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

Local, Regional and National Investors Heat Up Pressure Chamber

MADISON – The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce announced a growing list of investors that will participate in Pressure Chamber, a new pitch contest for early-stage Madison-area companies. Pressure Chamber, a concept similar to ABC’s Shark Tank, launches April 8 at neXXpo: Business in Fast Forward at the Alliant Energy Center Exhibition Hall.

“The attention and support we have received from the global investment community is a validation of our region’s reputation as a place of innovation and a home for startups,” said Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce President Zach Brandon.

Pressure Chamber applicants will first be screened by contest partners, including local investors. The highest-rated candidates will then go on to the April 8 live pitch contest starting at 4 p.m. in front of a panel of judges that includes these respected regional and national investors:

The national exposure continues for the live contest winner, who will join a summer delegation with four other Madison-area startups to pitch representatives from a growing list of top Silicon Valley firms, including:

Pressure Chamber is supported locally by Michael Best & Friedrich, State of Wisconsin Investment Board, 4490 Ventures, Kegonsa Capital Partners, Venture Investors, Lindsay Stone & Briggs, Accelerate Madison and Capital Entrepreneurs.

“Access to prominent local, regional and national investment firms is a unique opportunity for our growing community of startups,” said Brandon. “We have the talent and now a visible platform to share our stories with the world.”

Companies have until March 10 to apply. To be eligible, the company must be located in Dane County and have raised at least $25,000 from private sources. The application and instructions for companies interested in competing in the Pressure Chamber along with tickets to be in the live voting audience can be found at greatermadisonchamber.com/programs-events/pressure-chamber/.

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

Letter to City of Madison alders opposing energy benchmarking ordinance

Dear Common Council member:

A recently introduced ordinance, Legistar #32255, would establish energy benchmarks for businesses in Madison that meet certain size requirements.  The Greater Madison Chamber Board supports efforts to educate businesses about ways to reduce their energy footprint but must oppose this ordinance.  Requiring businesses to annually report energy usage is cumbersome, costly and ineffective.  The energy analysis received will not provide information that isn’t already available to the business.

The ordinance requires commercial buildings of 15,000 square feet or larger and multi-family buildings with at least 35 dwelling units to annually report electric, gas and water usage on the EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager web page.  Every three years, the data must be certified by an energy service professional who is on the city’s approved credentials list.  Failure to comply will result in a daily forfeiture between $50 and $250.

Businesses know that finding ways to reduce energy costs saves them money and is good for the environment.  Implying otherwise is insulting.  Building improvements and equipment replacement can have significant costs which the business compares to potential energy savings and then determines what they can afford to do.

Instead of mandating business participation, the Chamber supports an educational effort similar to the Better Buildings Challenge being used by Milwaukee and other cities.   Milwaukee’s public and private sectors have joined the challenge and undertake retrofits and changes to reduce energy use, in some cases with incentives through the Milwaukee Energy Efficiency Program.  If Madison decided to participate in this type of program, the Chamber would be delighted to be an active partner in outreach to the business community.  Just as we were a supporting partner in the Clean Air Coalition, a voluntary public/private effort to help businesses and government reduce air emissions.

Education and partnership is the right path forward, not unnecessary mandates aimed at shaming businesses into making building and equipment improvements.

Please contact me if you would like to know more about the Chamber’s position or the ordinance.

Sincerely,

Delora

Delora Newton
Vice President, External Relations
Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce
615 E Washington Avenue
PO Box 71
Madison WI  53701-0071
608-443-1947 direct line
608-256-8348 general line
dnewton@greatermadisonchamber.com

Photo by Richard Hurd

Greater Madison Business Leaders Invited to White House to Give Local Perspective on National Issues

MADISON – On Dec. 9 Greater Madison business leaders attended a four-hour White House Business Council Briefing. The invitation to the briefing grew from strategic partnerships with the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, the White House Business Council and Business Forward.

