Center receives $60,000 WEDC entrepreneurship grant

By University Communications
January 31, 2017
Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch announces a $60,000 WEDC entrepreneurship grant Tuesday to UW-Stout’s Center for Innovation and Development.

Photo: Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch announces a $60,000 WEDC
entrepreneurship grant Tuesday to UW-Stout’s Center for
Innovation and Development.


Two top state officials announced a grant Tuesday, Jan. 24, to help University of Wisconsin-Stout expand a pilot program statewide for entrepreneurs.

The new Entrepreneurship Support program from the Wisconsin Economic Development Council awarded the university $60,000 for its Idea to Prototype program. UW-Stout was one of 11 state organizations Tuesday that received grants totaling $500,000.

Matching funds of $60,000 will be provided by UW-Stout, Chancellor Bob Meyer announced.

The grant was announced by Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and WEDC Secretary and CEO Mark Hogan during a stop at the campus Discovery Center Fab Lab in the Applied Arts Building.

The grant is for UW-Stout’s Center for Innovation and Development, a specialty center within the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center network. CID is part of the UW-Stout Discovery Center.

“What is unique about this grant is that UW-Stout is taking one of its existing programs and offering it to innovators across the state. Stout is taking a leadership role, and the impact of this grant will extend well beyond this region,” Kleefisch said.

Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and Chancellor Bob Meyer applaud during the grant announcement program.“This grant is another example of the strong relationship that already exists between WEDC and UW-Stout,” said Kleefisch, citing other partnerships with UW-Stout such as the Fab Lab, Manufacturing Outreach Center and ExporTech program.

“Providing Wisconsin’s innovators with the support they need will also play a role in attracting and retaining a talented workforce. We are prioritizing entrepreneurship in Wisconsin,” Kleefisch added.

A total of 32 nonprofit organizations and communities applied for the WEDC grants, which ranged from $15,000 to $75,000.

“It was a competitive process. There are some extremely worthwhile projects throughout the state,” Hogan said. “Officials with the center, the university and the entire region should be proud to have developed an innovative program that is going to make a real difference in promoting startups around the state.”

WEDC has more than 600 regional partnerships around the state and numerous other programs and incentives for entrepreneurs. “Clearly, we work best and are most effective when we work together,” Hogan said.

Meyer and Randy Hulke, Discovery Center executive director, thanked Kleefisch and Hogan for the grant and noted UW-Stout’s long history of promoting business, industry and entrepreneurs in Wisconsin.

Mark Hogan, WEDC secretary and CEO, speaks Tuesday at UW-Stout.Idea to Prototype

Idea to Prototype was launched as a pilot program in 2015 with funding provided by the SBDC. The goal is to evaluate the feasibility and market potential of inventions.

The program is a collaborative effort of the CID, SBDC and several Inventors & Entrepreneurs clubs in the state.

In 2017 CID will market the program to inventors and entrepreneurs and partner with business plan competitions. The project expects to provide commercialization advancement services to 25 feasible and vetted inventions and concentrated technical assistance to 12 entrepreneurs, including prototype models.

The 2015 pilot served 98 inventors from 19 Wisconsin counties. The pilot was offered again in 2016, although final numbers haven’t been tallied.

Idea to Prototype was funded through SBDC but likely wouldn’t have continued in 2017 without WEDC support.

In 2016 UW-Stout’s Discovery Center in conjunction with businesses, added $28 million to the bottom line of its clients through cost savings or added revenue and helped create or retain more than 200 jobs. Since its inception in 2009, the Discovery Center impacts are $200 million and 2,000 jobs, Hulke said.

###

Photos

Middle Photo: Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and Chancellor Bob Meyer applaud during the grant announcement program at UW-Stout’s Discovery Center.

Bottom Photo: Mark Hogan, WEDC secretary and CEO, speaks Tuesday at UW-Stout.