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May 8, 2020

Dear readers, 

Saying the “value of the university has never been clearer,” UW-Madison Chancellor Becky Blank spent nearly an hour Friday with members of the Tech Council during a webinar focused on the role of UW-Madison during the COVID-19 crisis. Click here to watch!

Blank discussed how the university’s health-related disciplines are contributing to research into virus testing, vaccine development and more, with other disciplines ranging from geography to data science, and from mathematics to economics, contributing expertise while working with private partners. Blank said it’s still too early to predict how the fall 2020 semester will unfold, but it will likely be a “hybrid” between in-person and online instruction. She said fall enrollment is holding up well so far, but acknowledged renewed outbreaks could change that outlook. Blank was asked about the evolution of instruction from live classes to online settings, financial pressures on the university and student debt, which is statistically much lower than the U.S. average. In an appeal to state policymakers, she noted the UW System makes up 15 percent of the state general-purpose budget but has been subject to two-thirds of the budget reductions within the current fiscal year. Look for more coverage of the webinar on and


Blank, Becky


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 safe and happy weekend, 

Tom Still, president


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
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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 Gyld.”

Gyld provides unique networking platform for skilled trades
By Kylie Donovan

The business goal of Gyld is to emerge as an efficient networking platform, catering to blue-collar professionals and making it easier to showcase skills, certifications, education, and past projects.

Realizing there was a gap in the networking market for skilled trades, co-founders Kahloong Teh and Kyle Shelton founded Madison-based Gyld Inc. in 2019. The name takes inspiration from the medieval term “guild,” an association of craftsmen or merchants, often reaching a high level of their skillset. Click here to read the full story.



The Creative Company is hosting a webinar on Tuesday, May 12 with the Tech Council

How to Communicate with Clarity during Covid-19 will feature Laura Gallagher and Madison Lee from The Creative Company and Tom Still from the Tech Council. How are tech companies communicating well through COVID-19? We'll find out from Tom!!  We'll also share the 7 steps to communicating with clarity in any crisis.   
Click here to register for this informative event.


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.


WARF Entrepreneurons: Social entrepreneurs finding resilience during the COVID-19 crisis webinar is on Tuesday, May 12.

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

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.
COVID-19 Volunteer Program
Religious Gatherings and Services
DVA Assistance to Needy Veterans Program
Gov. Evers Announces Badger Bounce Back Plan

·       The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development produced this helpful Frequently Asked Questions document.

·       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

CoVID-19 news graphic - BIZ resources

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Gov. Evers announces best practices and safety guidelines for Wisconsin businesses
TechRepublic: WebMD launches weekly mental health podcast to help workers affected by COVID-19
Wisconsin State Journal: UW System working on protocols for students' return in fall amid COVID-19 pandemic
Milwaukee Business Journal: How Wisconsin’s reopening plan compares with surrounding states, such as Illinois and Minnesota COVID-19 misinformation is still going viral
CNN: Business is booming for these 14 companies during the coronavirus pandemic
Wisconsin State Journal: Wisconsin DOC has released nearly 1,600 inmates so far to combat COVID-19 spread
Milwaukee Business Journal:  8 Milwaukee small businesses grappling with crucial decisions during pandemic
Associated Press: Amid pandemic, the world’s working poor hustle to survive
The Cap Times: How to think about science in the time of COVID-19 with UW-Madison expert Dietram Scheufele
Milwaukee Business Journal: Yabuki stepping down as CEO of Fiserv; Former First Data chief taking reins
Wisconsin State Journal: UW-Madison gets creative with commencement amid COVID-19 pandemic
The New York Times: With new hot spots emerging, no sign of a respite
WisBusiness: The Podcast with Abigail Wuest, co-founder and CEO of Goods Unite Us
The Washington Post: Americans deeply wary of reopening as White House weighs ending COVID-19 task force


View The Show full archives by clicking here.

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