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April 28, 2020

Dear readers,

‘Tiny Earth’ and a big challenge

With infections caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria projected to be the world’s leading cause of death by 2050, the search is on for new antibiotics to better counteract such pathogens. The work of the worldwide “Tiny Earth” project, based at the UW-Madison, is mining bacteria in soil in hopes of producing antibiotic discovery cheaper, more efficient and more effective.

Jo Handelsman, director of the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery and a former White House science adviser, discussed Tiny Earth Tuesday during a webinar for members of the Tech Council Innovation Network. With the help of 10,000 students around the world, Tiny Earth is combing the soil microbiome, identifying possible candidates and narrowing the list through genomic, metabolomic and other chemical profiles. Handelsman said three promising candidates had been identified before her laboratory was mothballed for the COVID-19 lockdown, but she hopes work can resume once its allowed.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization have warned about the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Meanwhile, there has been a decline of new antibiotics reaching the market because only three major drug-makers are engaged in discovery. Other academic and private efforts are underway, but funding for antibiotic development has been sketchy for many years. The funding situation could change, however, if leading drug candidates surface.

NEXT UP: UW-Madison Chancellor Becky Blank

Tech Council Innovation Network and Tech Council Investor Networks members may take part in our 10:30 a.m., Friday, May 8 webinar with Chancellor Blank, who will discuss the role of a major research university in addressing a crisis such as COVID-19.   

Individual and corporate members of the Wisconsin Technology Council and its programs, the Tech Council Innovation Network and the Tech Council Investor Networks may register for the May 8 webinar. There are limited “seats” in the Zoom meeting. Members may email Julie Johnson at to reserve a spot.  

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Becky Blank


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?


Tom Still, president

View Tom Still’s full InsideWis archives by clicking here.


Entrepreneurs’ Conference on June 4, 2020 is a virtual ‘go’.      #WiTreps

Some members and other past attendees have asked, “Will the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference be held this year?” The answer is yes … but virtually, not live in Milwaukee at Northwestern Mutual’s headquarters as previously planned but with the company’s continued support.

We’re excited about the highly interactive platform for doing so and will announce details soon.  


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.


Baker Tilly is offering a Crisis, continuity and recovery: A real-time enterprise risk workshop on Wednesday, April 29

Aberdean Consulting
is hosting several webinars to enhance the remote working environment safety:
Hosting a Teams Live Event (part 1 of 2) on Wednesday, April 29
Microsoft Outlook Productivity Hacks on Tuesday, May 5
Using Microsoft Forms and Power Automate for Live Events (part 2 of 2) on Wednesday, May 6
Collaborate with Microsoft OneNote on Thursday, May 7

The Fitchburg Chamber Visitor + Business Bureau is hosting a Fitchburg Focus Economic Development Update webinar on Thursday, April 30

Wisconsin Health News
is offering a Webinar with Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm on Thursday, April 30

WMEP presents COVID-19/Economic Crisis Wisconsin Manufacturer Pulse Survey Webinar on Thursday, April 30

Quarles & Brady
is offering upcoming legal-focused webinars:
Supply chain issues in these troubled times on Thursday, April 30
Key bankruptcy considerations heading into a recession on Tuesday, May 5

WEDC and the Regional Leadership Council’s present a 5 part COVID-19 CEO Leadership Series with the remaining 2 upcoming dates: Friday, May 1 and Friday, May 8

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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 CoVID-19 news graphic Gov. Evers’ Emergency Order #34: “Interim order to turn the dial” towards re-opening the economy in Wisconsin
 * Watch the
WisconsinEye media briefing here.
BizWomen: Coronavirus recovery will take at least 6 months, women directors say
WisBusiness: Brown County reports 402 workers at meat plants in county are infected with COVID-19
BizWomen: Epic Systems CEO Judy Faulkner: Pandemic will cause health care bankruptcies, consolidation
UW-Madison: Researchers aim to develop alternative COVID-19 testing method
Wisconsin State Journal: Gov. Evers opens up 34 state parks and forests with social distancing conditions Photos: Finding joy amid pandemic's anxiety and heartache
WisBusiness: gener8tor co-founder urges startups to be aggressive in pursuing COVID-19 federal relief
The Journal Times: Trump urges states to consider reopening schools before summer
Milwaukee Business Journal: Medical College CEO Raymond adopts Gov. Evers' measures for Covid-19 progress
CapTimes: Inside Dane County’s COVID-19 contact tracing effort with public health nurse Caitlin Gutierrez
The New York Times: In race for a coronavirus vaccine, an Oxford group leaps ahead
Milwaukee Business Journal: Rockwell Automation reports 1.5% sales growth in second quarter
TechRepublic: PwC survey: More layoffs anticipated and more people will work remotely permanently
The New York Times: Job or health? Restarting the economy threatens to worsen economic inequality
The Wall Street Journal: Companies devote shrinking tech budgets to cloud, AI


View The Show full archives by clicking here.

CoVID-19 news graphic - other resources

  • WI Health Connect: Think you may have COVID-19? Free, confidential over-the-phone screening now available.
  • Live dashboard with QUICK NUMBERS and FACTS on the IMPACT of COVID-19
  • IdeaAdvance: Get your idea off the ground: Learn more about this $75,000 seed fund.
  • Newance is offering free “Office Hours” for business leaders: Reach out to Amanda Daering.
  • Fiveable offers free AP assistance, the exams through CollegeBoard are scheduled for at-home and online in May.
  • Access Microsoft’s efforts to help teams work remotely and navigate online.
  • Michael Best has formed a COVID-19 Task Force to address business and legal implications.
  • Reinhart’s Coronavirus Resource Center includes the impact of HR 6201 on employees.
  • BDO monitors the latest COVID-19 business impacts and regulatory updates.
  • Wisconsin Veteran’s Chamber of Commerce: Member guide, understanding COVID-19 and how to plan.
  • Learn more about Epic tools that can help you and your organization treat and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • WIPLFi: Information to help businesses and individuals weather the coronavirus.
  • Quarles & Brady has created a resource of COVID-19 articles that impact clients and businesses.
  • Wisconsin Department of Tourism is actively planning for Wisconsin’s economic COVID-19 recovery.
  • Click here to sign up for the WisPolitics/WisBusiness daily healthcare report.
  • gener8tor is working in conjunction with AmFam Institute to host emergency one-week virtual programs for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Husch Blackwell explores issues at the intersection of law and public health emergencies.
  • TASC is making its expertise and emergency benefit accounts available for free to Dane County employers in 2020.
  • Neider & Boucher provides their clients with the necessary focus to help define and reach their goals during COVID-19.
  • UW-Madison’s CROWE researchers track and analyze the economic impact of COVID-19 in Wisconsin and beyond.
  • WMC launched a Coronavirus (COVID-19) Business Resource Center and Employer Toolkit.
  • Godfrey & Kahn’s COVID-19 Resource Center provides timely insights on the unique legal challenges and business implications created by the pandemic
  • Baker Tilly’s Coronavirus Resource Center: how an unplanned event such as the COVID-19 outbreak can affect your organization, employees, customers and suppliers.
  • The Burish Group: UBS Business Owner Resiliency Center



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