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Extra! Extra! Read all about it. If the Greater Madison Area Chamber of Commerce is talking about it, you’ll see it here.

Photo by Richard Hurd

Eugenia Podestá of Synergy Coworking to Receive Chamber’s 2022 Ground Floor Award for Small Business Leadership

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (April 6, 2022)

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

Eugenia Podestá of Synergy Coworking to Receive Chamber’s 2022 Ground Floor Award for Small Business Leadership
Award to be presented at IceBreaker on April 13

MADISON – The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce announced today that Eugenia Podestá, co-founder of Synergy Coworking, will receive the Chamber’s 2022 Ground Floor Award for Small Business Leadership.

The award, which recognizes true champions for small business both within their business and in the community, will be presented during the Chamber’s sold-out IceBreaker event April 13 at the Kohl Center. Previous recipients include Jim Garner of Sergenian’s Floor Coverings, Susan Bulgrin of Culver’s on Todd Drive and Echo Tap & Grill, Jeff “JP” Patterson of JP Hair Design and Mark Schmitz of ZEBRADOG.

“Eugenia is an innovator and collaborator who has supported so many small business leaders in Greater Madison,” said Chamber President Zach Brandon. “Her commitment to empowering women business leaders and making our region the best place for entrepreneurs of color exemplifies why she is the perfect choice for this prestigious honor.”

At Synergy Coworking, Podestá spearheads and supports inclusive economic empowerment and leadership initiatives and collaborations. Born in Peru and raised in Madison, she is a social entrepreneur and global connector dedicated to equity through access, creating space and opportunities for women and Black and brown leaders at the intersection of business, leadership and community.

Podestá is also Senior Director of Leadership and Social Impact at Vital Voices Global Partnership, an international women’s leadership nonprofit in Washington, D.C. that invests in women leaders who are taking on the world’s greatest challenges. There, she oversees programs including the Google Impact Challenge and the VV GROW Fellowship, a reputable global one-year accelerator for women-owned small- and medium-sized enterprises. She also serves on various boards to advance economic development and support underserved communities in Madison including Dane Arts Mural Arts, Wisconsin Latino Chamber of Commerce, Madison Community Foundation and UW–Madison Center for Community and Nonprofit Studies.

“I am honored to be chosen as this year’s recipient of the Ground Floor Award,” said Podestá. “I share this award with my partner, Spencer Hudson, our family and all our members and supporters over the years for helping us realize this vision. We are committed to supporting Greater Madison’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by addressing systemic barriers and providing needed opportunities and a supportive, inclusive space.”

In addition to the presentation of the Ground Floor Award, IceBreaker will also bring together more 750 business and community leaders to collectively recalibrate our thinking on the future Greater Madison needs. Featured speakers are Maggie Anderson, CEO of The Empowerment Experiment and author of Our Black Year: One Family’s Quest to Buy Black in America’s Racially Divided Economy; and Alondra Fernandez, a UW–Madison researcher, UW-Green Bay graduate and Dreamer, having participated in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

For media access to IceBreaker and any questions about media accommodations or interview requests, please contact Erik Greenfield at 608-669-7884 or erik@madisonbiz.com. 

About the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce:
The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business with more than 1,200 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 madisonbiz.com.

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Photo by Richard Hurd

Talent Shortages, Higher Operating Costs Top Concerns in Fall Business Survey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Dec. 2, 2021)

Contact: Erik Greenfield, Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, 608-669-7884
Rob Gard, Destination Madison, 608-441-3958
Camille Carter, Madison Black Chamber of Commerce, 608-729-1238
Jessica Cavazos, Latino Chamber of Commerce, 608-712-3522
Jason Ilstrup, Downtown Madison, Inc., 608-512-1330

Talent Shortages, Higher Operating Costs Top Concerns in Fall Business Survey
Fourth community partners survey, of 305 Greater Madison businesses, shows signs of optimism as confidence grows and vaccines become more widely available

MADISON – Today the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce; Destination Madison; Downtown Madison, Inc.; Madison Black Chamber of Commerce and Latino Chamber of Commerce released the results of a Fall 2021 Business Survey, which yielded responses from 305 Greater Madison businesses representing a diverse, mostly small or locally owned, cross-section of industries, as well as a significant percentage of women- and minority-owned businesses. The survey was conducted in partnership with the DeForest Windsor Area Chamber of Commerce, Fitchburg Chamber Visitor + Business Bureau, Middleton Chamber of Commerce and Verona Area Chamber of Commerce.

