-tier designation retained
The UW Carbone Cancer Center will retain its designation as the state's only National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center, getting $27 million in renewed funding over the next five years.  "All cancer centers go through this every five years," explained Susan Smith, media relations manager at the UW Carbone Cancer Center. In compiling this review, scientists from the NCI evaluate both the impact of ongoing research and the amount of external funding secured.  
Nationwide, there are 69 NCI-designated cancer centers and 49 are official Comprehensive Cancer Centers. Carbone was one of the first six to get this designation when it was first awarded in 1973.  Outside of the money going directly to cancer research, Bailey says the center spends about $20 million per year for the organizational infrastructure that makes the research possible

Beloit College Downtown Project Nears Completion
Beloit College's entrepreneurial center is set to have a grand re-opening event this spring as crews are putting the finishing touches on the building's interior and exterior over the next few weeks.   The Center for Entrepreneurship in Liberal Education at Beloit (CELEB) spans the Houston and Hulburt buildings on East Grand Avenue in downtown Beloit. Brian Morello, CELEB director, said there's no official date for the grand opening yet, but the college already has held a few soft openings to prepare for the larger event later this year. 

Industry Focus: 
Wisconsin Agriculture Support For NAFTA Grows Louder 
More Wisconsin agriculture and food groups are joining Americans for Farmers and Families, a national coalition that supports continuing free trade with Canada and Mexico. Some in the agriculture industry worry the United States will leave the North American Free Trade Agreement as it remains under negotiation. The Trump administration is unhappy with the current deal but Kari Kuehl with the Wisconsin-based American Dairy Association - one of the coalition's eight new members - said pulling out of NAFTA would put dairy farms at risk. "We intend to do all we can to make clear to President (Donald) Trump and other policymakers the need to remain in NAFTA even as discussion takes place on updating it," said Kuehl. Mexico and Canada are the top two buyers of U.S. cheese exports, says David Ward with the Cooperative Network, which represents dairy businesses that work with independent dairy farmers.According to the U.S. Dairy Export Council, the value of cheese exports to Mexico in 2016 was more than $362 million. Cheese exports to Canada were roughly $66.9 million.


Innovation & Entrepreneurship:  
Middleton startup impresses BrightStar
ImageMover MD Inc., a Middleton startup that allows health systems to integrate imaging technology into electronic health records, has received a funding boost from BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation Inc. According to a release, BrightStar committed $260,000 to two companies - ImageMover MD and Milwaukee-based Ideawake - but ImageMoverMD in particular "has the chance to be one of the best investments we've made," states BrightStar co-founder and CEO Tom Shannon. The ImageMover funding round was led by HealthX Ventures of Madison. Ideawake has developed software that allows an organization's customers and employees to participate in and even drive its innovation.

Business Expansion:
Board OKs RLF loan to Jefferson's Basin Precision Machining 

The Jefferson County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday authorized issuing a revolving loan of up to $382,670 to Basin Precision Machining LLC. "(Basin) just completed a nice addition out on Collins Road and one of the major needs is equipment, (the cost of which) is well over $9 million," Jefferson County Administrator Ben Wehmeier said after the board's monthly meeting. "There are job guarantees that are built into that to help part of this, so we're just playing a small part of this to help make this project a reality." Basin Precision Machining, a precision CNC contract machine shop, recently completed a 22,500-square-foot expansion of its manufacturing facility at 211 Collins Road in Jefferson. It requested the loan to help purchase $9,697,122 worth of machinery and equipment for the space.

Private Investment fueling downtown redevelopment

As more comprehensive plans for a new library and hotel in Watertown's downtown inch forward, several small business and property owners are injecting new life into the city's considerable collection of historic buildings. Making one's way down the city's main thoroughfare, it's easy to see that not many vacant buildings remain. Structures that have long sat dark and empty are now beginning to brim with commerce. Perhaps the most obvious of these transformations is the recent relocation of pet grooming and supply store Pidder Padder Paws to the first floor of the historic Schempf Building. Since she moved her store from Summit Avenue last fall, Pidder Padder's owner Lisa Falk said business has seen a significant uptick. 

Strategic: Not Accidental Exporting
March 1

At this year's Manufacturing Matters! March 1 event at the Hyatt Milwaukee, we will be feature our 2017 Governor's and President's Export Award-winner, Lucigen Corporation.  Glaselyn Miller, International Sales Director will be sharing best practices in strategic exporting.  


Southwest Tech Offers  Home & Farm Food Production Workshop March 12

Are you interested in...
  • selling food at a farmer's market
  • starting a baked goods business
  • learning more about marketing your business/products 
Registration Fee $45.00-includes training materials, morning refreshment & lunch.

WI DATCP accepting applications for 2018Specialty Crop Block Grant (SCBG) program.
Deadline: March 16

Grants are awarded to projects intended to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crop industries through research, education or market development. Qualified projects are those meant to benefit the industry as a whole as opposed to benefiting one individual, farm or company.  

Call for Entries: InBusiness Magazine Dane County Small Business Awards 2018
Deadline: March 29

For 36 years, the  Dane County Small Business Awards  have put the spotlight on small businesses and the contributions they make to the local economy. If you're a successful small company doing business in Dane County, we invite you to enter today!

Apply online

ExporTech  3-Session Training
April 10, May 8, June 12

Forward- thinking Wisconsin companies are taking advantage of the explosive growth seen in other parts of the world. Today, 95% of consumers are outside the United States.  Develop a customized, action-oriented export expansion strategy with ExporTech. Graduates have achieved sales increases averaging $900k in 6-9 months after completing the program. 

Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce IceBreaker Luncheon April 12

The Chamber's fourth annual IceBreaker will bring together 1,000 current and future business leaders.Keynote speakers:  Syovata Edari, trial lawyer and owner of CocoVaa Chocolatier; Gen. Marcia Anderson - the first African-American woman major general in the history of the U.S. Army; and a third speaker to be announced.


Thank you to Madison Gas & Electric and to all of our investors.

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