FRI AM News: WisBusiness: The Podcast features Kathy Henrich, FOR-M program; WisBusiness launches “Talking Trade” video podcast

— This week’s episode of “WisBusiness: The Podcast” features Kathy Henrich, CEO of the Milwaukee Tech Hub Coalition, created to boost technology growth in southeastern Wisconsin.

The Tech Hub launched on Monday its second cohort of FOR-M — a free, three-month virtual workshop series that helps entrepreneurs solidify a startup idea. Henrich noted that anyone — even outside of the Milwaukee region — can join at any time. 

The first cycle had 19 ideas proceed to become full time companies that are seeing success in the marketplace. 

The virtual program includes instructional and mentor-based evenings intended to help individuals advance an idea into a viable business opportunity.

“We intentionally start with a large funnel of individuals… some will go forward… and others, as we’ve seen as a result of COVID, will actually switch and change ideas and change concepts, but continue to apply the education and the concepts they learned,” Henrich said.

This year, the Tech Hub will also continue supporting the businesses with office hours and resources. This cycle will also be virtual compared to last year, which Henrich said provides both opportunities and challenges.

Listen to the podcast, sponsored by UW-Madison: 

— is launching a new video podcast called “Talking Trade,” exploring trade issues affecting Wisconsin and the Midwest.

The hosts of the new show are Sandi Siegel and Ian Coxhead.

Siegel is president of M.E. Dey & Co., a century-old Milwaukee-based firm providing logistics services to businesses shipping goods around the world. See more:

Coxhead is a UW-Madison economics professor specializing in Asia:

The inaugural episode looks into news that a recent WTO panel found U.S. tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods illegal.

“Talking Trade” is supported by the Center for East Asian Studies at UW-Madison.

See the first show:

Tell us what you think: [email protected]

— WEDC’s Office of Rural Prosperity will help six Wisconsin communities apply for broadband expansion money.

The federal, state and private-sector funds are under a new joint pilot program announced yesterday by WEDC and the state Public Service Commission. The pilot comes in response to overwhelming requests for broadband expansion, according to WEDC’s release.

“One of the clearest lessons of the past year is that broadband is now as essential to daily life as electricity,” WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that broadband provides a critical link to the outside world, whether it’s for education, business or health care — yet many parts of Wisconsin still have either no access, limited access or high-cost access.”

WEDC identified broadband in its 150-page “Wisconsin Tomorrow — An Economy for All” report as one of the three key things to help Wisconsin businesses recover from the economic shutdown.

The pilot will run from late September to late December. Applications to participate will be accepted from Sept. 21-30. Eligible applicants include local governments, school districts and tribal nations.

In order to be accepted, applicants must have taken some initial steps towards broadband expansion, have diverse partners committed to working together on broadband expansion, have a clear vision for the technical assistance they are seeking, and seek to expand broadband in an underserved or unserved area. 

WEDC noted that it will seek geographic diversity across the state when selecting six communities.

Both WEDC and the PSC will use the pilot program to define communities’ broadband technical assistance needs, which will be part of a new Wisconsin Broadband Playbook for Communities.

“Broadband internet is an essential catalyst to drive community, public safety, learning, health and economic goals across the state of Wisconsin,” said PSC Chair Rebecca Cameron Valcq. “Governor Evers’ administration and the PSC are committed to the continued equitable expansion of broadband services to meet the needs of all Wisconsin communities and residents.”

— Concordia University’s Daniel Sem, co-author of “Purple Solutions: A bipartisan roadmap to better health care in America,” says the pandemic could bring some good changes to a dysfunctional U.S. healthcare system.

Sem serves as dean and professor of business, professor of pharmaceutical sciences and director of technology transfer at Concordia in Mequon. He also serves as director of the Rx Think Tank, focused on health care policy reform.

“I think the biggest problem in America, of course we need new treatments for disease, but it’s just the dysfunctional health care system we have,” he said in a interview on his book.

The COVID-19 crisis has put a strain on the health care industry, Sem said. However he pointed out that loosened regulations, such as licensure across state lines and telehealth, have accelerated the advancement of health care. 

“It’s also weakening what some call the medical industrial complex, which is a lot of what my book is about and why health care is so darn expensive,” he said. “If that gets weakened and we empower consumers and consumerization of care, I think that’s the way we control cost.” 

Watch the interview for Sem’s idea of a “purple solution”:

For more information:

Buy the book:

— Two Milwaukee-area nonprofits will each receive a $30,000 Spectrum Digital Education grant to further digital literacy in underserved populations in the Milwaukee area. 

Spectrum announced yesterday the recipients: Hispanic Federation, and Digital Bridge.

“We thank Hispanic Federation and Digital Bridge for being instrumental in helping us provide support for digital education in the Milwaukee community,” said Rahman Khan, vice president of community impact for Charter Communications, Inc., which operates the Spectrum brand. “Through these organizations, we can continue to provide those in need with the resources to navigate the challenges of the digital age.”

