Join Login

Category: Public Policy News

Here you’ll find out who’s making the decisions shaping our community: Policy-makers are always busy creating new ways to advance the Madison region. Stay informed on the latest policies that may impact the way you do business.

Photo by Richard Hurd

Chamber Opposes Madison Proprietary Interest Proposal

A recent City of Madison proposal could have a dramatic impact on future development projects. If adopted, the ordinance could require – for instances where the city provides financial assistance for a project – that the recipient employer enter into a private agreement stating their employees’ preference as to whether they want to be represented by a labor organization for collective bargaining purposes. Examples of where the city has a proprietary interest include projects utilizing tax incremental financing, as well as other business grant and loan programs. The ordinance could apply to a project developer, contractor, subcontractor as well as potential tenants through the duration of the city’s involvement in the project. 

At a time when public and private sector leaders have worked to improve the city’s economic competitiveness, this proposal would be a significant step backwards.

The ordinance’s provisions include: 

  • Applicability to any loan or financial incentive of greater than $100,000
  •  “Recipient of City financial assistance” to mean any person, including that person’s subcontractors, successors, or tenants
  • Requirement that  the recipient of City financial assistance enter into a Proprietary Interest Protection Agreement for the duration of the City’s proprietary interest in the Development Project
  • Applicability of the Protection Agreement to any contract, subcontract, lease, sublease, management or operating agreement for the duration of the proprietary interest of the City in the Development Project 
  • An exemption for employers employing fewer than the equivalent of fifteen (15) full-time or part-time employees at the site of the development project.
  • Exemptions for any residential development project and any development project involving a historically designated building
  • An exemption for multi-tenant development projects built on a speculative basis.

Click here to view the full ordinance.                                                                             

The Chamber has communicated its opposition to the proposal at the City’s Board of Estimates and Economic Development Committee. Supporters have stated their intent to delay action for further review of the potential economic impact, and have also expressed their desire to work with stakeholders, including the Chamber, on these concerns.

Photo by Richard Hurd

Chamber Announces Madison Common Council Endorsements

MADISON – The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors announced today its endorsement decisions for Madison Common Council. With representation from some of Greater Madison’s most prominent – as well as emerging – companies, an endorsement from the Chamber Board signals a candidate’s strength on business issues and vision to grow Madison’s economy.

Chamber President Zach Brandon noted that the Spring Election will be an important instrument in determining the future course of Greater Madison’s economy.

“This is an important time in Madison’s history and we need to be sure our elected leaders are focused on helping us seize this unique moment and reach our fullest potential,” said Brandon. “We are energized and grateful to the many qualified and passionate individuals who are seeking to serve our city and support the growth of its diverse business community.”

The Chamber endorsed the following candidates for Madison Common Council:

District 1: Matt Brink District 9: Paul Skidmore District 14: John Strasser
District 3: Amanda Hall District 10: Maurice Cheeks District 17: Joe Clausius
District 5: Shiva Bidar-Sielaff District 11: Chris Schmidt District 18: Peng Her
District 7: Steve King District 12: Larry Palm District 19: Mark Clear
District 8: Zach Wood District 13: Sara Eskrich District 20: Matt Phair

 

While many of the candidates on the list are incumbents who received Chamber endorsements in previous elections, there are several new candidates that bring their own focused lens to economic development and business both within their respective districts and throughout the region. The Chamber did not endorse in every race. In some cases, no endorsement was made because more than one candidate met criteria for endorsement. A good example is District 16, where two candidates – Denise DeMarb and Tiffany Tobias – have a positive agenda for business and economic growth.

Similar to the 2013 Spring Election, the Chamber’s endorsement decisions closely mirror candidates endorsed by the Building Trades of South Central Wisconsin. Brandon was pleased by the positive statement the candidate alignment represents for the endorsed candidates.

“Both the Chamber and our friends at the Building and Construction Trades are focused on improving our economic competitiveness to support our unparalleled quality of life here in Madison,” said Brandon. “An endorsement by both the business community and private sector unions is truly a powerful statement that an individual is committed to help Madison’s employers and employees prosper.”

Attached is the press release from the Building and Construction Trades Council regarding their candidate endorsements.

 About the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce:
The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business with more than 1,300 organizations – ranging from one-person shops to corporations with more than 8,000 employees – working to bring the Greater Madison area to its full potential. The Greater Madison region is a leader in innovation. From cutting-edge technologies to distinctive retail shops to inventive services and products, our members vary greatly but are united by the region’s entrepreneurial spirit. More information can be found at greatermadisonchamber.com.

Contact: Gillean Kitchen, Director of Advocacy, at 608-443-1963

Click here for an electronic version of this press release.

###

Photo by Richard Hurd

Apply to Serve on Chamber Small Business Advisory Council

The Chamber’s Small Business Advisory Council (SBAC) will be adding new members in 2015. As an advisory committee to the Chamber Board of Directors and Mayor of Madison, the SBAC plays an important role in addressing topics important to small businesses throughout Greater Madison.

To learn more, contact Gillean Kitchen or submit an application today!

Photo by Richard Hurd

Chamber Announces Early-Stage Companies Joining Summer Delegation to Pitch Investors in Silicon Valley

MADISON – The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce announced the remaining early-stage companies joining the summer delegation to pitch in front of prominent venture capital firms in Silicon Valley. The four fast-growing businesses were selected by partner organizations and join Brian Jensen, president of Fishidy and winner of the inaugural Pressure Chamber, which debuted at neXXpo: Business in Fast Forward.

