It is refreshing to see a bipartisan group of state legislators joining forces to hear new ideas about technology and innovation in the State of Wisconsin. Historically, the state has lagged behind our Midwestern peers in creating a sustainable innovation ecosystem for technology companies to launch, grow and thrive. As members of the newly formed Wisconsin Tech Caucus, Sen. Dan Feyen (R-Fond du Lac), and Sen. Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville); and Rep. Mike Kuglitsch (R-New Berlin), and Rep. Jason Fields (D-Milwaukee), will periodically convene with like-minded, bipartisan lawmakers to hear about emerging issues in Wisconsin’s tech sector.
The caucus has their work cut out for them when it comes to building a tech-friendly environment that cultivates the strong innovation ecosystems that already exist in other Midwestern states like Indiana, Minnesota and Ohio. If they focus on these core issues, Wisconsin’s economy might have to chance to rival its counterparts:
Incentivize more early stage investment with a flexible tax credit structure and public/private partnerships.
Improve tech transfer out of our state universities by supporting academic entrepreneurs.
Proactively grow tech workforce with relocation income tax credits and investment in re-skilling.
Invest in K-16 programming to encourage entrepreneurship in traditionally underrepresented populations.
Overall, it’s exciting to see a growing interest in tech policy in Wisconsin. On November 11th, several hundred will attend a discussion on Advocating for Wisconsin’s Startup Founders. Tech startup founders and investors from around Wisconsin including Amanda DoAmaral, founder & CEO of Fiveable (Milwaukee), Lydia Zeller, CEO of Kiio (Madison), and former Milwaukee County Executive, Chris Abele, will share their ideas for growing our state’s tech ecosystem. I look forward to seeing the Wisconsin Tech Caucus in action and hope to see everyone at Startup Wisconsin Week – the state’s largest tech entrepreneurship event, Nov. 11 – 18.
Matt Cordio is a technology entrepreneur and founder of Skills Pipeline and Startup Wisconsin.