Among the survey’s key findings are:

  • The two largest barriers to local businesses are related to global challenges: 65 percent (up from 32 percent in Spring 2021) rated access to talent as a top barrier to their business, closely followed by increased operating costs at 59 percent (up from 43 percent);
  • The next two largest barriers to local businesses were related to local factors: government regulations (34 percent) and lack of clarity in local government reopening plans (30 percent);
  • 24 percent expanded their workforce in 2021, while an additional 30 percent wanted to expand but weren’t able to due to talent shortages;
  • 65 percent experienced revenue growth in 2021, though the 24 percent that reported revenue losses were disproportionately small businesses;
  • 78 percent have a workforce that is at least three-quarters fully vaccinated, which exceeds Dane County’s overall rate;
  • Among for-profit businesses, opinions on the Dane County indoor mask requirement are split, with 44 percent in favor and 44 percent opposed;
  • Among those that said the mask requirement has impacted their business positively or negatively, 71 percent said it has hurt their business;
  • The most common local spending reductions were on meetings and events (57 percent), entertainment (49 percent), restaurants (40 percent), catering (34 percent) and hotels (25 percent);
  • 66 percent said none of their employees are working fully remotely, up from 45 percent in Spring 2021 and nearing pre-pandemic levels, demonstrating that while remote work may increase, businesses continue to see value in returning to in-person work;
  • 35 percent rate Dane County’s business climate as above average or excellent, up from 18 percent in Spring 2021, but down significantly from the 81 percent of Fall 2020 survey respondents who rated Dane County’s pre-pandemic business climate as above average or excellent; and
  • 28 percent rate local elected officials’ performance during the pandemic as above average or excellent (unchanged from Spring 2021).

“From talent shortages to a need for greater clarity on the path forward, there are factors both global and local that present challenges on the way to recovery,” said Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce President Zach Brandon. “However, with a wider availability of vaccines, consumer confidence on the rise, and many businesses experiencing revenue growth or looking to expand their workforce, there are reasons for optimism heading into 2022.”

“The hospitality industry was hit hardest by the pandemic and continues to be impacted the most as our local business economy works its way through recovery. We encourage Dane County businesses and organizations to hold meetings and events locally in 2022 to help our caterers, hotels and restaurants rebound from their devastating losses of the past two years,” said Ellie Westman Chin, President & CEO of Destination Madison.

“Support for small businesses remains a significant challenge, particularly as many business assistance programs are no longer a viable option,” said Madison Black Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Camille Carter. “While there are bright spots emerging in our economy and some businesses are on the road to recovery, there is still work ahead.”

“While there are encouraging data points, there are also many challenges as we continue to recover from this pandemic,” said Latino Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jessica Cavazos. “Inclusive public- and private-sector partnerships that incorporate diverse voices are essential as we learn more about these barriers and look onward for solutions.”

“The latest survey provides some glimmers of hope for downtown Madison, including higher consumer confidence, increased local spending and more people returning to their offices,” said Jason Ilstrup, President of Downtown Madison, Inc. “Yet, downtown still has challenges with remaining COVID concerns and heightened barriers to business like access to talent and increased operating costs.”

Among the 305 unique businesses that responded, 80 percent have 50 or fewer employees, 90 percent are headquartered in Dane County, 74 percent have locations only in Dane County, 22 percent are owned or led by an individual who is non-white, and 49 percent are owned or led by someone who identified as a gender other than male.

