Gov. Doyle: Announces funding for BioLink ag business incubator

Contacts: Tony Hozeny, Department of Commerce, 608-267-9661

Laura Smith, Office of the Governor, 608-261-2162

MADISON — Governor Jim Doyle announced today that the Madison Development Corporation and the City of Madison have received a Forward Innovation Fund award in the amount of $200,000 from the Department of Commerce (Commerce) to help fund the Midwest BioLink Commercialization and Business center (BioLink). BioLink will be an agriculturally-focused incubation facility targeting businesses that are commercializing technologies, products and services. The total project cost is $7.2 million.

“My administration is committed to helping businesses with their efforts to support new economic development opportunities,” Governor Doyle said. “BioLink will be built on a foundation of innovative technology and strong leadership. I am very excited to support an organization that represents the future of Wisconsin’s economy.”

BioLink will be one of the charter tenants of the BioAg Gateway campus located on Madison’s southeast side on Agriculture Drive. Its mission is to:

* Position the region as a world center for innovation, prototyping and commercialization of ag-based products;

* Create new jobs within ag-based companies in the region;

* Attract and retain highly-qualified management talent;

* Attract investment capital to the region; and

* Create a critical mass of ag-based companies in the region

The BioLink center will consist of a 31,000 square foot multi-tenant incubator facility that includes 17,000 square feet of tenant flex space, 5,000 square feet of finished space for offices/labs/conference rooms, 6,000 square feet of security greenhouse, and 3,000 square feet for mechanicals, equipment and prep area. A director will be hired to oversee the facility and lease space to bio-ag companies. The director will have knowledge and expertise in early stage business development and will provide value-added assistance with business planning, financing, business development, technology transfer and commercialization of products and services, patents, and venture capital.

The day-to-day facility management will be performed under an administrative contract with Orbital Technologies Corporation (Orbitec), due to their expertise in controlled environment technology and greenhouses. Orbitec has also signed a pre-lease commitment with the Madison Development Corporation for 8,000 square feet in the incubator. Orbitec is a small Madison-based technology-development company that is a national leader in aerospace research and development. In its first 20 years, Orbitec has been awarded over $150 million in contracts from government and industry for aerospace subsystem development and integration, including the largest Phase III Small Business Innovation Research Program in NASA’s history

Since taking office in 2003, Governor Doyle has worked aggressively to help Wisconsin’s businesses grow and create and retain jobs in the state. Governor Doyle’s budget last year created some of the strongest economic development tools in the nation to help businesses create jobs and get people back to work. Wisconsin now has powerful new tax credits to help manufacturers create and retain jobs, new tools to help investors create start-ups, and new incentives to spur research and development.

Yesterday, Governor Doyle signed the CORE Jobs Act to build on his efforts by creating and expanding a number of tax credit programs for angel and venture capital investments. The legislation also strengthens successful programs for manufacturing, research and development, and worker training. In addition, the Governor signed two bills to expand the successful Enterprise Zone program to help create and retain jobs.