“This was a unique opportunity for Chamber members large and small to deliver feedback from our local business community to the highest levels of the federal government,” said Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce President Zach Brandon. “The Greater Madison region was invited to the national stage to share our story. It is exactly where we want to be.”

The briefing included presentations from the U.S. Chief Information Officer, the Special Assistant to the President and Director of Private Sector Engagement, the Special Assistant to the President for Manufacturing Policy, the Senior Policy Director for Immigration and the Assistant Secretary for Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as well as other high level White House officials.

Chamber members attending the trip were:

  • Wayne Harris, President, 6AM Marketing
  • John Rainbolt, Senior Manager, Public Affairs, Alliant Energy
  • Jack Salzwedel, Chairman and CEO, American Family Mutual Insurance Co.
  • Scott Seymour, Vice President, Gov’t Affairs/Compliance, American Family Mutual Insurance Co.
  • Diane Ballweg, Vice President, Endres Manufacturing
  • Marsha Lindsay, CEO, Lindsay, Stone & Briggs, Inc.
  • Mary Turke, Office Managing Partner, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP
  • Zach Brandon, President, Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce

The briefing covered topics such as small business investment, the Affordable Care Act, tax reform, immigration, exports and more.

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 6,000 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, Madison businesses vary greatly but are united by the region’s entrepreneurial spirit. More information can be found at www.greatermadisonchamber.com.

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

###

Click here for pdf of the press release.

Photo by Richard Hurd

Governor Walker signs Crowdfunding Bill

Wisconsin is one of the first states in the nation to allow investors to purchase equity in a company via crowdfunding. The Greater Madison Chamber supported the bill which passed quickly through the Wisconsin Legislature with strong bi-partisan backing.

The legislation creates a new class of investor titled, “certified investor,” defined as a Wisconsin resident with a minimum net worth of $750,000 or minimum annual income of $100,000.  In addition, it creates new securities exemptions related to transactions originating from not more than 100 Wisconsin residents, excluding institutional, accredited and certified investors.  To qualify, the issuing business must have its principal office in Wisconsin and the majority of its full-time employees must work in the state.  Business could raise up to $2 million with an audit and up to $1 million without one.

Certain disclosures must be made to these investors and purchasers are required to acknowledge that investment losses may exceed the total investment under some circumstances.  In addition, stock purchases for Wisconsin residents who are not accredited, certified or institutional investors are capped at $10,000.

Photo by Richard Hurd

LGBT, Greater Madison Chambers Partner to Ask Rep. Pocan to Help LGBT Angel Investors

MADISON – The Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce have joined together to advocate for a change to a Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) rule to provide an equal opportunity for LGBT investors to participate in startups.

In a joint letter sent to Representative Pocan this afternoon, the Chambers ask the congressman to urge the SEC to revise Rule 501 of Regulation D so that individuals in civil unions, domestic partnerships, and similar relationships can have the same right and opportunity to qualify for accredited investor status as married persons have.

“We understand the important role that startups have to play in creating jobs and new opportunities,” said Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jason Rae. “We want to ensure that all individuals are given an equal opportunity to invest and help grow our nation’s economy.”

“Discrimination of any kind impedes growth,” said Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce President Zach Brandon. “This simple revision sends the right message. Whether you are a startup investor or a founder, your financial investment will be treated equally under the law.”

The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce and the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce look forward to working with Congressman Pocan to ensure that this rule is addressed as efficiently as possible. A copy of the letter is attached to this release.

The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce has more than 1,300 members, and the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce, represents more than 100 LGBT-owned and allied businesses and organizations from around the state.

Contact:
Jason Rae, (414) 678-9275, jason@wislgbtchamber.com
Jo-ell Carson, (608) 443-1952, jcarson@greatermadisonchamber.com

Click here for an electronic copy of the press release.
Click here for an electronic copy of the letter to Rep. Pocan.

 -30-