Students, faculty and staff across the University of Wisconsin System may have an easier time commercializing ideas and technologies under a new effort by the UW System and the state’s job creation agency, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
The new “Ideadvance” program, announced Thursday afternoon at the state Capitol, is designed to foster a more entrepreneurial community within the UW System, officials said.
Gov. Scott Walker said in a statement the Ideadvance Seed Fund will help those affiliated with UW System campuses to “bridge the gap” between the inception of an idea and its successful transformation into a lucrative business.
The two organizations partnered together to raise $2 million set aside in seed funding, which will be administered by UW-Extension. The program will provide applicants with up to $75,000 in grants and extensive advising on the development and commercialization of new ideas.
Mark Lange, executive director of the Entrepreneurship and Economic Development division at UW-Extension, said the dynamic entrepreneurial environment and vast resources available at UW-Madison — which recently launched its “Discovery to Product” program — are the primary source of inspiration behind the new grant program.
“The main objective of the program is to replicate the really cool entrepreneurial environment at UW-Madison and move this entrepreneurial ecosystem to other campuses,” Lange said.
Lange said UW-Madison students can apply for grants and participate in the new program if they partner with students at other UW System campuses, who are meant to be the primary beneficiaries.
Reed Hall, WEDC secretary and CEO, said in a statement the program “has the potential to create new businesses, foster economic development, retain UW System graduates in the state and improve the quality of Wisconsin products and services.”