The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and the Milwaukee Water Council announced the launch of the Global Freshwater Seed Accelerator program – a first-of-its-kind accelerator for water technology startups.
Based in Milwaukee, the accelerator will be managed by the Milwaukee Water Council and funded by WEDC.
It will provide grants of $50,000 each to six water technology startups with commercialization potential.
The six-month accelerator program begins Sept 1, 2013. Selected startups will receive:-
- Space in the Water Council Technology Building aka the “Global Water Center” in downtown Milwaukee;
- Business model and operations training through the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Institute for Water Business;
- Access to faculty and students with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s (UWM) School for Freshwater Sciences; and
- Mentorship from dozens of area water technology experts, and access to investment capital funding sources.
“The seed accelerator program will bring global inventor-entrepreneurs to our Milwaukee water center, where they will find local expertise, resources and support to get their company started,” said Rich Meeusen, co-chair of Milwaukee Water Council and chairman, president and CEO of Badger Meter. “We expect that when they experience firsthand the value of locating in the global center of the industry, they will opt to permanently establish their company in Wisconsin.”
Startups will be selected based on multiple criteria, including commercialization potential, compatibility with existing companies, and long-term interest in growing in Milwaukee.
The grants provided will fund startup costs, including lab supplies, research and product development expenses, and professional services.
The startups will also have the ability to work with international water technology leaders located in the building, including A. O. Smith, Badger Meter, Grundfos Pumps, Sloan Valve and Veolia Water.
The Global Water Center is also being used by the City of Milwaukee as a catalyst to jumpstart redevelopment of the adjacent 17-acre Reed Street Yards property into a water technology business park.