Economic Development

Kikkoman Groundbreaking in Wisconsin

In a spectacular event showcasing collaboration and growth, Kikkoman Foods Inc. recently broke ground on a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Jefferson, Wisconsin. This significant event marks another milestone in the longstanding relationship between Kikkoman and the state of Wisconsin.

Why is This Groundbreaking Important?

This groundbreaking ceremony was not just another corporate event; it was a testament to decades of mutual trust and cooperation. The new facility represents a major investment of more than $800 million, including a $560 million investment in Jefferson and an additional $250 million expansion at Kikkoman’s existing facility in Walworth. Governor Tony Evers, along with Kikkoman Chairman and Honorary CEO Yuzaburo Mogi, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes, and other local leaders, gathered to celebrate this remarkable step forward.

“Today’s events are a watershed moment in Wisconsin’s relationship with a global brand like Kikkoman,” said Gov. Evers. “The strong connection between Wisconsin and Japanese businesses like Kikkoman has been instrumental in driving Wisconsin’s economic growth, bolstering innovation, and creating valuable employment opportunities.”

The Impact on Southcentral Wisconsin

The new facility in Jefferson is set to create at least 83 high-paying jobs over the next 12 years. This is a significant boost for local employment and economic development. The facility will also serve as a model of modern, highly automated food manufacturing, contributing to Wisconsin’s burgeoning reputation as a hub for food and beverage innovation.

“The site selection process is incredibly competitive and Kikkoman’s choice to establish roots in Jefferson County underscores the county’s reputation as a prime destination for food and beverage manufacturers,” said Deborah Reinbold, President of Thrive Economic Development. “Transformative projects of this magnitude require the dedication and cooperation of many, and this success is a testament to our collective efforts.”

MadREP VP of Economic Development Everett Butzine amplified her sentiments, stating, “Supporting our county partners at Thrive through the site selection process has been profoundly gratifying. At MadREP, we are fortunate to collaborate with such outstanding county partners.”

Jefferson Mayor Dale Oppermann emphasized the importance of Kikkoman’s investment by stating, “Kikkoman’s decision to invest in Jefferson underscores the strength and appeal of our local food and beverage niche. We appreciate the trust Kikkoman has placed in our community and look forward to a long, prosperous partnership.”

Role of Regional Economic Development

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has been a pivotal player in facilitating this investment. WEDC will award up to $15.5 million in performance-based tax credits to support Kikkoman’s expansion efforts. “WEDC is pleased to support Kikkoman’s growth in our state and the bright future it promises for our communities,” said Missy Hughes, Secretary and CEO of WEDC.

The collaborative efforts between state and local governments, economic development agencies, and private enterprises underscore the importance of regional economic development in fostering large-scale investments. These partnerships are crucial for attracting and retaining global businesses, which in turn drive job creation and economic growth.

Economic Partnership with Japan

Japan has long been a significant partner for Wisconsin, both economically and culturally. There are currently 81 Japanese companies with over 224 operations throughout the state, creating approximately 9,000 jobs. Since 2013, Japan has invested over $2.6 billion in Wisconsin, making it the second-largest investor in the state after Canada.

Governor Evers’ recent participation in the White House State Dinner in honor of Prime Minister Kishida Fumio further highlights the deep-rooted economic ties and the mutual benefits derived from such partnerships. This solidifies Wisconsin’s role in fostering international economic relationships and underscores the state’s commitment to maintaining and growing these valuable connections.


The Kikkoman groundbreaking ceremony in Jefferson is more than just the start of constructing a new facility; it marks a new chapter in Wisconsin’s economic story. With substantial investments, job creation, and the continuous support from regional economic development entities, Kikkoman’s expansion promises a brighter future for Southcentral Wisconsin.

If you’re keen on learning more about how investments like these can impact local economies or are interested in exploring business opportunities in Wisconsin, our team of experts is here to help. Contact us today to discover how we can assist you in navigating this dynamic economic landscape.

Ignite Your Passion for Excellence with LeRoy Butler at the 2024 Madison Region Economic Development & Diversity Summit

The 2024 Madison Region Economic Development & Diversity Summit is set to kick off with an electrifying start, as we proudly announce LeRoy Butler, former Green Bay Packer and NFL Hall of Famer, as our inspirational morning keynote speaker. Butler’s journey from humble beginnings to achieving legendary status in the NFL is a testament to the power of resilience, hard work, and the unyielding spirit of teamwork. His story is not just one of personal triumph but a blueprint for overcoming adversity, embracing diversity, and fostering an environment of inclusivity and success.

LeRoy Butler’s name resonates beyond the football field; it symbolizes a beacon of hope and determination for many. Rising from challenging circumstances in Jacksonville, Florida, Butler’s early life was marked by significant hurdles, including physical disabilities that could have sidelined his dreams from the outset. Yet, through sheer grit and an indomitable will, he not only conquered these obstacles but also carved a niche for himself in the annals of football history, playing his entire illustrious career with the Green Bay Packers (LeRoy Butler Inc).

