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January 14, 2021
Dear readers,

Our Jan. 14 webinar on CRISPR, “Gene-editing ‘scissors’ on the cutting edge,” featured two prominent UW-Madison scientists who spoke about the potential for this scientific tool to improve human health and enhance production of drought-resistant, pest-adverse crops. Thanks to Dr.’s Jo Handelsman and Kris Saha for taking part – and for making a complicated topic approachable! You can find more on our social media feeds. Not a member yet? Sign up and get the Jan. 14 recording.

Gov. Tony Evers declared 2021 as the “Year of Broadband Access” in his Jan. 12 State of the State address. Please read my latest “Inside Wisconsin” column for a breakdown of coming changes – federal, state and private – that could enhance high-speed internet penetration in Wisconsin.  Please read my latest “Inside Wisconsin” column here.

Watch the full Wisconsin 2021 State of the State Address here (broadband at the 10 min mark).

Thanks to the four co-chairs of the newly formed Tech Caucus in the Wisconsin Legislature: Sens. Dan Feyen, R-Fond du Lac, and Janice Ringhand, D-Evansville; and Reps. Mike Kuglitsch, R-New Berlin, and Tip McGuire, D-Kenosha. We view this informal group – which will include more state lawmakers – as a solid sounding board for tech-based issues that may come before the Legislature. Read a news story about the effort below.     


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

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

Sincerely, Tom Still, president

» NEWplease click here to update your subscription preferences for Tech Council communications!

Attend the free “How to win the Governor’s Business Plan Contest in 2021” webinar on Wednesday, Jan. 20

Panelists include Jackie Hind of Plumb Pharmaceuticals, the grand prize winner of the 2020 contest, long-time contest judge and Tech Council board member Jim Jermain of AT&T, and Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. The three will discuss tips on competing at a high level in the contest.

“Over time, the Governor’s Business Plan Contest has connected contestants to resources, investors and other entrepreneurs like themselves, helping them improve their chances of business survival in a competitive world,” said Tom Still, president of the Tech Council.

Click here to learn more and register.

Hind, Jackie Plumb EC20

>> Registration open: From lab to marketplace: Learn how Milwaukee tech transfer works

A growing commercial pathway for intellectual property in Wisconsin runs through research and development engines in the Milwaukee region, both private and public.

Panelists include five tech transfer leaders in the Milwaukee area; Kevin Boggs of the Medical College of Wisconsin; Laura Savatski of Versiti; Daniel Sem of Concordia University; Jessica Silvaggi of UWM Research Foundation; and Kalpa Vithalani of Marquette University.

Simply defined, technology transfer is the process of moving technology from those who hold or own it other people or organizations, usually for the commercial good of all involved,” said Tom Still, president of the Tech Council. “We’ll learn how these institutions in the Milwaukee region are individually and sometimes collectively converting the ‘R’ of research into the ‘D’ of development.”

Click here to learn more and register.

 Tuesday, Jan. 26 2021 TCIN TCC

Member Spotlight: Paul Radspinner, president and CEO at Flugen

What prompted you to start FluGen in 2007?

Two things- one aspirational and one personal.  First, I had been lucky enough to work with great scientists at WARF over the years I was there and knew that there were many technologies that could make a big difference in people’s lives.  With that in mind I met with Drs. Yoshi Kawaoka and Gabi Neumann and we agreed to start a company.  The goal was to make a better flu vaccine and save lives and we feel like we are well along that path.  The personal goal was to create something from scratch that would make me excited to get up every morning.  While at times the ride has been a little harrowing, I can honestly say I have met that personal goal.

Click here to read more about Radspinner and our other members.


>> New "WisBusiness: The Show" released!

The latest episode of “ The Show” spotlights entrepreneurs Que and Khalif El-Amin, founders of Milwaukee’s Young Enterprising Society, which helps students and young professionals in the city’s urban core hone technical and entrepreneurial skills.

Also, Tom Still presents Tech Metrics, which chart key indicators and events in the Wisconsin economy. He’ll also preview upcoming Tech Council webinars and opportunities such as the webinar on Jan. 20 Information Session on how to win the 2021 BPC and the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest, which deadlines Jan. 31.

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

 El-Amin brothers

BPC leaderboard

Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest open for 2021 entries through Jan. 31, 2021

The contest is designed to encourage entrepreneurs in the startup stage of tech-based businesses in Wisconsin. The contest links up-and-coming entrepreneurs with a statewide network of community resources, expert advice and mentoring, management talent and possible sources of capital.

