FRI AM News: WisBusiness: the Podcast with Heather Wentler, executive director and co-founder of Doyenne; Talking Trade with Jay Nash of the Madison International Trade Association

— This week’s episode of “WisBusiness: the Podcast” is with Heather Wentler, executive director and co-founder of Doyenne. 

This nonprofit group supports and mentors women in the startup space through a variety of programs, including the Investor Accelerator that recently graduated its first cohort in March. Wentler discusses the impact of this program, which launched earlier this year. 

“Only 4 percent of all venture capital investors in the U.S. identify as female or women, so there’s a huge lack of what’s going on here, and also less than 3 percent of all VC investment dollars go to primarily women-led businesses annually,” she said. 

The 12-week program aims to address this disparity, getting more women into decision-making roles in the investment space. She said more than half of the first cohort have begun the process of becoming an accredited investor, or have already made their first investment. 

“It’s actually pretty similar to a startup accelerator, except you don’t walk away with an executive summary,” she said. “Instead you walk away with, here are next steps you could take to either participate in a fund that may be looking for new investors to come on board, or also opportunities of how you can leverage your personal wealth into making those decisions for investing in early-stage ventures.” 

Listen to the podcast here: 

See the full list of podcasts: 

— The latest “Talking Trade” discussion features Jay Nash of the Madison International Trade Association and Nash Global Trade Services. 

He joins hosts Ian Coxhead and Sandi Siegel for a discussion of trade trends and their impact on store shelves in coming months.

Watch the show here: 

— “ The Show” spotlights Karen Renee of eCourt Reporters, a Burlington company that won the Business Services category of the 2021 Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.

The show includes her remarks to a live audience at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference. The company provides law firms, government entities and court reporting agencies direct access to certified court reporters and additional legal support services.

In addition, Wisconsin Technology Council President Tom Still talks about recent investments and exits involving Wisconsin companies and outlines coming events. 

Watch the show here: 

— Dane County has added exceptions to its mask mandate for certain music performers and those making presentations before a fully vaccinated crowd. 

“This latest version of the order includes a narrow exemption for certain performers while performing or practicing,” said Janel Heinrich, director of Public Health Madison & Dane County. “We highly encourage all performing arts to consider all the ways in which they can reduce disease transmission, especially as the highly-contagious delta variant continues to spread in Dane County.”

Under the new order, performers playing a wind instrument with some form of cover on it are not required to wear a face covering as long as they are spaced six feet apart. 

The order also exempts anyone who is “presenting or performing a religious, political, media, educational, artistic, cultural, musical, theatrical or any other type of presentation for an audience,” as long as everyone at the performance or event is fully vaccinated. 

Morgan Finke, a spokesperson for the county health department, says officials don’t believe the change will result in “a significant increase” in disease transmission. 

“Right now, we are working to balance risk mitigation with long term living with COVID-19,” she said in an email. “We’re doing this by again looking at what other communities with similar vaccination rates are doing and seeing where risk is balanced with activities.” 

The emergency order will remain in effect until Oct. 8. 

See the new order here: 

— The founding director of the new Transdisciplinary Center for Research in Psychoactive Substances at UW-Madison aims to build on existing momentum in the field. 

Paul Hutson is a professor in the university’s School of Pharmacy, which houses the new center. In a recent interview, he explained that research into clinical applications of substances like MDMA and psilocybin — the psychoactive component of so-called “magic mushrooms” — has been going on in Madison for years. 

“One of the things we wanted to do is raise a flag, to say ‘here’s where we’re doing this research, for those working in areas that are related, let’s understand what everyone is doing and identify some synergies,’” Hutson told “That’s our hope in terms of pulling together parts of the UW-Madison community.” 

In doing so, Hutson is looking to increase the university’s capacity to perform clinical research and basic research into these compounds. One ongoing study at UW-Madison is exploring the potential for MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. He said results from that effort are “remarkable” and show great promise for treating the condition. 

Other studies at UW-Madison are using psilocybin to treat depression and opioid addiction, while an upcoming research effort will focus on using the substance in treating methamphetamine use disorder, Hutson said. 