Hispanic Federation will open Spectrum Learning Lab at its partner agency, SER Jobs for Progress, in Milwaukee. The computer lab will be used by seniors, Latino families and low-income community members. 

“The new Spectrum Learning Lab will provide the Milwaukee community with opportunities to gain new digital skills and compete in the 21st-century workforce,” said Brent Wilkes, Hispanic Federation’s senior vice president for institutional development.

This is Digital Bridge’s third consecutive year receiving a Spectrum digital education grant to further its digital inclusion program, Bridge Milwaukee. The program promotes digital literacy to bridge the divide and help low-income families get affordable broadband access and technical skills. 

“Spectrum’s continued support – especially during COVID-19 – is helping us distribute even more refurbished technology so families can access digital learning for their students and so professionals can work remotely,” said Digital Bridge Executive Director Jeff Hanson. “With Spectrum’s partnership and grant funding, we’ve added a layer of education and access training to help individuals confidently take the equipment and utilize it to improve their lives.”

— Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is below the national mark.

The state added 34,700 total non-farm jobs in the month of August, bringing the unemployment rate down to 6.2 percent from July’s revised 7.1 percent.

The state also added 16,700 private-sector jobs in the month of August, the Department of Workforce Development released yesterday.

Wisconsin’s unemployment rate peaked in April at 13.6 percent as a result of an economic shutdown due to COVID-19. Now, Wisconsin is at levels last seen in the later months of 2013. 

DWD Secretary Caleb Frostman said that while COVID-19 continues to “hamstring” economic recovery, DWD programming is available to help people reenter the workforce.

“I encourage individuals looking to gain new skills or learn how to apply their existing skills to a new job to visit to explore our array of services that are available via in-person or virtual appointment,” he said. 

The Badger State continues to have a lower unemployment rate than the national average by over two percentage points, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The national unemployment rate is 8.4 percent from July’s 10.2 percent.   

— The deadline for social entrepreneurs to apply for the gener8tor’s gBETA Social Impact program is Oct. 2.

The seven-week program begins Oct. 29 and is open to anyone who is dedicated to solving problems in education equity or criminal justice reform.

The free pre-accelerator program provides mentorship, coaching and business development programming for individuals and teams. It also works with entrepreneurs one-on-one to help them scale their business. During gBETA, gener8tor also helps founders develop their pitch deck, executive summary and introduce them to mentors and investors.

Ten, for-profit teams will be selected — five in each education equity and criminal justice reform.

Apply here: 

See more information: 

— A Wisconsin Technology Council virtual event will feature a national expert on how to turn social media and digital marketing into measurable results.

The webinar will take place on Tuesday as part of the Tech Council Innovation Network’s “Crossing the Coronavirus Chasm” series.

Spencer X. Smith, founder of AmpliPhi Social Media Strategies and a former vice president of sales for two Fortune 500 companies, will offer a primer on how to leverage social media in your business and life.

Smith has been called a social media expert by Forbes, is an instructor at the UW-Madison and Rutgers University and is a member of the Tech Council board of directors.

Register for the event: 

— The COVID-19 pandemic forced low-income families nationwide to quarantine in inadequate living spaces, highlighting existing racial disparities in housing and health, Sacoby Wilson, an assistant professor at the University of Maryland, told a Milwaukee audience.

A history of racially charged zoning practices led to lasting widespread community segregation in Milwaukee and across the U.S., said experts on a virtual panel hosted by FUEL Milwaukee. Communities of color are less likely to have access to loans and infrastructure needs such as public transportation and groceries stores but are more likely to be exposed to environmental dangers like polluted air. 

“Your skin color dictates your access to resources,” Wilson said. “Environmental injustice is due to systemic racism.”

People of color also experience housing instability at disproportionate rates because they are more likely to be renters, but are also more likely to be evicted. More than 30 percent of all households spend more than 30 percent of their incomes on housing. When low-income families are financially burdened by rent, emergency costs like hospital bills or car breakdowns can result in evictions, explained Dorothy York, COO of ACTS Housing, an organization that helps Milwaukee’s low-income families find homes.

“Renting is difficult,” York said. “It’s really unsustainable for some low-income families.”

Frequent moves and unstable living situations negatively impact children’s mental health, explained Maudwella Kirkendoll, director of the Milwaukee-based Community Advocates’ Basic Needs Division, an organization that provides shelter for evicted families. When kids have to go from their school bus to a Community Advocates shelter, Kirkendoll explained, they experience social stressors. 

“From the kids’ standpoint, there’s just a lot that’s weighing on them that most people don’t have to deal with,” Kirkendoll said.

