FRI AM News: Bills to alter QNBV program circulating; WisBusiness: the Podcast with Shabaka Gibson, executive director of the Creative Destruction Lab – Wisconsin

— Two bills being circulated for co-sponsorship by GOP lawmakers would make changes to the state’s Qualified New Business Venture program, which provides a 25 percent tax credit to early-stage investors in certain startup companies. 

Under the program, businesses must currently employ at least 51 percent of its workforce in Wisconsin to be QNBV-certified by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. One of the bills would enable companies to remain eligible for the program without meeting that percentage, as long as they satisfy a handful of other requirements. 

These include: maintaining headquarters in Wisconsin; increasing the number of in-state employees following the merger or acquisition; WEDC determining that the merger or acquisition wasn’t done in order to relocate the business outside of Wisconsin or to “cease the business’s efforts” to grow in the state; and satisfying the 51 percent in-state employment requirement within “approximately” one year after the merger or acquisition. 

“This bill … recognizes that for a tech-based company to succeed, it must often add talent and resources in markets much bigger than Wisconsin,” Wisconsin Technology Council President Tom Still told 

He explained the second bill would allow for out-of-state angel investors to sell or transfer the tax credits provided through the program. 

The Wisconsin Startup Coalition is backing the second bill, arguing these investors are currently discouraged from investing in startups in the state because the QNBV tax credit incentives are not transferable. By allowing those tax credits to be transferred to an entity or person with a state tax liability, the legislation would incentivize angel investors from around the country to invest in startups in Wisconsin, the coalition argues. 

“That ability to sell or transfer credits is already allowed for QNBV’s ‘early stage’ credits, but not for the angel side,” Still said, adding the legislation “would simply bring the full law into alignment.” 

The state’s QNBV program has been amended several times since it was created in 2005, and Still notes the Tech Council “has been a part of the evolution” of that program. He says the bills being circulated build on concepts introduced as part of the council’s white papers report released in January. The group’s board “has long been on record as supporting bills to improve the law,” he said. 

In their co-sponsorship memo for the first bill, Sen. Dan Feyen, R-Fond du Lac, and Rep. Shannon Zimmerman, R-River Falls, noted that $660 million in private investment has been raised by QNBV-certified companies in Wisconsin since 2005. More than $164 million in related tax credits has been authorized and granted between then and 2020. 

“These are private dollars that might otherwise stay on the sidelines and not get involved in the early-stage economy if not for the availability of Wisconsin’s tax credit law, which is a model other states have followed,” the lawmakers wrote. 

The second bill is being spearheaded by Feyen and Rep. Mike Kuglitsch, R-New Berlin. 

— This week’s episode of “WisBusiness: the Podcast” is with Shabaka Gibson, director of the Creative Destruction Lab in Wisconsin. 

CDL-Wisconsin is a small business accelerator program for companies with “amazing technology and are ready for massive scalability,” Gibson explained. The Madison chapter is one of 10 sites around the world, and is one of just three located in the United States. 

Gibson describes the types of companies the program seeks to work with as well as its overall strategy for driving growth. 

“Typically we aim for a company that again is seed-stage, so they are beyond the incubation stage, they have all the business stuff lined up. What they’re really looking for is how to take their product or company from being productive and profitable to massively scalable,” he said. 

While the program can sometimes work with earlier-stage companies with a promising idea or research basis, Gibson says participating companies are usually “ready to take off.” 

CDL programs are typically attached to universities’ business schools, Gibson explains. and Wisconsin’s chapter is no different. Through a class offered at UW-Madison, college students are able to participate in the program and learn about the process for scaling up business growth. 

Listen to the podcast here: 

See a full list of podcasts: 

See a recent story on the program: 

— The latest “Talking Trade” video podcast features Mike Dankler, trade advisor for Michael Best Strategies in Washington, D. C.

With a new trade agreement reached between the United States and the European Union, Talking Trade hosts Ian Coxhead and Sandi Siegel discuss future trade and tariff issues with Dankler. 

Watch the show here: 

— UW Health has announced that organ transplant recipients as well as patients on its waiting list will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Dr. Dixon Kaufman, medical director for UW Health’s Transplant Center, says transplant recipients are at “far greater risk” of severe illness or death from COVID-19 than most people because of anti-rejection drugs they take. 

UW Health points to results of a study that found among 482 unvaccinated transplant recipients who got COVID-19, 78 percent had to be hospitalized and over 20 percent of those patients died. 

“We believe that requiring vaccination for COVID-19, just as vaccinations are required for other infectious diseases, gives our recipients the best odds for surviving and thriving once they receive their transplant,” Kaufman said in a release. 

Once the policy goes into effect Monday, candidates currently on the center’s waiting list will have 30 days to get the first dose of a vaccine series and another 30 days to get the second injection if needed to complete the series. If UW Health doesn’t receive documentation of vaccination by Jan. 14, the patient in question will be deemed inactive and won’t be eligible for a transplant. 

Patients on the waitlist that are deemed ineligible due to the new rule can be granted active status by completing the vaccine series once 14 days have passed since their final shot. 

Meanwhile, patients that are being evaluated for transplant or expect to be soon will be required to be vaccinated before being added to the waitlist. Although eligible patients are being encouraged to get booster shots, that won’t factor into their transplant or waitlist eligibility, UW Health says. 

