MadREP Report: November 16, 2018
Sauk County Development Corporation Completes Housing Study and Needs Assessment 

The Sauk County Development Corporation, in partnership with Alliant Energy, the County of Sauk, City of Baraboo, City of Reedsburg, Village of Prairie du Sac, Village of Sauk City, Village of Spring Green, and Village of West Baraboo contracted with Vierbicher  Associates to complete a housing study and needs assessment to guide immediate and future housing actions in Sauk County. The study assessed the existing housing supply, identified issues and gaps related to housing, established a demographic profile of the communities, projected current and future demand for housing using available data, and identified potential financing opportunities to achieve the partner communities' housing goals.

"As economic developers, we often focus on attracting new business and supporting the growth of existing businesses," said MadREP Acting President Michael Gay. "A lack of affordable housing, including workforce housing, will be an ongoing obstacle to attracting the necessary workers to support those efforts. Housing studies in our counties and communities are a great first step in identifying solutions to these housing challenges."

The project was divided into four different phases: Engagement, Assessment, Strategy, and Implementation. The planning process involved using the insights gained from the engagement and assessment phases to develop a list of specific needs for each partner community, along with the strategies needed to address those needs. The project team prepared a summary of future market demands for 5, 10, and 15-year increments that identified the number and type of units, along with the generational impacts that influence housing preferences.

Keynote Presentation by Aaron Kennedy, Image Courtesy of Wisconsin Technology Council
2018 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium 

The 2018 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium attracted a mix of 524 investors, entrepreneurs and others Nov. 7-8 at the Monona Terrace Convention Center, where a combination of company pitches, speakers, panel discussions and workshops focused on ways to enhance venture and angel capital investing in Wisconsin.

Forty companies presented to investors during separate presentation tracks over the two days. Scores of investors from Wisconsin, the Upper Midwest and beyond were on hand to hear those presentations and to meet with companies one-on-one during the "Investor Intros" segment on Nov. 8. Presenting companies were selected from a larger pool vetted by the Wisconsin Technology Council, which hosted the annual symposium, and the conference steering committee.

The conference also featured keynote presentations by two speakers: Aaron Kennedy, the founder of Noodles & Co., who talked about his experiences in building that company as well as lessons he learned while serving as Colorado's chief marketing officer; and Kelly Fitzsimmons, a serial entrepreneur who delivered a brutally honest talk about success, failure and bouncing back from the depths of adversity.

MadREP in the News:   
Governor Walker Announces No-Interest Loans Now Available for Southwestern Wisconsin Business Owners Affected by Flooding

Under the Disaster Recovery Microloan Program, WEDC awards grants to its regional partners, which in turn issue loans to local businesses. 

WEDC has already awarded a $755,000 grant to the Madison Region Economic Partnership to assist businesses in south-central Wisconsin and a $605,000 grant to the Mississippi River Regional Planning Commission. The three regional organizations represent the areas of the state that were hit hardest by the flooding and severe weather in late August and early September.


Wisconsin voters embrace pot; nearly 1 million vote yes on medical, recreational use
Wisconsin residents are closely divided on who should lead the state, but they agree in overwhelming numbers on pot.
Nearly a million voters in 16 counties and two cities answered yes on nonbinding referendums Tuesday asking if marijuana should be legal for medical or recreational use.
With referendums in the five most populous counties, more than half the state's population was able to weigh in on a total of 23 ballot measures, and every one of them passed by a wide margin.

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Life Sciences:
Blexx, a startup whose tool destroys used hypodermic needles, wins Madison pitch contest.
Blexx Technology, a company started by a 21-year-old UW-Madison student with a new tool to dispose of used hypodermic needles, picked up the top prizes at the Elevator Pitch Olympics on Thursday.
Blexx got the judges' No. 1 ranking and won the "people's choice" award in the event, a high-speed pitch contest that gives entrepreneurs 90 seconds - about the time it takes to ride an elevator - to explain their startups..

