Dec 9, 2019

Brookings Proposal Could Mean Boost in Funding for Madison Region

Source: Brookings

Report Calls for 10-year, $100 Billion Federal Investment in “Heartland” Tech Centers

MadREP joins with Governor Tony Evers in urging Wisconsin’s congressional delegation to give careful consideration to a new proposal that would provide up to $100 billion over the next 10 years to fund technological entrepreneurship and innovation in up to 10 so-called “heartland” states.

A report released today by the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) notes the growing economic gap between a handful of highest technology, highest R&D “superstar” metropolitan areas, mostly located on the east and west coasts, and the rest of the country.

The report calls for federal funding of up to $10 billion annually over the next 10 years to advance “eight to 10 new regional growth centers across the heartland.” The federal money would include increased support for institutions of higher education, workforce development, and potential tax incentives for investments in these new regional tech centers.

In a letter to Wisconsin’s members of Congress, Governor Evers noted that Madison tops the report’s list of top 20 best-positioned communities in the country to become major tech innovation growth centers.

“I believe based on the criteria the study proposes, Wisconsin is uniquely poised to lead the nation in this exciting next phase of entrepreneurship and innovation. Therefore, I urge you to give close attention to this proposal as it advances in the coming weeks and months and the potential it offers to build on our state’s strengths,” the governor wrote.

The report ranks Madison at the top of the list on the basis of university STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) spending per capita, share of residents holding at least a bachelor’s degree, and percentage of STEM doctoral degrees.

Paul Jadin, the CEO of the Madison Region Economic Partnership (MadREP), said the recognition of Madison’s status as a national leader in innovation is an honor. “Stratospheric growth in our information communications technology and biosciences sectors, combined with our economic stability as the most industrially diverse Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in the country, makes the Madison Region an ideal location for this type of investment. MadREP has pledged its support to our state, UW, and Milwaukee7 partners to do what we can to assist Brookings and ITIF in advancing the concept.”

The Madison Region’s strengths, which line up well with the Brookings criteria, include having:

  • An economic development strategy, Advance Now 2.0, that features a wide array of partners and a collaborative framework to both coordinate and capitalize on the type of investment proposed by Brookings.
  • A strong educational infrastructure, including STEM focus in the state’s K-12 schools, at the University of Wisconsin System’s flagship campus, and in the Wisconsin Technical College System.
  • High-tech businesses like Google, Exact Sciences and Zendesk with connections to “superstar” metros but choose to grow locations within the Madison Region.
  • Support from the state’s major corporations to capitalize on technology and innovation as economic differentiators. Madison has significant corporate investments in its tech startup ecosystem and is home to a growing number of corporate venture capital funds.

MadREP wholeheartedly concurs with the Governor’s message articulated in today’s letter, “our state has the infrastructure, institutions, and most of all, the relationships and commitment to turn this idea into a successful reality,” he said. “The courage to enact this sort of bold initiative will not just support the communities that receive funding, but will serve to strengthen Wisconsin and the nation as a whole and support our position on an increasingly competitive world stage.”

For Further Information:

Jessica Reilly