This is the fourth survey conducted since the beginning of the pandemic to collect information regarding current business operations, challenges and potential opportunities. The results of the Fall 2021 survey will be used to inform policymakers through advocacy efforts aimed at balancing the needs of health, the economy and public confidence.

Topline survey results are available upon request by emailing Erik Greenfield at erik@madisonbiz.com.

About the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce: 
The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business with more than 1,200 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 madisonbiz.com.

About Destination Madison:
Destination Madison is honored to play a key role in supporting the thousands of Dane County jobs supported by tourism. Promoting tourism in Madison since 1972, Destination Madison continues to work strategically to expand upon the more than $1.4 billion generated by visitor spending in Dane Country in 2019. For the most up-to-date information, visit our website at visitmadison.com.

About the Madison Black Chamber of Commerce:
The Madison Black Chamber of Commerce is a group of community members working to empower African American/Black people to cultivate and expand entrepreneurship. We believe that Black-owned businesses contribute significantly to the economic well-being of Madison. Learn more at madisonblackchamber.com.

About the Latino Chamber of Commerce:
Founded in 2003, the Latino Chamber of Commerce represents the Latino and non-Latino business community in the Greater Madison area and surrounding cities. We assist and promote the interests of our members and community through advocacy and programs that make an overall impact to Dane County’s economic growth. The diverse relationship of our active members and partners is an ideal mixture of small business owners, corporate representatives and government leaders. Learn more at lccwi.org.

About Downtown Madison, Inc.:
Downtown Madison, Inc. (DMI) is committed to sustaining, planning for, and growing downtown Madison as a vibrant regional economic engine that offers a best-in-class quality of life for businesses, downtown workers, residents and visitors. Learn more at downtownmadison.org.

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Photo by Richard Hurd

Madison Named 2021 Best Place to Live by Livability.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Oct. 12, 2021)

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

Madison Named 2021 Best Place to Live by Livability.com
Ranking again highlights Greater Madison as the place to make a career, life and difference

MADISON – Today, Livability.com released its list of the 2021 Top 100 Best Places to Live, with Madison being named number one. Madison has steadily climbed the Livability rankings over the past few years, having placed third in 2020 and 2019, seventh in 2018 and eighth in 2017.

In giving Madison the top spot, Livability.com cited the city’s high rate of employment, resilient economy and opportunities for recent graduates and retirees alike, among other factors. They also mentioned Madison’s architecture and natural beauty, including lakes and more than 200 miles of hiking and biking trails. Recent studies and analysis from Brookings Institution, Moody’s Analytics, Bloomberg, LinkedIn, U-Haul and the National Association of Realtors have all highlighted Greater Madison as an economic bright spot during the pandemic.

“As millions of Americans consider their next move, particularly with remote work allowing for more flexibility, these rankings are helpful validators to the many opportunities we have here. The Livability ranking is further confirmation that Greater Madison is the place to be as we accelerate toward recovery,” said Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce President Zach Brandon. “With the nation’s most sector-diverse economy, locally built companies exporting global solutions, an intentionality toward being a more just place, a wide variety of food and cultural attractions, and countless opportunities to drive positive change, this is truly the community where you can make a career, make a life and make a difference.”

To help tell that collective story during the pandemic and beyond, this year the Chamber launched Meet-Madison.com, a website and virtual reality platform developed to provide a virtual experience for online visitors to explore Greater Madison. Meet-Madison.com is the culmination of years of work in branding and talent recruitment, and it provides community access to a state-of-the-art VR platform that enables companies to make the Greater Madison experience portable and accessible to prospects all over the world.

Livability analyzed more than 1,000 small to mid-sized cities on factors including safety, affordability, economic stability, outdoor recreation, accessibility and community engagement. Respondents were asked if they could work from anywhere, which factors would be most heavily considered when choosing to relocate and how housing needs and priorities have changed since the beginning of the pandemic.

See the full 2021 list here.

