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INSIDE WISCONSIN 040121 250x250April 1, 2021

Dear readers:

No foolin’! April is here and innovation is in the spring air.

Please read my latest “Inside Wisconsin” column, which highlights the power of undergraduate education in Wisconsin. In a related webinar today, we focused on academic research and development at the state’s two largest public universities and how it affects the economy.

It’s spring break in many school districts, so please share the upcoming “Wisconsin YES!” student business plan contest deadline of April 14. The contest is open to middle- and high-school students you may know. It’s a great way for young people to get introduced to entrepreneurism. Want to learn more? Watch the BEE Educated podcast below.

Congratulations to the team at Madison-based Fetch Rewards, which announced a $210-milion investment round led by SoftBank to continue expansion of its retail rewards app into new markets. Read more in our news section below.

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Back to business: Students have month to enter ‘Wisconsin YES!’ business plan contest online

>> Watch the BEE Educated Podcast to learn more about the contest and why it’s so important to get youth involved early. The countdown is under way for middle- and high-school students to enter Wisconsin Youth Entrepreneurs in Science, a statewide youth business plan contest modeled after the successful Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest. It is open for online entries from Wisconsin middle- and high-school students through 5 p.m. April 14, 2021.

Public, private and home-schooled students across Wisconsin are eligible to turn their science- and tech-related ideas into business plans and compete for cash and prizes. The contest begins with a 250-word summary submitted through

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Northwestern Mutual’s Josh Kosnick hosts Tech Council president Tom Still on his “Inspire People, Impact Lives” podcast

Building a State for Business with Tom Still: Tom talks with Josh about how to become a great entrepreneur and what the state of Wisconsin is doing to incentivize new business. They discuss entrepreneurship traits and journeys, how vision contributes to success, Wisconsin success stories, retaining and nurturing talent in Wisconsin for Wisconsin, and connecting with others. 

Listen anywhere you get your favorite podcast, link to the episode on your platform of choice from our website.

>> ICYMI "WisBusiness: The Show"

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The latest episode of “ The Show” spotlights Taha Jangda, a partner at HealthX Ventures in Madison. Jangda talks about what brought him to HealthX, one of Wisconsin’s most active venture capital firms, and the recent closing of its $75.5-million second fund.

Jangda also comments on the importance of the proposed $100-million state investment in a privately matched fund of funds.

In addition, Tom Still gives an update on “Vision 2020,” a report in which the Tech Council recommended goals for the state’s tech-based economy.

Sponsors include Exact Sciences, UW-Milwaukee and BDO.  View our full show archives here.

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Track news/developments on Gov. Tony Evers’ fund-of-funds proposal

  • Read the Tech Council’s 2021 “white papers” report for background on the fund-of-funds proposal.
  • Read a continuously updated FAQ on the $100 million “Wisconsin Fund.”
  • Click here to watch a recording of the Wisconsin Technology Council 03/24/21 webinar on the $100 million dollar fund, featuring WEDC’s Sam Rikkers, MadREP’s Jason Fields, entrepreneur Karen Renee and Rep. Mike Kuglitsch.
  • The “2021-23 Budget in Brief” is a summary of Gov. Tony Evers 2021-2023 budget proposal, which includes a $100-million venture capital “fund of funds” plan as well as other initiatives to spur economic growth.  The document summarizes budget proposals across the board in state government and will be subject to legislative review and approval. The next fiscal year begins July 1. Read the 2021-23 Budget in Brief.

Also, read news articles and Tom’s Inside Wisconsin columns that follow the progress of the $100-million fund.  Click here to access the page.

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Current listings this week include opportunities at Johnson Controls, UW-Madison, ATC, WHEDA, CHIME, WARF, KW2, Tesla, Affiliated Engineers, UW Health, von Briesen & Roper and Findorff.

Please look through our listings for openings and opportunities updated weekly. It's a complimentary member benefit to list your openings with us!
Email to have yours included.

                          Virtual + hybrid events 032521

If you are a woman technologist, join us for Northwestern Mutual’s first-ever Women in Technology Speed Coaching event on Friday, April 23, where you can get advice from an experienced tech leader in a 20-minute one-on-one online coaching session. Register by Friday, April 2.

UW-Oshkosh presents Lessons Learned in a Pandemic World: The Impact of COVID-19 on Business Owners on Wednesday, April 7. Presenters will include Jeff Sachse of UWO Center for Customized Research and Services, Sam Rikkers of WEDC, Barb LaMue of New North, Ann Franz of NEW Manufacturing Alliance, Dan Brosman of Small Business Development Center at UW Oshkosh and Bill Bowman of AEGIS Financial.

UWM Research Foundation presents IP Strategy for Startups on Thursday, April 8. Whether it is trademarks, patents, copyrights, or trade secrets, you need a strategy to protect your intellectual property. Come and learn key tips and best practices for your startup company.

