In order to create and sustain the steady growth of new businesses in Wisconsin, it is important to encourage and support entrepreneurs at every stage of their development. Simply put, we need these innovators and risk takers to move our economy forward. Research consistently shows that the vast majority of net job creation comes from young companies.

With a strong history of pioneering research, patent development and federal funding attraction, Wisconsin’s university system is developing new solutions to environmental, health care and business challenges across the globe. Unfortunately, not enough of these bright ideas are making it to the marketplace and those that do have difficulty in scaling their businesses.

”Startup gridlock” is occurring in Wisconsin due to the lack of infrastructure to support research and development to commercialization. The supply of at-risk capital is insufficient to enable high-tech companies to launch and rapidly expand their products or services.

The good news is that Wisconsin’s business leaders, including the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC); universities; corporations; and not-for-profits throughout the state, understand this challenge and are committed to removing barriers to high-tech commercialization.

Start. Seed. Scale. (S3)

Wisconsin has many potential new business ideas at the starting line. Few of these, however, reach the finish line. One of the major problems is a fuel shortage that strikes in the middle of the race. Concept development, prototype production and customer validation all need to be done before traditional investors will consider funding a new company. And most entrepreneurs lack the resources to conduct business validation and clear the financing hurdle on their own. To draw attention to this problem, WEDC has developed the Start. Seed. Scale. (S3) initiative.

Under the S3 umbrella, WEDC and partners across the state are implementing financial and operational assistance programs, including the Qualified New Business Venture (QNBV) Program, that are designed specifically to address Wisconsin’s business startup and seed-funding challenges. However, much more needs to be done to completely remove the gridlock.

S3 underscores the need for statewide collaboration to increase funding and support for new business creation in Wisconsin. The S3 solution will ensure more startups stay on track and reach that critical stage of commercialization—attracting a talented workforce, creating more jobs, and ultimately bringing more innovation to Wisconsin.



(October 2014)