M-WERC receives WEDC grant for technology innovation program

The Mid-West Energy Research Consortium has received a $350,000 grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. to create an immersive technology innovation program.

The grant, part of the WEDC’s Seed Accelerator program, is in addition to the $850,000 the public-private state entity has provided to M-WERC’s Energy Innovation Center since it was launched.

The new program, called WERCBench Labs, will accept up to 15 startup companies to build products and scale their businesses during a program that will run from June 8 to August 27 at the M-WERC Energy Innovation Center at Century City Tower in Milwaukee.

A group of more than 60 highly experienced and technical mentors will provide assistance, and participants will also have access to high performance computing, rapid prototyping and small scale production equipment.

“Participants in this program will also have access to both the corporate and academic members of M-WERC,” said Alan Perlstein, executive director and chief executive officer of M-WERC.

“WERCBench Labs is a great example of how M-WERC will utilize the Energy Innovation Center as it continues to play a leadership role in the continued growth of Wisconsin’s energy, power and control sector,” said Reed Hall, secretary and CEO of WEDC. “This program will spur innovation by providing entrepreneurs with the kind of environment needed to develop new ideas as well as an opportunity to work side by side with their peers and experienced mentors in the energy industry.”

“Having worked with a number of start-ups and accelerators around the world, the combination of Steve Blank’s lean start-up curriculum, as well as the team of engineers and technical professionals serving as mentors, truly differentiates WERCBench Labs,” said Greg Meier, who will serve as managing director of WERCBench Labs. “Our goal is to attract inventors to come to Milwaukee this summer to jump-start innovative technologies, transition prototype products to the commercial stage and nurture startup companies.”

Applications will be accepted until May 29, and will be accepted on a rolling basis. More information is available at www.wercbench.com.

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