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May 12, 2020

Dear readers, 

One of the long-standing public policy priorities of the Tech Council has been expanded broadband coverage in Wisconsin, especially in underserved rural areas. That issue will be front-and-center in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, May 13, when the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation convenes a public hearing on “The State of Broadband Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

Both Wisconsin senators, Republican Ron Johnson and Democrat Tammy Baldwin, are members of that panel. We extend a collective “thank you” to them for their part in advocating for the hearing. Testimony and conversation will focus on efforts by the Federal Communications Commission to expand broadband coverage and how money appropriated by Congress through the CARES Act can be better targeted for broadband at the federal, state and local levels.

Read more about the May 13th hearing by clicking here.

Also, please read more about the June 4 Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference, which will be held as a virtual event with lots of interaction. Stay tuned for more announcements this week!  

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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?

Keep safe, sane and solvent!

Tom Still, president


Wisconsin Revenue Secretary Peter Barca spoke Monday to the board of directors for the Tech Council. Click here to listen to a recorded transcript of that conversation. Also, here are two links to Department of Revenue websites with information of interest to Wisconsin companies:


The Dairy Business Innovation Alliance (DBIA) is a partnership between the Center for Dairy Research (CDR) and the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) that will support dairy farmers and dairy processors. DBIA will administer a program providing technical assistance to dairy-related businesses in the five states of Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa and South Dakota, as well as grants in support of these efforts.

The DBIA resulted from the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill that created the Dairy Business Innovation Initiative to assist dairy farmers and dairy processors in creating new revenue streams through increased farm diversification in new business strategies and the creation of “higher value” food and beverage products containing a dairy ingredient. In 2019, the USDA requested applications that resulted in the selection of three locations as regional hosts for this initiative:

  • DBIA, representing the upper Midwest states of Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota
  • Vermont, representing the far northeastern United States
  • Tennessee

These recipients will evenly share Phase I dollars allocated by USDA for this program. Since the 2018 Farm Bill lasts for five years, it is expected, pending Congress’s budgetary process, that additional annual funding will be made available in subsequent years. Read more here. 

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Siri, did you hear your boss will be speaking at the 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 press release!

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 below, as well.

You can
register here at very affordable rates.
Please stay tuned for more about speakers, panel discussions and special networking activities.  

 Pinkerton, Brian
 EC20 for TCC 050520

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 ModuTree.”

Is there anything that says “Wisconsin” more than the combination of hunting and innovation?
By Trevor Anderson

ModuTree, a modular hunting blind system developed by UW-Whitewater graduate Trevor Santarius, is a blend of both. It is also among the 28 finalists in the 2020 Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest, which will culminate in June at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference.

Created in 2004, the Governor’s Business Plan Contest has given students and entrepreneurs of all ages chances to win cash, services and exposure with their ideas. Santarius said he hopes to be among the contest’s winners. Click here to read the full story.


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View gallery and a video celebrating commencement

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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.


Same Storm, Different BoatsLearn how small businesses in Madison are navigating the crisis is on Thursday, May 14

ROTOMA: A better way to calculate social media ROI is scheduled for Thursday, May 14

The German Marshall Fund’s Preparing for the Long Haul: GMF Coronavirus update from the United States is on Thursday, May 14

ActionCOACH presents: This IS Your Wake Up Call – How to Come Back Stronger from Covid-19 on Friday, May 15

Women in Technology Wisconsin
presents Creating and Building the Brand of ‘You!’ on Friday, May 15

Wisconsin Online Global Programs and Grants Business Development present a webinar to help grow your sales, brand and business in a COVID-19 age on Tuesday, May 19.

upcoming virtual events

·       WEDC Small Business 2020 Program: Assistance will be available to Wisconsin-based Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) List of All 23 CDFIs in Wisconsin to provide grants to their existing loan clients to help mitigate business-related cash flow issues in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. Approved CDFIs will make program grants (up to $20,000) available to for-profit businesses meeting the following criteria: Current loan recipient in good standing as of 3/1/20 with the approved CDFI (or its collaborating CDFIs); 20 or fewer PT/FT employees; Greater than $0 but less than $2 million in annual revenues; and, preference should be given to service and retail businesses
·      Gov. Evers’ office has launched a statewide COVID-19 website that aggregates information and resources throughout state government.

·       The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development produced this helpful Frequently Asked Questions document.
· (new) The Wisconsin Department of Revenue offers these information sources:

·       WEDC has compiled a comprehensive overview of their resources along with state and federal resources to assist Wisconsin citizens aimed at maintaining the viability of the companies upon which our economy depends.

·       Report any scams or price gouging to Wisconsin Department of Justice: If you suspect fraud or a scam, Attorney General Kaul suggests filing a complaint online at

·       Small Business Administration (SBA) has guidance for businesses, Pending congressional and presidential approval, the SBA may offer another round of low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) and Paycheck Protection Program loans for businesses and non-profits impacted by coronavirus

·       Centers for Disease Control: Coronavirus latest updates

·       Wisconsin Department of Health Services: COVID-19 Outbreaks in Wisconsin

·       The FDIC has provided guidance to banking institutions and consumers affected by COVID-19 and encouraged financial institutions to work constructively with borrowers and customers in affected communities.

·       The Department of Labor has issued guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employer Paid Leave Requirements.

·       NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers are providing services to small- and medium-sized manufacturers such as connecting businesses that are pivoting their production in response to the coronavirus to new supply chains, connecting firms with state resources, advising companies on new operational issues, and providing workforce support.

·        “Wisconsin COVID-19 Startup Talentis a new project to help those displaced from jobs and employers now hiring

·       The Department of the Defense has established the Joint Acquisition Task Force (JATF) for COVID-19 to assess and rapidly respond to challenges presented by this pandemic. They are collecting information from both government and non-government personnel who are interested in getting involved. All resources and solutions are welcome from industry, academia, venture capital firms, individual contributors and more. Request information here.

·       Wisconsin Hospital Association releases a COVID-19 dynamic Situational Awareness Update

·       View an interactive map of public wi-fi “hot spots” in Wisconsin

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WisBusiness: Chancellor Bank: UW-Madison researchers from a wide array of disciplines are teaming up on dozens of projects related to COVID-19
NBC15: 5 of 6 Badger Bounce Back goals met - at least for today
WISN: Marquette University Law School Poll: Majority approve of Evers' response to coronavirus pandemic

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Epic Systems helped cities and hospitals add 80,000 beds -- at no charge
Milwaukee Business Journal: When it comes to getting your PPP loan forgiven, track every penny spent
Wisconsin State Journal: Why stimulus checks won't be taxed, but unemployment benefits will
CNN: House to introduce bill to create a National Public Health Corps
The New York Times: White House orders staff to wear masks, except POTUS and the VP
FastCompany: Scientists are racing to design a face mask that can rip coronavirus apart
Milwaukee Business Journal: The changes your favorite retailer will likely make post COVID-19
WisEye Morning Minute: Watch the Wisconsin DHS Media Briefing on COVID-19 EO #36
Forbes: Boeing CEO warns a major airline will ‘most likely’ go out of business this year because of coronavirus
Release: The CDC disclosed the list of health-care providers that have received payment under the CARES Act
HuffPost: Fauci warns Senate of dangerous consequences If U.S. reopens too soon
FastCompany: How the coronavirus could change bathrooms for the better
HuffPost: Experts predict what school could look like when it reopens


View The Show full archives by clicking here.

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