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Agriculture, Food & Beverage
A $10 million brewery expansion in Waunakee, Sun Prairie gets brewpub and others are on the way
Just three years after opening, Showaki's Octopi Brewing Co. is out of space, the $1 million canning line installed just over a year ago is too slow to keep up with demand and the company, where 85 percent of the beer made is for other brewing companies on contract, is turning away business because it has reached capacity. That's why Showaki has broken ground on a $10 million project that will nearly triple the size of his 18,000-square-foot brewery and increase the brewing capacity to 100,000 barrels annually compared to the 40,000 barrels expected to be produced by the end of this year.


Information Technology:  
Exact Sciences signs deal with Epic Systems, hikes sales, widens losses
Exact Sciences Corp. has forged a relationship with Epic Systems Corp., the electronic health records giant in neighboring Verona.
"Epic will become a core component of our IT (information technology) system, from order entry all the way through revenue cycle and customer care," Exact CEO Kevin Conroy told financial analysts in a conference call last week.
"It will help us deepen our connection with customers of Cologuard and other future (diagnostic) tests," Conroy said.
Advanced Manufacturing:
Talking tariffs: Politics aside, how are tariffs impacting construction costs in Dane County?

Rebuilding after massive hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, or fires, depending on the scale of the disaster, can impact the supply and demand of construction materials nationwide and increase rebuilding costs.
But these days, there's another influence on construction costs - tariffs. It's certainly not a new idea. The United States has imposed tariffs as a revenue-generating border tax since the late 1700s to fund the federal government until they were primarily replaced by income taxes in 1913, when Congress passed the 16th Amendment.

Tax & Accounting Workshop, November 29
Accurate accounting is critical in making informed decisions for your farm or agribusiness.
Compeer Financial® accounting specialists will review common accounting transactions often done in error, helping you to better understand how to correctly report income and expenses.
You'll also get insights into preparation of financial statements, payroll processing and QuickBooks.

2018-2019 Social Impact Initiative Competition, December 3
StartingBlock, in partnership with the American Family Institute and Associated Bank, seeks the best and brightest social impact entrepreneurs to join us as part of a brand-new Social Impact Initiative at StartingBlock.

Members of this social impact "pod" will sit at the nexus of enterprise and solving significant social and environmental challenges, focusing on how a business-driven approach can make a difference. 
FutureQuest18, December 5
By Dane County School Consortium.  Location: Exhibition Hall at the Alliant Energy Center, 1919 Alliant Energy Center Way, Madison, WI 53713
FutureQuest 2018 will expose companies from all 16 career cluster pathways to over 5,000 middle school students from Dane County.
The FutureQuest exposition will involve hands-on activities allowing students to explore career and academic opportunities to become Future Ready .

Discover Global Markets: Indo-Pacific, December 10-12

Discover Global Markets is the U.S. Department of Commerce's flagship event series for U.S. exporters! Attendees will include CEOs/presidents, sales & marketing professionals, business development managers, engineers, procurement representatives, supply chain operations. Target industries include: aircraft, engines, MROs, aviation services, avionics, aerospace composites, airport ground support equipment, cyber defense, additive manufacturing, unmanned systems, surveillance & detection and more.
Wisconsin School for Beginning Market Growers, January 11-13
A three-day workshop for anyone wanting to start a fresh market vegetable farm, will be offered early next year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. The program will be held January 11-13 for beginning farmers who want to grow and market fresh produce.
The program emphasizes organic production methods and direct marketing. Participants will learn about fertility management, greenhouse use, season extension, pest management, equipment needs, planning and budgeting. Instructors include both experienced growers and UW faculty and staff.

Rural Business Development Grants (RBDG)
RBDG is a competitive grant designed to support targeted technical assistance, training and other activities leading to the development or expansion of small and emerging private businesses in rural areas that have fewer than 50 employees and less than $1 million in gross revenues.
RBDG funds must be directed for projects benefiting rural areas or towns outside the urbanized periphery of any city with a population of 50,000 or more.

Thank you to all our investors
who support our region's economic future through their generous financial contributions.

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