The Ideadvance Seed Fundis awarding five area businesses with Small Business Innovation grants and Partnered Innovation grants. The Ideadvance program helps companies that want to advance a scalable, profitable business model. Grant dollars are earned after demonstrating a move toward commercialization. Awardees are supported by a teaching team, mentors and the program manager as they work through the Ideadvance Lean Startup program. Businesses that receive a Small Business Innovations grant get $15,000. Those that receive a Partnered Innovation grant get $25,000. There is also a “stage two” Partnered Innovation grant for more advanced businesses. Stage two grants include $30,000 in funding. This year’s recipients include:
Plymouth-based Get to Gather, LLC ($15,000): The company is a social networking and adventure community platform that makes building diverse social connections organic and easy.
Mount Pleasant-based FreeStyle Peppers ($15,000): The company makes chile, roasted garlic, extra virgin olive oil and sun-dried tomato medleys to be used in cooking or as a condiment.
Brookfield-based Sabhya Technologies ($15,000): This software consulting firm seeks to automate data entry to boost productivity.
Brookfield-based Stratf, LLC ($30,000): The company’s flagship product Unytus provides culturally responsive curriculum and tools embedded into English Language Arts. It also recently took home the Jendusa/UWM Lubar Entrepreneurship Award on Project Pitch It.
“Ideadvance’s evolution toward a statewide approach of fostering innovation in existing businesses allows applicants to seek out partners in the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Dr. Idella Yamben, Ideadvance program manager. “These developing connections and broadened eligibility allow for recovering and growing businesses to pursue riskier ideas. This cohort represents diverse ideas from across the state, including a returning innovator.” Since 2014, Ideadvance — a partnership between the UW System’s Center for Technology Commercialization (CTC) and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) — has awarded $2.85 million in grants to 79 distinct companies.