Gov. Evers presents Badger Bounceback Live Session on “What’s Best for Our Kids” on Thursday, April 8. The session will cover topics such as ensuring every kid has access to a high-quality, public education, providing mental health supports for students at schools, special education reimbursement rates, expanding access to early childhood education and childcare, and investing in our higher education institutions.

Center for Technology Commercialization and Wisconsin SBDC offers Debt Financing for Startups on Tuesday, April 13. Debt financing is often overlooked as a potential source of funds for startups. In this free Quick Chat, three financing leaders from the Eau Claire area will discuss debt-based funding opportunities for small businesses, including bank loans and gap financing from regional business funds.

Attend a D2P Open House: Learn about free trainings and mentoring available to UW-Madison affiliated innovators at a virtual open house with Discovery to Product on Wednesday, April 14 or May 12. We also have an on-demand option or can schedule 1:1 mentor chats for campus innovators who are not able to attend the live sessions.

Entrepreneurs' Toolkit 2021Wisconsin is a big state with an ever-growing and evolving entrepreneurial ecosystem.

A new generation of entrepreneurs and their partners are helping to build Wisconsin’s 21st century “knowledge economy”. The Entrepreneurs’ Toolkit is designed to give innovators a guide to resources available in Wisconsin and beyond.

Resources include: Getting started, finding money, locating your business, education and tech transfer, regulations, networking and selling to government with a dedicated section for women, minorities, tribes and veterans.

Click here to access our Entrepreneurs’ Toolkit.

StoptheSpreadCOVIDDepartment of Health Services update through March 31, 2021

Wisconsin leads the nation with over 1 million people vaccinated and continues to be a leader in the nation for vaccine distribution with over 30% of the state having received at least one dose: 2,813,475 doses have been administered - 17.9% have been fully vaccinated: 1,040,039 of 5.8 million total population in Wisconsin. 
Note: Approximately 20% of the population is under 16 and not authorized to be given the vaccine at this time.

Helpful links:

The State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee’s (SDMAC) Vaccine Distribution Subcommittee is responsible for making distribution decisions. SDMAC holds public meetings and anyone can submit public comments. You can find information about the SDMAC here. To register for the DHS weekly newsletter, click here.

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  • BizTimes MKE: Wisconsin GDP dipped 4.5% in 2020
  • MKE Business Journal: Pandemic exposed many businesses' weaknesses, threats
  • Economist: America’s long-ailing manufacturers are fired up
  • Rotary Club of Madison: Zach Brandon: ‘There is light in the darkness’
  • WisPolitics: Gov. Evers unveils plan to invest Federal American Rescue Plan funds in small businesses
  • CNN: Rosalind Brewer, new Walgreens leader is only Black woman Fortune 500 CEO
  • MKE Business Journal: Pittsburgh fintech startup Pineapple Payments to be acquired by Fiserv


  • MKE Business Journal: Opportunities, tech need for health at Milwaukee’s ThriveHealth
  • StemPharma wins $1.7 million NIH SBIR brain model grant
  • PI: Serial entrepreneur and investor Alexander Guizzetti talks about his Wisconsin education and impact
  • Madison365: GIRLS’BIZ middle school virtual entrepreneurs donate to F.O.S.T.E.R of Dane County
  • CapTimes: Forward BIOLABS brings the perks of co-working to the lab
  • Spectrum: Entrepreneurs turn to SBDC training program for help in pandemic


  • Yahoo Finance: Retail rewards app Fetch Rewards raises $210 mln in SoftBank-led round
  • Wisconsin CTC: Spotlight on the Winnow Fund
  • StarTribune: Minneapolis venture fund launches new ‘studio’ to launch startups
  • Cision: Allergy Amulet closes $4.1 million series seed with investments from AllerFund and Lightship Capital
  • Forbes: How the investment ecosystem is shifting this year
  • NVCA: Women in VC making a big impact: Midwest-based Bethany George


  • WisBusiness: Third COVID-19 strain in Wisconsin, vaccine equity and reluctance discussions
  • Business Insider: Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine 100% effective in trial of 12- to 15-year-olds
  • Economist: COVID-19 vaccines have alerted the world to the power of RNA therapies
  • Wisconsin Watch: COVID-19 case numbers in Wisconsin creeping back


  • Morgridge Institute: Spreading STEM enthusiasm among Latinx youth
  • Wisconsin State Journal: One City Schools will help narrow Madison's learning gap
  • UW-Madison: U.S. News places UW grad schools high in 2022 rankings
  • Kenosha News: Chancellor Ford and President Swallow: The power of partnerships to transform
  • EdWeek: Will 3-foot spacing still make sense with new COVID variants in the community?
Phone: (608) 442-7557

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