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March 4, 2021

Dear readers, 

We’re excited about upcoming events and the next stage in the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.

The March 17 Tech Summit  is open for general registration.  Read more about our speakers and panelists below. Eighty emerging companies are signed up to meet with 22 major firms, plus our “Office Hours” segments will offer valuable advice. 

We’re planning a webinar for March 24 featuring state Rep. Mike Kuglitsch, R-New Berlin, and WEDC Secretary Missy Hughes on the state budget proposal to invest $100 million in a privately matched “fund of funds.” Watch for details soon!

Set for April 1 is a webinar featuring UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank and UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Mark Mone on the future and value of Wisconsin’s public research universities.

Also, please read my Inside Wisconsin column, focused this week on risk management (personal, not financial) as we begin to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.


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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 FAQ on the $100-million “Wisconsin Fund.”
  • 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 InsideWis columns that follow the progress of the $100-million fund.

Click here to access the page.

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Tech Council’s 2021 ‘white papers’ urge investing in workforce, capital and broadband

Improving access to investment capital for young Wisconsin companies, educating and training a strong workforce, making it easier to be an entrepreneur and building on the state’s tech infrastructure are four major themes of the Wisconsin Technology Council’s 2021 “white papers” report.

The report is timed for the start of a new session of the Wisconsin Legislature and the start of the 2021-23 state budget debate, which may focus in part on recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to ideas in the four focus areas, the report also looks back on goals laid out in 2003 by the Tech Council in one of its earliest publications, “Vision 2020: A Model Wisconsin Economy.”

Click here to read and download the report.

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Wisconsin Tech Summit: General admission registration open!  

>> NEW Healthcare IT experts to discuss digital health at virtual March 17 Tech Summit

>> ICYMI Former Google Ventures partner Tracie Rotter to headline virtual March 17 Tech Summit

The day-long event will be held Wednesday, March 17, 2021 virtually via Meeting Mojo and on vFairs.
More information and
full agenda with speakers can be found at

The Tech Summit will feature a series of brief meetings, or “speed dates,” to foster communication and partnership. It is produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council and the Wisconsin Healthcare Business Forum.

22 participating major firms thus far: 3M, Advocate Aurora Research Institute, American Family Insurance, AT&T, Dedicated Computing, EUA, Exact Sciences, Findorff, Froedtert Health, Georgia-Pacific, J.P. Morgan, Johnson Controls, Kimberly-Clark, Marshfield Clinic Health System, Mead & Hunt, Northwestern Mutual, PDS, Promega, Rockwell Automation, Schreiber Foods, Titletown Tech, and WIPFLi.

Click here to learn more and register!


>> ICYMI "WisBusiness: The Show"

The latest episode of “ The Show” spotlights Erin Clausen, investment manager for Irontek in Beloit. Clausen oversees Irontek and Grey Collar Ventures, which invests in Beloit-based startups.

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 at the
March 17, 2021 Tech Summit conference.

Sponsors include
Exact Sciences, UW-Milwaukee and BDO.

View our full show archives here.

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2021 Governor’s Business Plan update!

>> NEW 
From Denmark to DeForest, 55 entries advance in 2021 Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest

Thanks to everyone who entered the 2021 Governor’s Business Plan Contest! Judging is under way for 251 qualified entries with about 80 volunteers across the state. Some metrics of which we’re proud: 100 of the entries came from women, continuing the rise in the number of female entrepreneurs. About 25% came from people of color or diverse ethnic backgrounds. We’ll talk more about the breakdown of the entries in coming weeks.

How can you help? More offers of prizes, both cash and “service” prizes, are needed and welcome. You can help the finalists by chipping in; all cash goes directly to contestants who reach the final stages in June.
Contact Tammy Ehrmann:


Department of Health Services update

More than 1 million doses of vaccine administered in Wisconsin, and over a half-million are now fully vaccinated.
>> ICYMI: DHS announces groups eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on March 1

Helpful links:

>> DHS’s vaccine registry launching March 1 (when and where you can get your vaccines)

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.


>> The Tech Council is one of about 50 groups taking part in the “Stop the COVID Spread" coalition, 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 to watch the newest ad and please share with your networks.

“Given the current pace of vaccination in Wisconsin, it will take some time for the vaccine to take hold in the state,” said Wisconsin Hospital Association President and CEO Eric Borgerding. “Regardless of the political debates taking place in Madison, masks and other mitigation behaviors are critical factors in our COVID-19 fight.”

>> 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!