He also pointed to ongoing studies at Johns Hopkins and other top research institutions looking into varied applications of psychoactive drugs for other conditions. 

An industry website called Psilocybin Alpha shows the number of clinical trials involving psilocybin has skyrocketed in recent years, rising from less than five trials in 2006 to nearly five dozen in 2020. Hutson says that illustrates a “new acceptance and understanding of the potential” of psychoactive compounds in the medical field. 

Through the UW Foundation’s new Wisconsin Psychedelic Research and Education Fund, he’s hoping to attract more funding “so we can expand our capacity to do these studies and expand to other groups,” including communities that have been historically underrepresented in prior studies. That includes ethnic and racial minorities as well as elderly people, he said. 

The center will be hosting a symposium in November with UW-Madison researchers and scholars as well as national experts in the field, to discuss how to better serve minority populations. 

“There’s concern across this entire academic enterprise that Black and other minorities are not adequately represented in the research,” Hutson said. “Our biggest task right now is to sit down with leaders of the community and listen to them. We have questions and concerns to address, not only in the Black community, but tribal nations of Wisconsin and Hmong and Hispanic communities.” 

See more on the new center here: 

— Midwest Products and Engineering, a Milwaukee-based manufacturer of medical devices, is acquiring a California product design firm called MindFlow Design. 

According to a release, Midwest Products and Engineering has averaged over 10 medical product launches each year for the past four decades. 

“MindFlow Design brings to MPE a culture of innovation that will help original equipment manufacturers streamline the development process and commercialize life-enhancing technologies through our vertically integrated business model,” said MPE President and CEO Hank Kohl.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. 

See the release: 

— The latest federal figures on banks in Wisconsin show the state’s economy continues to recover, according to a release from the Wisconsin Bankers Association. 

“The numbers released …by the FDIC demonstrate the continued health of our state’s economy and show that banks are positioned for a positive finish to the rest of this year,” WBA President and CEO Rose Oswald Poels said in a statement. 

In the second quarter of 2021, total deposits at Wisconsin banks increased 8.25 percent compared to the second quarter of 2020. Over the same period, total assets rose by 3.9 percent. 

Meanwhile, borrowers in the state are “increasingly up to date” on their loan payments, the release shows. Noncurrent loans and leases have decreased 27.6 percent over the year. 

See the release: 

— The USDA is providing 15 grant recipients in Wisconsin with funding for renewable energy infrastructure such as solar arrays and energy-efficient lighting. 

Recipients including farms and other rural businesses are getting grants ranging from about $4,100 to $20,000. Each of the funded projects will result in cost savings and reduced energy usage for recipients. Wisconsin projects are getting a total of $187,000 in grants. 

The funding was announced as part of a $464 million investment from the USDA in renewable energy infrastructure in 48 U.S. states and Puerto Rico. 

See the full list of funded projects: 


# Debtle wins $20,000, while Vaia, Investii earn funding in Summerfest Tech pitch competition

# Madison’s DotCom Therapy scores $13M for virtual counseling for kids

# Milwaukee Venture Partners invests in Cincinnati blockchain real estate investing startup



– Crop insurance deadline nears for Wisconsin producers


– Milwaukee teachers union supports potential vaccine mandate for MPS teachers


– DNR asking hunters to help slow the spread of CWD

– Lake Superior hits average water levels for the first time in 7 years


– Dane County indoor mask mandate to curb COVID-19 extended until Oct. 8


– Harley-Davidson dealers report success with Hometown Rally, which will return in 2022


– Bucyrus Foundation commits $10 million to South Milwaukee initiatives


– DNR won’t participate in meeting amidst appointee fight

– Democrats push bill to make Wisconsin wolf hunt optional


– Bill would give Wisconsin housing authorities power to develop mixed-use projects


– Milwaukee-area Save A Lot stores purchased by Cleveland firm


– NBA title, plaza crowds have Milwaukee Bucks rethinking Deer District plans


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

WWDA: Register today for members-only briefing on how to position your organization for workforce funding

UW-Madison: Nearby forest loss predicts future deforestation on protected lands

Wisconsin Technology Council: ‘WisBiz: The Show’ features Karen Renee of eCourt Reporters, tech metrics, coming events