About the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce:
The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business with more than 1,200 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 madisonbiz.com.

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Photo by Richard Hurd

Statement from Chamber President on the Resignation of Chancellor Blank

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Oct. 11, 2021)

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

Statement from Chamber President on the Resignation of Chancellor Blank

MADISON – Today, UW–Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank announced that she is stepping down, effective at the end of this academic year, to become president of Northwestern University. In response, Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce President Zach Brandon released the following statement:

“For more than eight years, Chancellor Blank has served our state’s flagship university exceptionally and effectively while ensuring students were well-positioned to succeed in a rapidly changing economy. As an economist and former U.S. Commerce Secretary, she brought tremendous insight to understanding and engaging with the business community. As a fierce advocate for research, she also supported innovation both on and off campus, ensuring Greater Madison grows as a place that solves global challenges for years to come.

“In particular, I have gotten to know Chancellor Blank as a member of the Chamber board, where her expertise, thoughtfulness and passion for the university and our region were admired and earned the unending respect and gratitude of her colleagues. We wish her all the best in her next chapter.”

About the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce:
The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business with more than 1,200 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 madisonbiz.com.

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Photo by Richard Hurd

Chamber Announces 2021 Pressure Chamber Finalists

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Aug. 2, 2021)

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

Chamber Announces 2021 Pressure Chamber Finalists
Five top emerging companies to compete Aug. 18 for opportunity to pitch Silicon Valley investment firms this fall

MADISON – Today the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce announced the five finalists competing in this year’s Pressure Chamber startup initiative, which returns, in-person, on Aug. 18 during Forward Festival, Wisconsin’s largest technology and entrepreneurship festival.

At Pressure Chamber, emerging companies will pitch to national investors, business executives and a live audience. The winning company receives the coveted “golden suitcase,” representing a reserved spot in the Chamber’s exclusive Greater Madison startup meetings with top Silicon Valley investment firms this fall.

The 2021 Pressure Chamber finalists are:

  • Advocate MD (Madison) – A membership-based primary care model offering personalized patient-centered care for an affordable monthly fee, including comprehensive Family Medicine that allows patients to be informed healthcare consumers in a relationship-based, rather than transaction-based, healthcare environment.
  • eCIO (Madison) – A fintech firm revolutionizing the way investment services are delivered, featuring a virtual eVestech platform that allows financial advisors to efficiently and effectively communicate by bringing together video conferencing, video messaging, document management, email, voting and meeting management in one secure, cloud-based portal.
  • Mobile22 (Madison) – A community-centric Shared Mobility Platform seamlessly interconnecting businesses, riders, ride share and car share providers through a frictionless, consistent and reliable marketplace.
  • Nano RED (Madison) – A builder of precision medicine platforms with the capability to prevent and treat SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) and fundamentally change the treatment of respiratory viral illnesses, including influenza and the common cold, while also developing an entirely new way to power the next generation of genomic medicine, with implications in the treatment of cancers and genetic disease.
  • Pivotal Health (Middleton) – A scalable platform to deliver high-quality healthcare when and where consumers need it.

“From innovations in how we treat and care for people, to how we better collaborate, provide services and build the transportation system of tomorrow, this year’s Pressure Chamber finalists are a perfect illustration of the many global challenges being solved right here in Greater Madison,” said Chamber President Zach Brandon. “We look forward to their pitches, hearing their remarkable stories and ultimately helping them connect with potential investors.”

Past Pressure Chamber winners have 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. Collectively, participating Pressure Chamber companies have gone on to raise more than $500 million from investors.

To register for Pressure Chamber, visit madisonbiz.com/pressure-chamber.

Pressure Chamber is presented by the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce and 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, Rock River Capital Partners, and Reception Sponsor Fetch Rewards.

Pressure Chamber finalists are available for interviews upon request.

For more information about Forward Fest, visit forwardfest.org.

About the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce:
The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business with more than 1,200 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 madisonbiz.com.

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