  • AutoWeek: USPS picks Oshkosh Defense for next-gen mail truck
  • WisBusiness: MadREP leader Jason Fields urges cooperation to help state’s economy weather COVID
  • BizWomen: Wisconsin ranks #9 in WalletHub’s study of the best states for women
  • WPR: Nearly half of Wisconsin manufacturers say business still down, according to WMEP
  • VentureBeat: 79% of chip industry expects profits to grow in 2021 amid shortage
  • WisPolitics: [Video] Watch Tuesday, March 2 webinar with Gov. Tony Evers
  • BizWomen: More parents citing childcare issues as they leave workforce
  • Wisconsin Watch: Gov. Tony Evers signs bill to start upgrade of outdated unemployment aid system
  • WisBusiness: Overhauling UI computer system isn't going to help the current delay, labor attorney says


  • WEDC: Wisconsin’s emerging investors: Investing approaches
  • NVCA: Celebrating leaders & initiatives driving more black representation in VC
  • The Information: SPACs are on the prowl for early-stage startups
  • Inc.: Why student loan forgiveness is crucial for entrepreneurs
  • Business Journals: House-passed COVID relief bill offers billions in small-business grants for 'treps
  • Wisconsin SBDC celebrates #SBDCDay and helping clients secure $28.8 million in COVID-19 relief
  • TechRepublic: Thermo Fisher Scientific announces new control system for makers of lithium-ion batteries
  • 100state announces a new scholarship program for entrepreneurs, awarding up to 10 free memberships
  • WisBusiness: The Podcast features Angela Damiani, Rev Collective and NEWaukee


  • WisconsinINNO: Milwaukee angel investors form new network to invest in Wisconsin, Midwest startups
  • VentureBeat: Investments are fueling the evolution of IT services in 2021
  • Venture Capital Journal: Beta Boom helps diverse startup founders cross the Valley of Death
  • Forbes: Investing in VC Funds enables women to wield power, make an impact, and ROI
  • WSJ: Ed-tech platform Codecademy raises $40 million Series D
  • WVCA: COVID has given VCs opportunities to learn about innovations taking place in smaller communities
  • Crunchbase: 2021 is shaping up as a wild year for supergiant rounds


  • CNN: POTUS says U.S. will have enough vaccine for every adult by the end of May
  • WSJ: J&J COVID-19 single-dose vaccine shipments head for states, Wisconsin allotted 47,000
  • DHS: Kroger joins Walgreens to accelerate vaccination efforts
  • NYTimes: Why has coronavirus testing slumped in the U.S.? It’s complicated
  • WKOW: Dane County loosens pandemic restrictions in new order
  • USA Today: Amid 'total chaos,' states find ways to deliver COVID-19 vaccine to residents
  • New Yorker: Millions of hearts fail each year. Why can’t we replace them?
  • STAT: Pfizer thinks a booster of its COVID vaccine might work against new variants
  • U.S. News: States easing virus restrictions despite experts' warnings


  • WAOW: $100,000 WEDC grant to bring high-speed internet to Northland Pines School District
  • Milwaukee Business Journal: Marquette to move ahead on $60M business school facility
  • UW-Madison: CALS scientists look to develop cheeses that can lower high blood pressure
  • WFRV: Moraine Park Technical College’s new program designed to address the remote worker trend
  • EdWeek: Strategies for teaching students online & face to face at the same time

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** Current listings this week include opportunities at WHEDA, CHIME, WARF, WIPFLi, KW2, Tesla,
Affiliated Engineers, UW Health, Neugen, M3 Insurance, von Briesen & Roper and FIndorff.

Current members are encouraged to email their open opportunities to for inclusion.

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

Main Street Alliance offers a Main Street Academy on Child Care on Friday, March 5. Join panelists from Wisconsin Early Childhood Association, WECA and Chair of the Assembly Children and Families Committee, Patrick Snyder, in discussing Wisconsin’s childcare infrastructure, the current challenges, and future opportunities to address childcare issues across our state.

NEWaukee: The Shift presented by Kohler is a female-focused speaker series centered on fueling women’s career trajectories. Monday, March 8, our speakers from Kohler Co., Milwaukee Health Department, Northwestern Mutual and Wisconsin Department of Children and Families will discuss the troubling reports of job losses among women at the end of 2020 due to ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

BizTimes Media presents 21st Century Business Forum on Wednesday, March 10 with special guest Renée Mauborgne, bestselling author and professor at INSEAD. Best-selling author Jon Gordon will interview entrepreneurs, CEOs, authors, coaches, and thought leaders as they share their insights, ideas, and experiences of success as well as lessons learned.

Attend a D2P Open House: Learn about free trainings and mentoring available to campus innovators at a virtual open house with Discovery to Product on Wednesday, March 10, April 14 or May 12. We also have an on-demand option or can schedule 1:1 mentor chats for those who are not able to attend the live sessions.

Milwaukee Business Journal is hosting their Virtual Power Breakfast featuring Bill Westrate, CEO-elect of American Family Insurance on Friday, March 12. American Family Insurance CEO-elect Bill Westrate will give an update on the impact of the pandemic on the company, along with his plans for the firm's growth as he succeeds current CEO Jack Salzwedel.

Greater Green Bay Chamber presents Trends and Forecast: Talent webinar on Tuesday, March 16 featuring panelists from Emsi, LinkedIn and Breakthrough. This series deep dives into a specific influential topic in economic development and seeks to understand causality in current trends and then project forward what the economy can expect.

American Family’s Dreambank celebrates Women’s History Month with a webinar featuring Robin Roberts and AmFam’s COO Telisa Yancy on Thursday, March 18. Join in as they share their perspectives on staying committed to your dreams, overcoming obstacles, remaining true to yourself and blazing trails that illuminate the path for others.

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