Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation: The Wisconsin Idea inspiring entrepreneurs beyond Madison

Jeanan Yasiri Moe

Director of Strategic Communications

[email protected]


 As the “people’s university” the UW is strengthening economies statewide, says new essay published by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation 

MADISON, Wis. – Approximately 300 companies have spun off the UW–Madison campus and most have taken root within a 30-mile radius. The same “innovation mindset” flourishes across the state, say Chancellor Dean Van Galen of UW-River Falls and Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. 

 In their essay “The Wisconsin Idea and Regional Economies: Apples Falling from Many Trees,” Van Galen and Still cite new companies emerging from the 11 UW regional comprehensive campuses. They call on public-private commitment to mentor and incubate “early ideas into actionable enterprises.”

They write, “Universities across our UW System are taking a focused approach to engaging our outstanding faculty and students in entrepreneurial endeavors. This requires collaborative thinking with our state’s business community.”

The new essay is part of a larger online series called “Innovation and the Wisconsin Idea,” featuring more than 20 prominent contributors exploring the crucial interdependence between university innovations and the strength of the Wisconsin economy.

Co-authors represent different regions of the state while sharing a common bond through the field they represent, from agriculture and engineering to health care and policymaking.

Contributors to the series include:

  • Erik Iverson, Managing Director, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation
  • Governor Tommy G. Thompson and Professor Mike Sussman
  • Chris Salm, CEO of Ab E Discovery, and Dean Kate VandenBosch
  • Professor Dan Ludois and Cecil Edirisinghe, CEO of Velicon
  • John Neis, Executive Managing Director of Venture Investors, and Cory Nettles, Founder and Managing Director of Generation Growth Capital Inc.
  • Dr. Alan Kaplan, CEO of UW Health, and Dr. Susan Turney, CEO of Marshfield Clinic
  • Dean Ian Robertson and Greg Piefer, CEO of SHINE Medical Technologies
  • Zach Brandon, President of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, and Tim Sheehy, President of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce
  • Arjun Sanga, President of WiSys, and Zach Halmstad, Co-Founder of Jamf
  • State Senator Luther Olsen and Dean Robert Golden
  • Chancellor Dean Van Galen and Tom Still, President of the Wisconsin Technology Council
  • State Senator Alberta Darling and Rock Mackie, Professor and Entrepreneur
  • Mike Knetter, President of the University of Wisconsin Foundation                                                                                                                                   

For more information about the series Innovation and the Wisconsin Idea, please visit warf.org/WisconsinInnovates. Comments on the series are welcome at[email protected].