Trip participants include:

  • Catalyze – Customized healthcare apps with built in HIPPA security and data requirements
    Travis Good, MD, CEO and Co-founder
  • EatStreet – Mobile platform that aggregates a variety of local restaurants into a single source for delivery or takeout orders
    Matt Howard, CEO and Co-Founder
  • FishidyMap-based social platform for fishing aficionados of all levels
    Brian Jensen, President
  • MdotLabs – Mobile platform that analyzes big data to detect and block fraud of online advertising
    Paul Barford, Chief Scientist and Co-founder
  • Propeller Health – Wireless sensor that attaches to rescue inhalers and syncs with smart phones to track usage of inhaled medications for respiratory diseases such as asthma and COPD
    Mark Gehring, Co-Founder

“We are confident these five companies will leave a positive, lasting impression on Silicon Valley while gaining key connections and exposure at a critical time in the growth of their business.” said Chamber President Zach Brandon. “We are proud to be connecting the coast to a small sampling of the high-caliber innovation happening throughout Greater Madison.”

The delegation kicks off June 24 with a tour of the Facebook campus. Following the June 25 investor meetings, the Chamber will host a reception, sponsored by Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), which will include attendees from other Bay-area investors, entrepreneurs, and business leaders including organizations that have ties to Greater Madison such as Google, Zendesk and The Badger Entrepreneurship Forum.

“There is a remarkable story unfolding in Greater Madison and we are looking forward to sharing it in Silicon Valley just as we have in Austin at SXSW, the White House Business Roundtables and the Quebec City Conference to name a few,” said Brandon. “As with any great novel, our story keeps getting better knowing that the best is yet to come.”

The Chamber’s summer delegation is supported locally by Michael Best & Friedrich, State of Wisconsin Investment Board, 4490 Ventures, Kegonsa Capital Partners, Venture Investors, Lindsay Stone & Briggs, Accelerate Madison, Capital Entrepreneurs, Great Oaks Venture Capital and Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

About the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce:
The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business with more than 1,300 organizations – ranging from one-person shops to corporations with more than 7,000 employees – working to bring the Greater Madison area to its full potential. The Greater Madison region is a leader in innovation. From cutting-edge technologies to distinctive retail shops to inventive services and products, our members vary greatly but are united by the region’s entrepreneurial spirit. More information can be found at greatermadisonchamber.com.

Contact: Jo-ell Carson, Communications Director, at 608-443-1952 or 608-213-1799

Click here for a pdf version of the press release.

###

Photo by Richard Hurd

Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce Acquires Accelerate Madison

MADISON – Effective May 5, 2014, Accelerate Madison Inc. became a program of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce. Combining the two organizations creates more efficient and effective collaboration focused on identifying, accelerating and celebrating business in Greater Madison while retaining a separate voice to advance the strategic role of technology.

“One of the roles of the Chamber is to identify and support the business trends and clusters growing and developing in our ecosystem,” said David Wittwer, Chamber board chair, Accelerate Madison member and president and CEO of TDS. “With Dane County ranking in the top 10 in the U.S. for information technology job growth, it is clear that technology is a booming sector that needs our additional attention.”

Effective immediately, Accelerate Madison members become members of the Chamber. The Accelerate Madison brand will remain intact with separate communications, events and networking for those Chamber members with a higher-level interest in the tech sector.

“We created Accelerate Madison in 2001 because we saw a unique opportunity to advance the strategic role of digital technology in business growth, economic expansion and job creation,” said James Jackson, co-founder of Accelerate Madison and CEO of GoStrive. “The organization was critical to increasing the success and national visibility of Madison’s then-emerging tech sector. We’re proud to be part of the next phase of uniting technology and business leaders as Accelerate Madison takes an even larger role in the business community.”

A significant membership and events overlap currently exists with both organizations.

“This consolidation does not change the focus of the Chamber’s mission of Building a Greater Madison, it actually formalizes what was already happening in the business ecosystem,” said Chamber President Zach Brandon. “Existing Chamber members will now receive the additional opportunity to network and collaborate with tech entrepreneurs and learn firsthand how businesses of all sizes and sectors can benefit from each other.”

Brandon said the tech sector feeds new and existing businesses, create new jobs, grows new talent and develops community wealth in our region.

“A perfect example of innovation converging with talent, technology and tradition is the Constellation recently built on East Washington,” said Accelerate Madison Inc. Executive Director Mark Clear who will help guide the transition through 2014. “The Constellation – designed to house the talent being attracted by the tech sector – also secured Google to its second floor and provided opportunity for two respected and proven local entrepreneurs to open a novel coffee shop and Madison’s newest casual Asian restaurant.”

The Accelerate Madison board will remain intact and remain an important part of setting strategic direction as an advisory board to the Greater Madison Chamber board of directors.

“This consolidation takes two great organizations and makes them stronger and more unified in their mission to advance Greater Madison and showcase our innovative businesses to the rest of the world,” said Anne Ross, Accelerate Madison board member, managing partner at Foley & Lardner and Chamber member. “In today’s world, the distinctions between ‘technology companies’ and traditional businesses are becoming less relevant with every day that passes. Manufacturers, health care providers, insurance companies, and other major business sectors are heavily reliant on digital technology. This consolidation is just another step in our evolution as a business community.”

To celebrate the history of Accelerate Madison and its future with the Chamber, June 23, 2014 will be the first consolidated event. Watch for details about our event featuring Kaaren Hanson, Intuit’s vice president of design innovation. Hanson speaks nationally on Creating a Culture of Rapid Experimentation, and how businesses of all sizes and sectors should fall in love with problems, not solutions.

About the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce:
The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business with more than 1,300 organizations – ranging from one-person shops to corporations with more than 7,000 employees – working to bring the Greater Madison area to its full potential. The Greater Madison region is a leader in innovation. From cutting-edge technologies to distinctive retail shops to inventive services and products, our members vary greatly but are united by the region’s entrepreneurial spirit. More information can be found at greatermadisonchamber.com.

Click here for pdf version of the press release.

###