Wisconsin business leaders form consortium seeking regional tech hub designation, funding

Wisconsin has all of the working parts necessary to become a regional tech hub focused on biohealth – at least that’s what 15 state business leaders are betting on.

Earlier this month, a consortium of 15 public and private partners submitted an application to the federal Economic Development Administration to pursue the designation of a regional tech hub. The consortium aims to gather stakeholders around a strategy to leverage Wisconsin’s momentum in biohealth technology and to develop and facilitate a shared initiative.

The tech hub initiative is part of the CHIPS and Science Act. The idea to include this initiative within the CHIPS and Science Act was spurred by a Brookings Institution study,  which stated that cities in and immediately near Wisconsin are highly rated as having the necessary assets to become a tech hub.

“The tech hub application that was sent in earlier this month is really a collaboration between 15 private and public entities that understand if they work together, we have a real capacity to bring things from the lab and the research stage to commercialization,” said Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin. “It would really change health and well-being globally.”

Members of the consortium include the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., the University of Wisconsin System administration, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, GE HealthCare, Rockwell Automation, Exact Sciences, BioForward Wisconsin, Employ Milwaukee, Accuray, Plexus, WRTP Big Step, MATC, Madison Area Technical College, MadREP and Milwaukee7.

During a tour of the company’s lab spaces Wednesday, Baldwin touted Milwaukee-based Rockwell Automation as a key business within the consortium that will be able to help other entities scale and commercialize their innovations.

“We provide the super power,” said Blake Moret, chief executive officer at Rockwell Automation. “We’re not going to come up with the new processes ourselves. We’re going to help them (consortium members) with that.”

In a few months’ time, the consortium hopes to receive an official designation from the government as a regional tech hub. This would garner an initial $15 million investment. The first phase of funding will be used for further strategic development. Phase two could see up to additional $35 to $50 million investment.

Read more at the BizTimes.

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