TUE AM News: Varsity Venture Studio will help launch UW-Madison-based startups; Force for Positive Change award applications now open

— UW-Madison, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, and High Alpha Innovation are bringing a venture studio to campus.

The studio provides startup capital and hands-on support to select business ideas sourced from faculty, students and staff. 

“The goal of the studio is to launch scalable and venture-backed companies off our campus,” said Greg Keenan, WARF’s senior director of Ventures & Accelerator. “If the studio isn’t spinning out companies, it will not be successful.”

The venture studio combines a team of experienced company builders with a pool of capital to fund studio startups that solve problems with software or an app. 

The UW-Madison studio will launch one new startup this spring, incorporating a “sprint week” of intensive competition between up to five top ideas, according to Elliott Parker, CEO of High Alpha Innovation, an Indianapolis-based corporate venture studio. During the “sprint week,” teams compress the first six months of a potential new business into four days.

“A venture studio is all in, in terms of both capital invested in the startups it creates as well as the support it provides to those startups,” Parker said. “It is intense because we know, at the end of the week, that we’re putting real time and money and reputation on the line to make that happen.”

Read the full story at WisBusiness.com: https://www.wisbusiness.com/2020/varsity-venture-studio-will-help-launch-uw-madison-based-startups/ 

— Applications are open for the Force for Positive Change award, a statewide competition focusing on social entrepreneurship as a model for solving social or environmental challenges.

To be eligible, entities must: be an incorporated enterprise — a nonprofit, for-profit or hybrid company — with a revenue-generating product or service; and address a significant social and/or environmental challenge that exists in Wisconsin through their products, services or operations; and have a staff based in Wisconsin.  

At least six awards of $10,000 will be distributed to winning organizations during this year’s competition to recognize innovative models for solving complex problems across the state. At least three $10,000 prizes will be awarded to high impact social enterprises addressing the UN sustainable development goals.

This year, the Force for Positive Change is introducing three new categories open to both for-profit and nonprofit social impact organizations: 

*a $10,000 prize for a successful pivot in response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on Wisconsin; 

*a $10,000 prize for an organization demonstrating a commitment to addressing racial equity issues in Wisconsin; 

*and a $10,000 prize for an organization, which may include an innovative farm-based operation, positively impacting Wisconsin’s rural population.

Marquette University and WARF are heading the fourth annual competition, in conjunction with American Family Insurance, Ashoka, Promega Corp., StartingBlock Madison, gener8tor, UW-Eau Claire, WEDC, and DATCP. 

“Over the past few years, this program has identified some great examples of social entrepreneurship across the state. Wisconsin organizations have had to be more resilient than ever to confront the adversity currently impacting the state,” said Laura Heisler, director of programming at WARF. “We are honored to be able to recognize those organizations rising to meet these daunting challenges.”

Applications are being accepted online now through Dec. 15. On Jan. 25, select applicants will advance to a second phase of the competition, and a panel of expert judges from the public, private and academic sectors as well as investors and granting organizations will review each of the final applications. The winners will be announced in early spring during a virtual culmination event.

For more information or to apply visit: https://www.warf.org/programs-events/community/force-for-positive-change/ 

— Corn harvesting progressed quickly as farmers took advantage of the ideal conditions for fieldwork this week. 

Little to no participation and daytime highs in the 70s yielded 6.7 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Statewide, the moisture content of field corn being harvested for grain fell to 18 percent. Corn for grain harvest was 78 percent complete, more than four weeks ahead of last year and 13 days ahead of the five-year average. 

The last of the soybeans were going into the bin with the harvest at 96 percent complete, more than four weeks ahead of last year and 20 days ahead of the average. 

Corn and soybean stalks were being chopped and baled for bedding. 

USDA reporters in some areas noted that farmers were finishing their fall fieldwork two to three weeks ahead of schedule. Fall tillage and manure spreading continued as fields were cleared. Fall tillage was reported as 59 percent complete, more than four weeks ahead of last year and nine days ahead of the average. 