Over time, the contest has led to valuable public and media exposure for the top business plans and spurred economic growth in Wisconsin. In 2020, finalists shared in more than $125,000 in cash and service prizes.

Since its inception in 2004, nearly 4,100 entries have been received and about $2.4 million in cash and services (such as legal, accounting, office space and marketing) have been awarded. Contest categories are Advanced Manufacturing, Business Services, Information Technology and Life Sciences.

Read more about the contest, timeline, past winners and more!


Rep. McGuire Named Co-Chair of Wisconsin Technology Caucus along with Sen. Dan Feyen, Sen. Janis Ringhand, and Rep. Mike Kuglitsch

This week, in partnership with the Wisconsin Technology Council, members of the Wisconsin State Legislature have formed the Wisconsin Technology Caucus in order to promote access to technology and tech jobs in the state.

From Governor Evers naming 2021 the year of Broadband Access, to the opportunities across the state to bring in family-supporting, high-tech jobs, Wisconsin has a bright future ahead if we invest in technology,” said Rep. Tip McGuire, “I am excited to get to work as a member of the Wisconsin Technology Caucus, in order to use technology to strengthen our state’s economy and improve the lives of the people of Wisconsin.”

Click here to read the news release as well as a Journal Times article. 

 WI Tech Caucus

The Tech Council is one of about 50 groups taking part in the “Stop the COVID Spreadcoalition, which is a private-sector effort to do precisely what the name suggests: Encourage people to take common-sense steps to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

>> Click here for regularly updated metrics on the Wisconsin Hospital Association's COVID-19 Dashboard.

Please watch videos by Interim UW System President Tommy Thompson, a former Wisconsin governor and federal Health and Human Services secretary; Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan; Green Bay Packers players and healthcare workers from across Wisconsin. On Wisconsin!


**UPDATED INFO** Information about the State of Wisconsin Disaster Medical Advisory Committee is now available, which is actively engaging the public around plans for vaccine distribution. All meetings of the committee are open to the public and public comment is encouraged.

Please visit DHS Vaccine Website Vaccine Information and CDC Vaccine Guidance for more information.
>> DHS announces sign up open for 
weekly newsletter to keep public informed of COVID-19 response and vaccine progress.

State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee (SDMAC):


Wisconsin Tech Summit – preview!

The goal of the 8th annual Wisconsin Tech Summit, even while virtual, is to bring together major firms and emerging companies in a setting that allows them to meet and explore likely business relationships around technology needs and innovation. Fifteen major firms have already committed to participate in these meetings, a half-dozen of which are Fortune 500 companies. Startups and emerging companies typically have innovative products or services tied to areas such as “big data,” connected devices and data analytics in sectors ranging from health care to information systems, and from power electronics to telecommunications.

Potential relationships to come from those meetings might include contracting for research and development, becoming part of a larger supply chain, and pursuing investment or acquisition strategies. The summit is based on the assumption that large and small companies travel in different “orbits,” even if they’re in the same business sectors, and rarely collide except by chance. We help make that happen! New to the Tech Summit and curious? Click here to peruse the 2020 program.

We’ll be putting out a call for company applications soon and announcing more details next week, so stay tuned!

Save the date March 17, 2021 Tech Summit


  • WKOW: Gov. Evers targets broadband, fixing unemployment system in his State of the State address
  • UpNorthNews: Looking back on 2020: How COVID crushed Wisconsin’s economy
  • WisBusiness: Mixed news for Wisconsin’s export goods and services recovery
  • MKE Business Journal: WEDC must also support businesses that are thriving amid pandemic, says CEO Hughes
  • CapTimes: Madison, Dane County leaders: $16 million in rental assistance on the way
  • CNN: The U.S. economy lost 140,000 jobs in December, all of them were held by women
  • MKE Business Journal: IBM acquires Milwaukee tech company 7Summits
  • WisBusiness: WEDC optimistic about new Foxconn deal
  • Release: Wisconsin’s Center for Technology Commercialization wins national Tibbetts Award from SBA


  • Madison Startups: LÜM launches ‘The Exchange’ marketplace for musicians
  • Madison365: Bucks partner with MadREP to connect Black entrepreneurs with online resources
  • InBusiness: Congrats to Startup Company Executive of the Year winner, Damon Baker
  • BizWomen: Food startup Lil Bucks is making granola alternatives from ‘superfood’ buckwheat
  • Money Control: Home-grown pharma startups plan to aid the government’s COVID inoculation drive
  • TechCrunch: 5 questions about 2021’s startup market
  • MKE Business Journal: A podcast around entrepreneurs of color, and a business aiding firms in changing times


