A Milwaukee biotech firm that developed a faster test to detect COVID-19 antibodies, a DePere restaurant that allows customers to “pay it forward” with gift cards to front-line medical workers and a Menomonie food co-op that developed an online ordering platform to highlight local producers are among the 226 statewide winners selected for the We’re All Innovating Contest.

“Wisconsin is known for its can-do spirit and its big ideas,” Governor Tony Evers said in announcing the winners in December. “The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired businesses to find new ways fight the virus, operate their businesses and meet the needs of our community. After looking at these winning projects, I’m truly in awe of these folks’ ingenuity, imagination and creativity.”

WEDC created the We’re All Innovating Contest to recognize and promote the creative ways startups and small businesses are adapting to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The judges selected winners in three major categories:

  • technology innovation to address COVID-19 impacts on health;
  • technology innovation to address COVID-19 impacts on businesses; and
  • service and business operation innovations to respond to COVID-19 disruption.

Top prizes went to 17 winners in the three categories; all 231 winners selected for funding have the opportunity to share in a total of $3 million. The grants will help offset costs incurred since March 1 and those anticipated through Dec. 30, 2020.

A full list of the winners, including details of the top entries can be found at: wedc.org/we-are-all-innovating-contest-winners

“All of the We’re All Innovating Contest winners demonstrate that despite the pandemic, Wisconsin’s culture of innovation is thriving,” said WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes. “We’re so pleased that the We’re All Innovating Contest is able to support those businesses who have taken it to the next level and those individuals who own, run or started businesses to take COVID-19 on. They have hustled to meet their customers’ needs and anticipated what new ones might be.”