Winter wheat and other fall-planted crops were in good shape for the winter. Eighty-eight percent of winter wheat was emerged, more than four weeks ahead of last year and 11 days ahead of the average. Winter wheat condition rated 84 percent good to excellent statewide, unchanged from last week.

— MARKETPLACE, the Governor’s Conference on Diverse Business Development, is taking place Dec. 8-10. 

The conference offers training, education, networking and mentoring opportunities to Wisconsin small business owners, with particular attention to challenges faced by minority, woman, veteran and LGBTQ entrepreneurs. 

For the first time in its 39-year history, the annual event will be conducted virtually. The traditional conference activities will be retained in the virtual format, including the one-on-one meetings between small business and government representatives.

The virtual format of MARKETPLACE 2020 also allows event organizers to expand the program offerings. 

“Not only will the online event allow for participation from more Wisconsin minority, woman, veteran and LGBTQ small business owners, it will also provide connections with more resources and business opportunities from around the country,” said Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. Vice President of Business and Community Development Mary Gage. 

To register or for more information about MARKETPLACE, visit: https://www.marketplacewisconsin.com/ 

— Hartland-based Last Bite, a women-led startup, launched a new flavor in its line of controlled seasoning packets ahead of the holiday season: traditional turkey rub.

The fresh-ground seasoning blend combines marjoram, rosemary, thyme, sage, lemon zest and paprika, among other spices. The blends are shipped directly to the consumer and do not spend time sitting on the shelf. 

Last Bite operates under the trademarked slogan “Simplifying Sophisticated Home Cooking.” The team is made up of creative connoisseurs, chefs and culinary scientists. The group came together to launch a line of products that merge the practice of balancing life and work, all for the purpose of enhancing home cooking. 

— Jean-Philippe Courtois and William P. Gipson have been elected to ManpowerGroup’s board of directors.

Courtois is the executive vice president of Microsoft Corp. and president of Microsoft Global Sales, Marketing and Operations. Gipson is a retired executive at Procter & Gamble, who most recently served as president of Enterprise Packaging Transformation and chief diversity and inclusion officer. Their roles are effective Dec. 14. 

ManpowerGroup currently has 11 board members. 

— The state Department of Health Services is opening provider enrollment for the Wisconsin COVID-19 vaccine program as vaccines make their way through trial phases. 

Vaccine providers, including pharmacies, long-term care facilities, health care systems, health departments and mass vaccination sites, are encouraged to enroll in the program if they plan to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to patients once it becomes available in Wisconsin. 

Providers can access the enrollment portal here: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine-program.htm

“We are urging providers that plan on providing COVID-19 vaccines to enroll in the program as early as possible,” said DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk. “The earlier we start enrolling vaccinators, the more prepared we will be when a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine becomes available.”

Vaccinators will be able to use the COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Enrollment tool for registration, verification, training, and preparation for a COVID-19 vaccination. Additionally, enrolled providers will receive vaccine doses at no cost.

A COVID-19 vaccine is not yet available. 

Pfizer and Biontech announced yesterday their vaccine candidate was found to be more than 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19. The companies released that no “serious” safety concerns have been observed. While safety and additional efficacy data continue to be collected, submission for emergency use authorization to the Food and Drug Administration is planned for soon after the third week of November, according to the companies.

Multiple candidate COVID-19 vaccines are currently in trial phases II or III at the FDA. Track the progress here.

Once approved, vaccines will be distributed in phases, with critical populations receiving the first supply. 

Read a recent WisBusiness.com story on the state’s preparation for a COVID-19 vaccine: https://www.wisbusiness.com/2020/wisconsin-distributors-prepare-for-covid-19-vaccine/ 

— Wisconsin reported 4,360 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the seven-day average for daily confirmed cases to a record 5,639.

