WEDC doles out grants to Milwaukee startups

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and the University of Wisconsin-Extension Center for Technology Commercialization have awarded grants from the Ideadvance Seed Fund to 11 startups, including seven from the Milwaukee area.


The grantees, who will receive up to $25,000 each, include: BioMass Builders, based at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Intelligent Composites, UW-Milwaukee; Isopoint Technologies, UWM; Mesmer, UWM; Sleep Environment Innovations, UWM; OptSolv, UW-Whitewater; and Mobile Transit Solutions, UW-Parkside.

The first round of grants was announced in May. There are now 23 groups receiving grants from the $2 million Ideadvance Seed Fund, as well as Lean startup training and business mentoring services. The goal is to bring the ideas and technologies developed at UW campuses to market.

Entrepreneurs are eligible for another $50,000 in stage two funding beginning in December, after they complete the first stage of Ideadvance activities.

“There is no question that innovation is taking place at UW campuses throughout the state,” said Gov. Scott Walker. “One of the unique aspects of Ideadvance is that it provides students, faculty and staff at campuses outside of Madison with the training and additional resources they need to help to turn those great ideas into job-creating companies.”

“Ideadvance provides a forum for our UW entrepreneurs to explore ideas and overcome commercialization challenges,” said Mark Lange, executive director of the UW-Extension Division of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development.  “Ideadvance helps them identify critical business questions and work through those challenges early. We see that happening among the first cohort of 12 grant recipients that we announced in May.”

A third round of stage one funding will be available in October. Interested UW students, faculty and staff can apply by contacting Idella Yamben at

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