See the release: 

— The state is set to receive $10 million for efforts to combat the opioid epidemic after joining the multi-state Bloomberg Opioids Overdose Prevention Initiative. 

The initiative recently expanded to include Wisconsin, Kentucky, New Jersey, New Mexico, and North Carolina after initially launching in Michigan and Pennsylvania in 2018. The funds coming to Wisconsin are part of a $120 million investment from Bloomberg Philanthropies in the effort. 

In a release, Gov. Tony Evers notes the COVID-19 pandemic has “only underscored” the impact of the opioid crisis, as related deaths in the state exceeded 1,000 per year last year for the first time. 

“It’s more critical than ever that we get folks support and access substance use treatment and mental health services,” Evers said. “Wisconsin is thrilled to be joining this partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies as we work tirelessly together to save lives, expand treatment and services, and build a healthier state.”

The release shows funding will go toward expanding existing efforts and new programs, as well as advocacy for further federal policies aimed at reducing opioid deaths. In Wisconsin, funding will support technical assistance and services for related efforts, including government agency staff and other groups working at the state and local level. 

Partners in the initiative include the CDC Foundation, Global Health Advocacy Incubator, Johns Hopkins University, The Pew Charitable Trusts and Vital Strategies. 

See the release: 

— The state Department of Natural Resources is taking applications through Jan. 7 for projects to reduce diesel emissions from public and private vehicle fleets and improve air quality. 

Up to $320,000 in federal funding is available through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, a release from the DNR shows. 

The federal grant program was created to reduce environmental impacts from aging diesel engines, which produce more pollution than newer engines. These emissions contribute to climate change through the greenhouse effect. 

Applications are being accepted for projects related to school and transit buses, “nonroad” engines in other machinery, construction vehicles and equipment, cargo handling and agriculture. Applicants can include any private, public or nonprofit entities that own or operate diesel vehicle fleets or equipment in the state. 

See more on the grant program here: 

— Kimberly-Clark’s Marinette facility has been accepted into the DNR’s Green Tier program as a Tier 1 participant. 

Tier 1 of the program recognizes participants for implementing an environmental management system while the second tier requires “more rigorous participation,” according to the agency. The Marinette manufacturing facility has an environmental, health and safety management system for tracking these aspects of business performance. 

Jean Romback-Bartels, DNR director for the Northeast Region, says the facility will be working toward “achieving 100 percent diversion of manufacturing waste from landfills and reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.” 

Kimberly-Clark has announced plans to reduce its environmental footprint by 50 percent by 2030, with a focus on climate impacts, forests and water resources, and plastics. The Marinette site manufactures paper towels and other consumer products. 

“Sustainability is at the heart of our operations at Marinette, and our team is excited to continue making progress on our sustainability goals,” Joe Canning, plant manager for the Marinette facility, said in a release. 

See program details here: 

— October home sales in the metropolitan Milwaukee area were down 9.2 percent over the year, according to a report from the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors. 

The report shows all four counties in the region — Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee — had a decline in sales over the year. But GMAR notes the decline is coming after a “spectacular 2020 sales year,” as sales in October were 14.5 percent higher than October 2019, which was “also a very good sales year.” 

A total of 2,101 homes were sold in October, compared to 2,313 in October 2020, the report shows. 

But at the same time, year-to-date sales for 2021 stand at 19,403, while at the same time last year, the area had 18,188 sales. If sales in the final two months of the year continue in line with the trend over the last five years, GMAR estimates that sales this year will be “within the range of 2020’s historic total” of 22,445. 

The organization highlights a lack of new construction on single-family houses and condominiums as a “systemic problem” with the regional market, also pointing to “over production” of new apartment buildings. That trend along with a younger pool of buyers, low interest rates and strong economic growth have led to a “historically tight market.” 

“If the region does not create additional supply in the form of more single-family and condo units, thousands of would-be homeowners will be forced into rental units, foregoing the opportunity to build wealth through a home’s equity and all of the other benefits of homeownership,” the group said in its report. 

See the report: 


# Wisconsin Technical College System enrollment fell by 13 percent last school year

# Spotlight on vets: Marine vet proving he has business ‘metal’

# Scanalytics looking for new lab space to test its floor sensors



– DBIA announces Dairy Industry Impact grant recipients

– Farm group urges hunters to respect state’s trespassing law


– Findorff promotes nine senior leaders to company shareholders


– Report: Wisconsin’s tax burden dropped dramatically over last 20 years


– UW Health says people who want an organ transplant must get COVID-19 vaccine

– UW Health to require transplant patients get COVID-19 vaccine

– Advocate Aurora increasing its minimum hourly wage to $18


– Leinenkugel, other employers say service veterans make the best employees


– Federal bill could up state’s money for highways by $1B 

– Carol Edler Baumann, longtime UWM political science professor, Women of Influence winner, dies at age 89


– Mandel Group adds 41 apartments to development plans for Wauwatosa’s village

– Nassco moves HQ to larger building


– Veteran-owned businesses call for more accountability in state contracting process


– Nike store coming soon to Bayshore


– Ballpark Commons’ Luxe Golf driving range and beer garden to open in May: Slideshow


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