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Wisconsin broke 2,000 for the first time. The census sits at a record 2,003 as of yesterday afternoon. Intensive care patients number a near-record 396, according to the Wisconsin Hospital Association’s hospital dashboard.

And the state reported 17 new deaths among confirmed cases of COVID-19 yesterday, bringing the death toll to 2,329, marking 279 deaths since Nov. 2. By comparison, the week leading up to Nov. 2 saw 262 deaths.

<i>For more of the most relevant news on the coronavirus outbreak, reports on groundbreaking health research in Wisconsin and links to top stories, sign up today for the free daily Health Care Report from WisPolitics.com and WisBusiness.com.

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# Romanski Appoints DATCP Assistant Deputy Secretary 

# While the rest of America focuses on election drama, life for those inside a Wisconsin COVID ward is ‘all-consuming’ 


# Marquette basketball won’t host fans at Fiserv Forum, McGuire Center in 2020 




– Second Mink Farm Reports COVID Animal Deaths http://www.wisconsinagconnection.com/story-state.php?Id=1197&yr=2020 

– Real-Time Proof: Heavy Rains Prove Value of Cover Crops https://www.midwestfarmreport.com/2020/11/09/real-time-proof-heavy-rains-prove-value-of-cover-crops/ 

– Farmers Union series on meat processing kicks off this week https://www.midwestfarmreport.com/2020/11/09/farmers-union-series-on-meat-processing-kicks-off-this-week/ 


– Milwaukee selects General Capital, KG Development to build affordable apartments on North Avenue land https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/11/09/city-selects-general-capital-kg-for-north-ave-site.html 


– College endowment disclosures highlight growing divide between wealthiest schools and the rest of higher ed https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/11/09/college-endowment-divide-wealthy-schools-covid-19.html 


– Record-High Temperatures Lead To Late Blue-Green Algae Blooms In Some Lakes https://www.wpr.org/record-high-temperatures-lead-late-blue-green-algae-blooms-some-lakes 


– In Central Wisconsin, Rising Death Count From COVID-19 Puts Strain On Medical Examiner https://www.wpr.org/central-wisconsin-rising-death-count-covid-19-puts-strain-medical-examiner 


– Lawsuit Challenges Marsy’s Law In Wisconsin https://www.wpr.org/lawsuit-challenges-marsys-law-wisconsin


– iHeartMedia cuts in Milwaukee include longtime exec Kerry Wolfe, Big FM host Eric Paulsen https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/11/09/iheartmedia-cuts-in-milwaukee-include-longtime.html 


– Charles Franklin: Polling Underestimated Trump Supporters https://www.wpr.org/charles-franklin-polling-underestimated-trump-supporters

– Trump Wisconsin recount can’t start until counties canvass https://apnews.com/article/election-2020-donald-trump-wisconsin-elections-election-recounts-10342df4a5b3d7695830d59ca4a0f399


– Affordable apartments in Harbor District clear first zoning approval https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/11/09/harbor-district-affordable-apartments-clear-first.html 


– Kohl’s adjusts finances, operations to navigate Covid-19 pandemic https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/11/09/kohls-adjusts-finances-operations-to-navigate.html 


– Badgers Plan For Saturday Game Against Michigan https://www.wpr.org/badgers-plan-saturday-game-against-michigan 

– As High School Football Draws To Close, Team Officials Say They’re Grateful For Season https://www.wpr.org/high-school-football-draws-close-team-officials-say-theyre-grateful-season 


– Fetch Rewards raises nearly $80 million https://biztimes.com/fetch-rewards-raises-nearly-80-million/ 


– Generac will sponsor revamped Summerfest stage formerly branded by Harley-Davidson https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/11/09/generac-becomes-summerfest-stage-sponsor.html 


– Milwaukee airport estimates 2021 activity will be just 67% of 2019 https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/11/09/milwaukee-airport-estimates-2021-activity-will-be.html 


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