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May 26, 2020

Dear readers: 

Coming off a Memorial Day weekend during which few of us ventured far from home, it may seem an odd time to learn about the state of tourism in Wisconsin. But that exactly what Tourism Secretary Sara Meaney provided Tuesday in an online session with members of the Wisconsin Technology Council board of directors.

So, why would the Tech Council care about tourism? It’s part of the economic and cultural fabric of the state and one of the ways people outside Wisconsin form first impressions, and lasting opinions, about Wisconsin as a place to attend college, start a career, grow a business or retire. It is a talent attractor.

Last year was a banner year for Wisconsin tourism, with billions of dollars in sales and tens of millions of visitors. It’s a much different picture in 2020, with travel-related sales down 85% and state tax revenues suffering as a result. There are glimmers of hope, Meaney noted, such as indications people are rethinking air travel in favor of driving vacations in the months ahead. Because most of Wisconsin’s vacation visitors arrive by car, even during a normal year, that’s a strong base to build upon.

Board members also heard how the Department of Tourism uses data to learn more about mobile visitors, the importance of broadband in extending visits, and how information technology determines how, when and where to best reach potential visitors.

This is Meaney’s first foray into government, having spent her career until 2019 in private business. Learn more about her here and more about Wisconsin’s many attractions: Link to Travel Wisconsin YouTube channel.

Stay tuned as we roll out more highlights of the annual Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in the coming days and watch for news media coverage of the June 4 event:  You may register here for the conferenceGet early access today.

Make sure to check out our newsroom below for fast-changing information about Wisconsin’s reopening process.

 Meaney, Sara 2020


Stay tuned for announcements about virtual Tech Council webinars on COVID-19 issues of interest to our members and others.

Do you have news or best practices to contribute to a future edition of Tech Council Current?

Have a great week ahead, 

Tom Still, president

Registration now open for our ‘virtual’ Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference!

We recently announced that Brian Pinkerton, Apple’s chief architect for Siri and a graduate of the UW-Madison Department of Computer Sciences, will speak June 4 during the
Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Conference on a virtual platform that will offer plenty of interaction with attendees.

Click here to read the conference press releases: (* NEW)
* Discounted registration for vets, students available for June 4 Entrepreneurs' Conference *
Tech Council's virtual event platform launched for June 4 Entrepreneurs' Conference 
Exact Sciences CEO Kevin Conroy to receive the 2020 'Seize the Day' award June 4 at 'treps conference
Five interactive workshops to target post-COVID strategies at June 4 Entrepreneurs' Conference
Panels at virtual Entrepreneurs’ Conference will focus on COVID-19 economic recovery 

‘Virtual’ Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference will offer plenty of ways for attendees to engage
‘Siri, did you know your boss will speak June 4 at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference?’

We’ll announce more conference highlights soon, including engaging ways for attendees to network among themselves and presenters. Nothing beats live, but this will come close! Among the features of the conference over time have been the Governor’s Business Plan Contest (see more below) and a presentation by the winner of the Wisconsin Youth Entrepreneurs in Science, or YES!, contest. A full release on the young people advancing in that competition is linked here, as well.

Please stay tuned for more about panel discussions, workshops and special networking activities.                                                                    
Register here!


The BPC class of 2020: Finalist profiles

The Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest began in late January and will culminate June 4 during the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference. Some contest finalists were profiled by senior and graduate students in a UW-Madison Department of Life Sciences Communication capstone class. Visit, our “Student Stories” and our BPC website to see more stories about these young companies. Today’s feature story is about “FixdPicks.”

FixdPicks uses AI for ROI transparency in sports betting
By Diego Vega Rivera

FixdPicks is pushing for artificial intelligence to be the next big thing to come to sports betting.

Founder Zach Nichols came across the idea for the new company when he was working on some code and saw that the algorithm was predicting the outcomes of National Basketball Association games rather accurately. It was through this code that the team created FixdPicks.

