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Category: Chamber Updates

Our members are shaking things up. The entrepreneurial spirit in our community means our members are always looking for ways to grow and improve their businesses. Keep up with the movers and shakers to see what they’ve been up to lately.

Photo by Richard Hurd

M3’s 2017 Health Benefits Trend Report Released

M3 has released the M3 2017 Health Care Trend Report. This is an annual publication highlighting the position of health insurance costs and plan designs throughout the state of Wisconsin. The report contains data collected from M3 clients across a variety of industries, sectors, sizes and markets.

The information within the report provides private and public sector organizations with a benchmark to compare their own employee benefit plan types, costs, deductibles, co-payments, and more, with the rest of the state. The report includes insight as to how employers are using benefit plan design to keep costs down, as well as how different size employers are proceeding through the current marketplace.

According to this year’s report, health plan premiums experienced a 7.7% growth change over the last year. This is the highest rate of change since 2011.

If you’d like to have a discussion on specific report findings in relation to your organization, contact your M3 Account Executive. Hard copies of the report are available upon request.


About M3

M3 Insurance offers insight, advice and strategies to help clients manage risk, purchase insurance and provide employee benefits. We are committed to being experts in both the products we represent and the industries we serve. Our people advance M3’s competitive advantage in the marketplace, and our focus on community builds better places to live and work. M3 is consistently ranked a top 100 broker in America.

Photo by Richard Hurd

Economic Empowerment of Women in Business in Wisconsin to be the Focus for Inaugural Event

Madison, WI – On Tuesday, November 14, 2017, women leaders in tech, business, science, non-profit, and education will come together to celebrate, empower and support each other at Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (WEDWisconsin). The conference will be held at Monona Terrace.  It is part of a week long celebration culminating in the global recognition of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day on November 19th.

Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (WED) ignites women leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs to initiate startups, drive economic expansion, and advance communities worldwide. The flagship United Nations event is live-streamed and celebrated in 144 countries and by 110 universities/colleges internationally. This is the first time the event will happen in Wisconsin.

“I attended WED last year at the United Nations and knew it was something we needed to make happen in Wisconsin. We will be the first state outside of New York to host a day long event but we will be joining women from Kenya to Egypt, all across Europe and around the world helping to eliminate poverty and providing hope and opportunity.” explained Laura Gallagher, WEDWisconsin Ambassador and Chair.

Women in the U.S. are now starting businesses at twice the rate of men. Between 2007 and 2016, the number of women-owned firms increased by 45%, compared to just a 9% increase among all businesses according to American Express Open’s research. Therefore, over the past nine years, the number of women-owned firms has grown at a rate fully five times faster than the national average.

At the WEDWisconsin conference, attendees will:

  • Learn from entrepreneurial greats about the triumphs and trials of being a business owner.
  • Enjoy high-value content and unique social experiences, with a focus on authentic relationship building.
  • Participate in a live “think tank” where entrepreneurs are pulled from the crowd to share a challenge they are facing that is then turned over to the tables to solve.
  • Hear real stories about funding.
  • Connect with countless other business owners and those who support them.
  • Grow as a leader.
  • Be inspired.
  • Be a part of making history here in Wisconsin.

The WEDWisconsin Advisory board includes women in various fields with diverse backgrounds and experiences. From technology to the sciences, education to social good initiatives, from start-ups to businesses that are expanding, the board is made up of leaders who are familiar with entrepreneurship eco-systems, education and policy creation that will help women in business to thrive.

For more information please visit  WEDWisconsin.

About Laura Gallagher, Ambassador and Chairman of the Board for WEDWisconsin

Laura Gallagher is a community, local and national business leader serving successful entrepreneurial companies and nonprofit organizations primarily in Wisconsin. In 2016, she was recognized by the Governor as a Trailblazer in Wisconsin. She is the founder and CEO of The Creative Company and is a 2017 Alumni of Babson College’s 10,000 Businesses Program with a Certificate of Entrepreneurship and a 2016 graduate of Harvard Professor Michael Porter’s Initiative for a Competitive Inner City.

The Creative Company is certified by the State of Wisconsin as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise.

About Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (WED) is the world’s largest entrepreneurial and financial empowerment initiative dedicated to celebrating, supporting and empowering women worldwide. WED encourages four billion women worldwide to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams, with the goal of bringing hope alleviating poverty.

WED is committed to gathering a think tank of inspiring women leaders who will amplify our message of expanding businesses with social good initiatives in communities around the world.

Photo by Richard Hurd

Packers and WPS Health Solutions present ‘Operation Fan Mail’ for 2017

GREEN BAY, Wis.—Aug. 3, 2017—Operation Fan Mail, the program that recognizes military families at each Packers home game, will mark its 11th season in 2017, and the ninth year it has been presented by WPS Health Solutions or its affiliates.

The program, which debuted in 2007, is designed to honor families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and WPS Health Solutions will host a family at each 2017 home game and recognize the members on the field during pregame activities. A total of 99 families have been saluted during the past nine seasons.