  • Fortune: Backed by Chelsea Clinton’s venture capital fund, Alula aims to make having cancer less lonely
  • Bloomberg: Startup funding touches new records amid COVID pandemic
  • TechCrunch: Equal access to capital and entrepreneurship is the final civil rights movement
  • BizTimes Milwaukee: Sellars Absorbent Materials raises $20.5 million
  • TechCrunch: Two ex-Sequoia VCs: The most ‘compelling emerging market’ may be America, outside of Silicon Valley
  • Twice: Venture capital vs. equity crowdfunding: Which is better for your business, especially now?


  • UpNorthNews: Wisconsin officials to Feds: We need more COVID-19 vaccines ASAP
  • MKE Business Journal: UW-System becomes first in U.S. to secure Abbott's BinaxNow COVID test at scale
  • U.S. to require COVID-19 test for arriving travelers; as pandemic worsens, states resist restrictions
  • InBusiness: Separating fact from fiction about COVID-19
  • Crunchbase: Health care in 2021 will focus on ‘digitization of the patient experience
  • NYTimes: What you can do post-vaccine, and possibly when
  • MKE Business Journal: Exact Sciences anticipates 2020 revenue of about $1.49 billion
  • UpNorthNews: Milwaukee is opening a downtown ‘vaccine hub,’ hoping for vaccine allotment increase


  • CapTimes: UW pass/fail grading discussions continue with new pandemic academic policy task force
  • Spectrum: Doctor urges safety for Wisconsin students returning to classroom
  • UW-Madison: Capital Times highlights new collaboration on literacy between MMSD, School of Education
  • WisBusiness: MATC President hopes to pursue more community collaboration in 2021
  • CapTimes: ‘The choice is ours’: Wisconsin Health News panel discusses COVID-19 and schools
  • WEAU: UW Eau-Claire looks to bolster Blugold enrollment, says Chancellor Schmidt
  • CapTimes: Thompson Center calls UW students’ free speech attitudes 'troubling'

COVID-19 news graphic 12_20 

 MEMBERS 200x200

 Current listings include opportunities at von Briesen & Roper, Van Holten's Pickles, AmFam Ventures, Findorff, TitletownTech, UW-Madison Office of Business Engagement, Promega, Advocate Aurora Health and Northwestern Mutual.

Help us stay on top of events for our readers!
Please send your upcoming virtual events for consideration to

The Grid’s Preparing for Entrepreneurial Success is a free workshop to get answers to your questions and find out if entrepreneurship is right for you. You’ll complete a comprehensive self-assessment, receive advice and guidance from an experienced business coach, and identify your next steps. Register for Saturday, Jan. 16

i.c. stars presents a MLK Kids Summit open to the public. "The Declaration of Kids Summit" will cover social justice, global climate, racial equality and much more all while focusing on how technology is an incredible tool at the center of these areas on Monday, Jan. 18

Greater Green Bay Chamber hosts Coffee Break with WIPFLi: Preparing for Funding, Getting My Books in Order with opportunity for Q+A on Wednesday, Jan. 20

BizTimes offers COVID Relief in 2021: What Employers Need to Know. Learn strategies you can employ right now to take advantage of the recent COVID-19 Relief bill and prepare for what’s next on Thursday, Jan. 21

BizTimes will be hosting Economic Trends 2021: Seeking a Shot in the Arm - What lies ahead in the new year? Learn how these factors and others will determine how the economy fares in 2021 by attending on Thursday, Jan. 28

The WiSys Innovation in Aging: Student Idea Competition challenges UW-Green Bay students to create innovative solutions to combat hardships and improve quality of life for an aging public. The free competition gives students an opportunity to grow idea development, collaboration and public presentation skills. More info for their event on Thursday, Feb. 25

 200x200 Virtual events

·       Gov. Evers’ office regularly updates a statewide COVID-19 website that aggregates information and resources throughout state government, including the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and the departments of Financial Institutions, Revenue and Workforce Development. Some specific sites:

·       The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development produced this FAQ document.

·       The Wisconsin Department of Revenue offers these information sources:

·       The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has guidance for businesses.

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

·       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

·       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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