FixdPicks offers a subscription service that allows its subscribers access to the picks that the algorithm believes will win. By utilizing the algorithm, the AI can comb through many more data points than the traditional expert and can therefore predict the winning teams better than any individual person can.  Click here to read the full story.



Our Business Plan Contestants could use your support!

We announced a crop of 28 finalists in the 2020 Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest this week, and we’re looking forward to the competition entering the next phase. If you’re able to contribute services to the prize kitty – legal, accounting, consulting, office space, media and design, cash or something else a young company might want – please contact us. Email your ideas to: and she’ll get back to you. Thanks for helping this exciting group of entrepreneurs advance their companies during a challenging time.

Watch for the “Diligent Dozen” presentation videos coming this week!


WPR: Where stay-at-home orders and other COVID-19 restrictions are in effect in Wisconsin
WISN: Counties, municipalities that reopened & remain closed
Dane County issues its own order, continues Safer At Home measures
City of Milwaukee Health Department: COVID-19 Public Health Plan for the City of Milwaukee
Wisconsin State Journal: 13 of 72 Wisconsin counties and the city of Racine have extended stay-at-home orders
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Here's which Wisconsin counties and cities have continued or started new stay-at-home orders
Urban Milwaukee: Cities respond to pandemic with public space experiments
The Journal Times: After the coronavirus: Your next road trip may look like this
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: What we've learned about how to protect yourself from coronavirus in reopened Wisconsin
Milwaukee Business Journal: Employers need to weigh legal and health ramifications when reopening, experts say As Memorial Day tempts people outdoors, precautions advised
The Cap Times: Some Madison restaurant owners wary about reopening dining rooms How should I clean and store my face mask?
Wisconsin State Journal: How to manage COVID-19 risk as you leave your cocoon


 Milwaukee Business Journal: Advocate Aurora invests in firm that gained attention as domestic PPE manufacturer
New York Times: Coronavirus shut down the ‘experience economy.’ Can it come back?
VentureBeat: Understanding VC cycles for post-pandemic success
WISN: 'UPFRONT' recap: Wisconsin lost $1.7 billion in tourism since mid-March
The New York Times: The coronavirus is deadliest where democrats live
WisBusiness: DWD Secretary Caleb Frostman called for increased funding from the U.S. Department of Labor to boost broadband in Wisconsin
WISN: Madison makes the list of cities expected to recover quickly when the pandemic is over
Wisconsin State Journal: Despite lack of surge, Wisconsin hospitals plan for future waves of COVID-19 infections
Release: Siemens Healthineers now shipping worldwide total antibody test and molecular test kit for COVID-19
CNN: May 24 HHS report to Congress on coronavirus testing plan
BizTimes: Coronavirus creates challenges for the building industry
Up North News: From zero to 85,000 tests per week: The inside story of how Wisconsin turbocharged its COVID testing
Wisconsin State Journal: Advocates say Wisconsin must act as surge of homelessness looms amid COVID19 pandemic
The Journal Times: Trading floor of New York Stock Exchange reopens
Milwaukee Business Journal: After 'worst financial month ever,' hospitals take out credit lines as safety valve
Wisconsin State Journal: Chief architect of Apple's Siri to give Wisconsin Entrepreneurs' Conference keynote speech
Release: WEDC offers a new online way to shop Wisconsin: #ShopMainStreetWI
The Journal Times: In rural areas, teachers adjust to COVID-19 as students drive 30 miles to access the internet
Forbes: How to combat the tricky emotion wreaking havoc on your progress
Milwaukee Business Journal: 'Scrutinized for years:' PPP loan investigations could last a long time
Vox: 8 ways to go out and stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic What you need to know about coronavirus today
The Journal Times: Students are struggling with mental health: Unified and partners provide support, resources
Milwaukee Business Journal: New OSHA guideline says employers must report workplace-caused Covid-19 cases
Urban Milwaukee: National Guard COVID-19 Funding at Stake
WISN: Wisconsin Veterans Museum hosted virtual ceremony for Memorial Day

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