“We are proud to salute military families through Operation Fan Mail for the 11th year,” said Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy. “So many remarkable men and women and their families make tremendous sacrifices for our country each day, and we’re honored to have the opportunity to recognize them at Lambeau Field alongside our fans.”

“For the ninth consecutive year, WPS Health Solutions is privileged to join the Green Bay Packers in saluting outstanding military personnel and their families through the Operation Fan Mail program,” said WPS President and CEO Mike Hamerlik. “Their selfless dedication to our nation is an inspiration to all of us, and we thank them.”

The Packers and WPS Health Solutions are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular family should be saluted.

Essays can be sent to Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628 or online at

Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling. Purple Heart recipients are also eligible for recognition, even if they cannot return to active service status.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families will receive four tickets to the game and a $150 Packers Pro Shop gift card courtesy of WPS Health Solutions.

About WPS Health Solutions

WPS Health Solutions is a nationally regarded government contractor and a leading Wisconsin not-for-profit health insurer. The WPS Health Insurance division offers affordable health plans and benefits administration. The WPS Government Health Administrators division administers Part A and B Medicare benefits for millions of seniors in multiple states, and the WPS Military and Veterans Health division serves millions more members who are active in the U.S. military, veterans and their families. In 2017, the international Ethisphere® Institute named WPS one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies® for the eighth straight year. For more information, please visit

Photo by Richard Hurd

Chamber Announces Pressure Chamber Finalists


Contact: Erik Greenfield, Communications Manager, 608-443-1952 (office), 608-669-7884 (cell)

MADISON – Today the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce announced the five finalists competing in this year’s Pressure Chamber startup pitch event, which will take place Aug. 21 at the Overture Center during the Forward Festival, an eight-day celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation in Madison. In its three years, participating Pressure Chamber companies have gone on to raise more than $105 million from investors.

Pressure Chamber is a “Shark Tank”-style contest in which emerging companies will pitch in front of a panel of regional investors, business executives and a live audience. The winning company is decided based on a combination of judges’ scoring and audience votes.

The 2017 Pressure Chamber finalists are:

  • Cardigan – The business card of the future, an app that enables you to more easily access, update and share your business card information with your connections.
  • Curate – Scans public meeting data using artificial intelligence (AI) to identify cutting-edge marketing intelligence for construction firms and vendors, including early, reliable information about new manufacturing facilities, wastewater plant upgrades and renovations to city hall.
  • DotCom Therapy – Answers the shortage of speech-language pathologists by providing therapy services to children across the country and around the world through live videoconferencing.
  • SimpleMachines – Combines big-data analytics, AI and unstructured data processing into one chip and software framework to develop next-generation programmable chips for the AI era initially targeting the multi-billion data center industry.
  • ThirdSpace – Software to help solve core business problems around employee engagement, onboarding and capturing workplace knowledge, all while delivering “Epic culture.”

“With talented startups like these dedicated to solving global challenges, the future of Greater Madison business looks very bright,” said Chamber President Zach Brandon. “These companies are great examples of the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit that are flourishing in our region, and we are excited to see what they have in store at Pressure Chamber.”

In addition to receiving the coveted “golden suitcase,” the winning company will also receive an all-expenses paid spot on the Chamber’s exclusive Madison-area startup delegation to San Francisco this October for meetings with top Silicon Valley investment firms. In its first three years, each Pressure Chamber winner – Fishidy, bluDiagnostics and POLCO – has credited the initiative for helping their company close successful funding rounds. Additionally, Pressure Chamber has been recognized by both the International Economic Development Council and Steve Case’s Rise of the Rest Summit as an entrepreneurship and economic development best practice.

Pressure Chamber returns this year as part of neXXpo, a showcase of some of Greater Madison’s most exciting companies that includes attendee voting for the second annual Most Innovative Company (MIC) award. To register for these events, visit

Pressure Chamber is presented by Michael Best & Friedrich, with support from the State of Wisconsin Investment Board, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, American Family Ventures, Baird Capital, 4490 Ventures, HealthX Ventures, Lindsay Stone & Briggs, Rock River Capital Partners and Wisconsin Investment Partners.

Pressure Chamber finalists are available for interviews upon request.

For more information about Forward Fest, please visit

About the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce:
The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business with nearly 1,300 organizations – ranging from one-person shops to corporations with more than 10,000 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


Photo by Richard Hurd

Youth Apprenticeship Interview Fair – Participating Companies

The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce thanks the following companies for participating in the 2017 Madison Metropolitan School District Youth Apprenticeship Mentor Training & Interview Fair:

American Family Insurance
Attic Angel Community
Bell Laboratories
Capitol Mechanical
Cellular Dynamics International
Covance, Inc.
CUNA Mutual Group
Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott
Functional Wellness and Chiropractic Center, LLC
Hottmann Construction
Madison College
North Central Group
Oak Park Place
QBE North America
Senior Helpers
Sheraton Madison Hotel
Strang, Inc.
UW Health
Wisconsin & Southern Railroad
Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development
Zimbrick, Inc.