From WisBusiness.com …
— The State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB) will invest $25 million in Baird Venture Partners Fund III.
Baird Venture Partners, a venture capital group affiliated with the Milwaukee-based, Robert W. Baird & Co., focuses on early- and expansion-stage companies in the healthcare/life science and business services sectors.
In addition to the $25 million commitment, $15 million will be used for direct co-investments in portfolio companies in Wisconsin that have been financed or will be financed by partnership funds SWIB has invested in over the past nine years.
The $40 million approved for investments will mean the entire $200,000,000 allocated to the Wisconsin Venture Capital initiative will be fully committed.
— A few weeks ago, S&S Cycle in LaCrosse threw a big party for its 50th anniversary that brought an estimated 28,000 motorcycle enthusiasts to Western Wisconsin from all over the world.
But just last week, S&S cut its workforce by 60 workers through voluntary separations and layoffs.
The contrast is striking and has made the job cuts high profile in the media and among the public. Some question whether S&S spent too much on its bash, in the long run at the cost of 60 people’s jobs.
S&S officials vehemently deny that. President Brett Smith said the costs of the 50th anniversary celebration were covered by sales of the 50 custom cycles made for the event, and support from the community.
See Gregg Hoffmann column: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Content=202
— Lauterbach Group Inc. is planning to build a 61,000-square-foot addition and purchase new equipment at its flexographic printing plant in Sussex. The $9.6 million project is expected to create 15 new jobs.
The company will receive a $6.5 million Industrial Revenue Bond allocation from the Wisconsin Department of Commerce to help finance the addition. The firm also will receive up to $25,000 from the state in a Customized Labor Training grant to train 12 new and 28 existing employees on the new equipment and processes.
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For these and more releases visit http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Content=82
State’s minority contract process criticized: Critics are calling for a review of the preference the state offers to minority contractors after an out-of-state firm won a choice job despite charging taxpayers $1.3 million more than the low bidder. The $29.5 million renovation and expansion of a UW-Stout science building was won by an established minority-owned firm from the Twin Cities, even though two larger Wisconsin firms underbid the contractor, state officials said. The Minnesota firm received the contract in May after state officials invoked a law that allows a minority firm to be given a job if its bid is within 5 percent of the lowest bid. The UW-Stout project may represent the largest such state contract ever awarded to a minority firm.
Area’s water hub sputters: Water-engineering firm Pentair to shut Sheboygan plant, others on weak sales … The U.S. mortgage crisis has caught up with the vaunted water-technology sector that business leaders are promoting as a new economic engine for the Milwaukee region. Pentair Inc., the biggest of the water-engineering companies clustered around Milwaukee, recently announced that it will shut a plant in Sheboygan with 350 workers next year in a simultaneous closure of facilities in California, Illinois, China and France. While Pentair reaches markets around the world, supplying water treatment systems to industries and governments, many of its problems center on the division that supplies filtration equipment for homes and, therefore, relies on home investment.
Manufacturing group touts $226 million impact: The Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership said the help it provided to state companies produced an economic impact of $226 million for the 12 months ended June 30, including $85 million in south central Wisconsin. The economic impact is based on 185 surveys completed by WMEP-assisted companies and compiled by an independent national research firm. Madison-based WMEP is a non-profit that provides expertise and business assistance that aims to help small and mid-size manufacturers grow and succeed. WMEP-assisted companies reported $128 million in increased/retained sales; $16.9 million in cost savings; $81.3 million in investment, including new plant and equipment; and 1,235 created/retained jobs. WMEP said it provided services to 531 state manufacturers last year.
Venture fund exceeds goal: Baird affiliate starts with $170 million to invest in start-up companies … Baird Venture Partners will announce Monday that it has raised $170 million for a third venture-capital fund. The Robert W. Baird & Co. affiliate exceeded by $20 million the amount of money it was aiming to raise, organizers said. The State of Wisconsin Investment Board, with about $87 billion of assets under management, put $25 million into the new Baird fund, said Chris Prestigiacomo, portfolio manager for the Wisconsin private-equity portfolio managed by SWIB. Baird’s success in raising a large fund “creates a very meaningful co-investor here in the Midwest,” said John Neis, a senior partner at Madison-based Venture Investors, one of the most active Wisconsin-based early-stage venture-capital firms.
’08 winter wheat production could set record: Federal harvest forecast for state recently released … The amount of soybeans and winter wheat harvested in Wisconsin this year is expected to increase, while the number of corn acres expected to be harvested for grain is forecast to dip. Those numbers are part of the recent forecast from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In Door County, corn and wheat production looks good so far this summer countywide — a far cry from last year, when some areas of the peninsula got little rain in June and July and corn withered in the field. “Everything is looking good up here,” said Dean Volenberg with the Door County University of Wisconsin-Extension.
WISBUSINESS FEATURED COLUMNISTS
– GREGG HOFFMANN: Contributor, WisBusiness.com
– TOM STILL: President, Wisconsin Technology Council
– JENNIFER SERENO: Senior manager, Wood Communications Group
– STEVE JAGLER: Executive editor, Small Business Times
– TOM BURZINSKI: IT executive and consultant
– Microsoft file format approved as ISO standard
– Technical colleges offering alternative energy programs
– Airlines push for homegrown jet fuel
– UW-EC researcher takes on acid rain
– Optimism drives Kaukauna’s Keller Inc.
– State approves $6.5M bond for Lauterbach expansion
– County considers joining business loan fund
MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Rising steel, oil prices up cost to build ships for U.S. Navy
– Manufacturing enjoys modest growth
– City bus system on strike
SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Passion for fishing spawned guide service
– Business start-up session set Sept. 9
– Wall Street heads for higher open as oil slips
– Money manager says it’s time to check out bank stocks again
– Construction update 2008: Building jitters: Developers say business uncertainty appears to have depressed large projects
– DNR to hold town meeting on emerald ash borer
– Event addresses soil, plant health
– Farm Groups Identify Weaknesses in Water Quality Task Force Report
– Town of Menasha considers eco-friendly transportation
– Marquette Interchange construction was a smooth ride
– Brighter skies with AirTran?
– Shoppers want a bargain, and that could hurt some retailers
– New Total Energy location opens
– Schlitz to be served on draft starting this week
– Harley party plan roaring along
– DNR: Wis. duck hunters should have good season
– Water sale’s chain reaction drains utility reserves
– Brookfield sludge could help Milwaukee sewage program
– St. Mary’s to build emergency center in Sun Prairie
– Chaseburg still waiting for buyout offer for August 2007 flood damage
MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– Fuszard named to alumni board
– Neenah Paper gives to charitable causes
– Signs of the times
BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)
– Mick Hager: Letting employees telecommute is a challenge
– Alan Prahl: Cutting back builds financial strength in lean times
– John Torinus: Medical advances offer better quality and value
National Business Roundups ( back to top)
–YAHOO FINANCE: http://finance.yahoo.com/
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–ABC BUSINESS NEWS: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/business/
–GOOGLE NEWS: http://news.google.com/news/en/us/business.html
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