Last updated on January 31st, 2022 at 02:25 pm
The MKE Tech Hub Coalition is one of a handful of local organizations seeking to increase the amount of tech workers in our region. The coalition’s newly released 2021 impact report highlights how much closer they are getting toward their ultimate goal: to inclusively double the tech workforce in southeastern Wisconsin.
“In 2021, we grew to (a) sustainable 110+ member organization, collaborating to grow the MKE Tech Ecosystem,” said Kathy Henrich, chief executive officer of the MKE Tech Hub Coalition. “Collectively, we multiply each other’s efforts and developed solutions that can scale.”
The coalition launched several initiatives in 2021, including ChooseMKETech.org, a website created to connect tech professionals to Milwaukee companies and highlight the opportunities within the local tech ecosystem. The launch of the website in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic was key. Data from an Indeed survey released in November of 2020 showed that 69% of tech workers were considering moving to improve their quality of life.
“This presents a unique opportunity to sell tech workers on the high quality of life that Milwaukee affords,” according to the impact report.
The impact report also shows that ChooseMKETech has had success. Several companies will build teams here in Milwaukee and 570 jobs have been committed to the region. Among those companies making these commitments are Fiserv, OpenGov, Experis-Manpower Group, Church Mutual Insurance, Dematic, GalaxE.Solutions and Dev10 Genesis10.
A Wisconsin Policy Forum report released in December showed that the Milwaukee area is still ranked behind several other Midwest metro areas in a handful of categories linked to innovation. One of those key categories was attracting venture capital. To help address this issue, MKE Tech Hub is also supporting current startup founders. Their FOR-M Incubator offers tech startups guidance and support. Over 200 founders have taken part in the incubator through four cohorts. Participants have earned $120,000 worth of WEDC grants and over 80 firms have been created due to the program.
Another program helping local startups is the Reverse Pitch MKE program, where entrepreneurs work with organizations to solve a known critical industry challenged. Past winners have raised $2.7 million in funding.
“Our entrepreneurial approach has been to build small, test and then scale,” Henrich said. “In 2021, we’d developed base assets and programs which are positioned to scale in 2022.”
MKE Tech Hub is also involved in several educational initiatives that expose students to possible careers in tech. Students from 27 different schools took part in the Summer Pre-Internship program, which gave them perspective on how technology is impacting all industries and future careers.