When a family is evicted once, it makes it more difficult for them to find another home. Kirkendoll has advocated for eliminating eviction records so landlords cannot discriminate against applicants who have been evicted in the past.

Community Advocates will be opening a “one-stop shop” solution center aiding those experiencing housing issues, Kirkendoll said. Additional efforts, like bringing infrastructure, healthier environments, jobs and schools to areas in need, can help bridge the gap between high-risk and stable communities, Wilson explained.

“We’ve got to bring resources back to the people,” Wilson said. “That means investments.”

— Wisconsin recorded 2,034 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, a record daily case count since the start of the pandemic. 

It’s the first day with more than 2,000 new cases in the state and the eighth day over the past two weeks that the state had more than 1,000 new confirmed cases in one day, according to the Department of Health Services’ coronavirus metrics.

This brought the seven-day average for new confirmed cases to 1,409 from 1,340, another record-breaking figure.

The daily positivity rate rose to 17.8 percent from 11.5 percent after the state recorded 11,445 new test results. Yesterday’s increase brought the seven-day positive test average to 14.3 percent from 14.1 percent, rising further from state health officials’ preferred rate of 5 percent or less.

The new cases bring the cumulative case count in Wisconsin to 94,746 with 81,902 of those recovered. Meanwhile, 1.3 percent of patients have died from the virus. 

The state’s coronavirus death toll is at 1,231. 

Shawano County reported its first COVID-19 death yesterday. Milwaukee, Outagamie and Sheboygan counties also recorded one more. But one death was removed from Menominee County’s count.

Counties reporting deaths include: Milwaukee (519), Racine (94), Waukesha (85), Kenosha (65), Brown (59), Dane (41), Walworth (34), Rock (32), Washington (32), Outagamie (25), Winnebago (22), Waupaca (20), Grant (19), Ozaukee (19), Marathon (14), Sheboygan (14), Fond du Lac (12), Dodge (9), Clark (8), Jefferson (7), Marinette (7), St. Croix (7), Eau Claire (6) and Pierce (6).

Barron, Forest, Oconto and Richland counties report four deaths each, while Adams, Door, Portage, Sauk, Taylor and Wood counties report three deaths each.

Ashland, Buffalo, Burnett, Calumet, Columbia, Green, Kewaunee, La Crosse, Langlade, Manitowoc, Monroe, Oneida, Polk, Trempealeau and Waushara counties report two deaths each.

Bayfield, Iron, Jackson, Juneau, Lincoln, Marquette, Rusk, Sawyer, Shawano, Vilas and Washburn counties report one death each.

Click here for more coronavirus resources and updates.


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# What Data Reveals About Door County Tourism During The Pandemic



– Groups Contend County Could Face Criminal Charges For Attempts To Regulate Large Swine Farms 

– Wisconsin Farmers Union Watching Dairy Developments 


– ‘I Really Didn’t Feel Comfortable Going Back’: Some Wisconsin Teachers Quit, Or Retire Early, Due To COVID-19 Concerns 


– Emerald Ash Borer Confirmed in Oconto, Shawano Counties 


– White House trade advisor says Foxconn project ‘will bear great fruit’


– GE Healthcare to vacate, sell former Marquette Electronics site on Milwaukee’s northwest side 


– Marcus Center moving forward with phase one of renovations 


– Briggs & Stratton reduces planned job cuts at Burleigh plant to 100 

– Judge finally OKs Harley-Davidson settlement with EPA from 2017 


– Twitter places warning label on Trump tweet about voting by mail


– Johnson, exposed to virus, cancels plan to appear with Trump

– Baldwin, Evers: Funding promised by Trump for Kenosha can’t be used to rebuild

– Wisconsin Democrats’ high-profile fundraisers continue Thursday with stars of ‘Parks and Rec’

– Dems fear Wisconsin governor is becoming a liability for Biden

– Former Wisconsin governor Scott Walker is working with Pence on debate preparations, people familiar with sessions say


– Industrial real estate markets have their day in global race to redefine supply chains 


– Kohl’s developing own athleisure brand 


– Here’s what NCAA’s decision on college basketball means for Wisconsin Div.-I programs 


– Small tech stocks soar as the future arrives early 

– Wauwatosa insurance tech company Zywave acquired by private investment firm  


– New Milwaukee hotels must manage challenges of opening on top of Covid-19 difficulties 


– Harley-Davidson to pay $12M penalty in EPA emissions case from 2016 


– Doubling revenue: Matt Neumann talks SunVest Solar’s rapid growth 

– State Regulators Rule Utilities May Resume Issuing Notices For Water Shutoffs On Nov. 1 


– InsideWis: Even in fractious times, the need for a vital, secure economy can unite lawmakers 


<i>See these and other press releases: </i>

Edgewood College: Spike in positive COVID cases prompts changes, stern warning on campus

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture: NASS Release – Wisconsin potatoes