Butler’s contributions to the sport include the creation of the iconic “Lambeau Leap,” a symbol of victory and community connection that endears him to fans worldwide. However, his impact extends far beyond the gridiron. As a speaker, Butler engages with diverse audiences, ranging from youth groups to corporate leaders, sharing messages of perseverance, leadership, and the critical importance of diversity and inclusion in achieving collective goals (LeRoy Butler Inc – Speaking Engagements).

His dedication to uplifting communities and fostering environments where diversity and equity are celebrated has been evident through his participation in various initiatives, including delivering keynote addresses at significant events like the Diversity Equity Inclusion (DEI) Conference. This engagement underscores his commitment to advocating for inclusive practices across different spheres (United Against Hate).

At the summit, attendees can look forward to an inspiring session with LeRoy Butler that promises to energize, motivate, and offer invaluable insights into turning adversities into opportunities. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a business leader, or someone looking to make a positive impact in your community, Butler’s keynote will equip you with the mindset and strategies needed to excel and inspire those around you.

Don’t miss this opportunity to be part of an unforgettable experience that will set the tone for a day of learning, networking, and growth. Reserve your tickets now for the 2024 Madison Region Economic Development & Diversity Summit and prepare to be inspired by the remarkable journey of LeRoy Butler. Together, let’s embrace the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion to drive economic development and foster a more inclusive society.

Reserve your spot today: 2024 Madison Region Economic Development & Diversity Summit Tickets

Join us for an event that promises not just to enlighten but to inspire action towards creating a brighter, more inclusive future for all.

Unlock the Potential of Diversity and Inclusion with Michele Ghee at the 2024 Madison Region Economic Development & Diversity Summit

In today’s rapidly evolving global market, diversity and inclusion are not just buzzwords—they are essential pillars for innovation, growth, and competitive advantage. Recognizing this critical need, the 2024 Madison Region Economic Development & Diversity Summit is proud to announce Michele Ghee as one of our esteemed keynote speakers.

Michele Ghee is a trailblazer in the realms of business development, diversity, and media. With an illustrious career that spans over various leadership roles, including her current position as the Chief Executive Officer at Expectant Media, Michele has consistently leveraged diversity and inclusion to drive business success. Her transformative work in developing EGM, the cultural marketing arm of Endeavor, showcases her unparalleled ability to bring in new business through inclusive strategies.

Ghee’s insights on diversity, inclusion, and business development have been recognized and celebrated across numerous platforms. She has been featured in prestigious publications and has shared her wisdom at significant events, making her an influential voice in the conversation around diversity and inclusion in business (

At the summit, attendees will have the unique opportunity to hear from Michele Ghee firsthand. Her keynote address promises to be a deep dive into how organizations can genuinely embrace diversity and inclusion—not just as moral imperatives but as core drivers of innovation, creativity, and profitability. Ghee’s perspective is particularly relevant as businesses strive to navigate the complexities of today’s economic landscape while fostering an environment where all talents are valued and nurtured.

Moreover, Michele Ghee’s participation in significant initiatives, such as her role in the African American Philanthropy Committee and her leadership at EBONY and JET magazines, underscores her commitment to uplifting diverse voices and stories. Her achievements in driving diversity in creative industries through partnerships with platforms like ADCOLOR further highlight the breadth and depth of her expertise (Cleveland FoundationADCOLOR).

The 2024 Madison Region Economic Development & Diversity Summit is a must-attend event for leaders, entrepreneurs, and professionals across all sectors who are committed to leveraging the power of diversity and inclusion for economic growth and innovation. Michele Ghee’s keynote is just one of the many highlights of this summit, which promises to be an enriching experience filled with actionable insights and strategies.

Don’t miss this chance to be inspired and informed by one of the most influential voices in the field of diversity and inclusion. Reserve your tickets now and join us for a transformative experience that will empower you to lead your organization towards a more inclusive and prosperous future.

Reserve your tickets here: 2024 Madison Region Economic Development & Diversity Summit

Embrace the opportunity to shape the future of your organization and the broader economic landscape. We look forward to welcoming you to an event that promises to redefine the paradigms of leadership, diversity, and economic success.

Tickets Now on Sale: Secure Your Spot at the 2024 Madison Region Economic Development & Diversity Summit

The Urban League of Greater Madison together with the Madison Region Economic Partnership is thrilled to announce that the 2024 Madison Region Economic Development & Diversity Summit is officially open for registration. This premier event, set to take place on May 2, 2024, at the Monona Terrace Convention Center in downtown Madison, promises to be an unforgettable day filled with inspiring speakers, innovative ideas, and unparalleled networking opportunities.

The summit stands as the Madison Region’s leading gathering of business and community leaders dedicated to pushing the boundaries of workplace and economic inclusion. It’s more than just a conference; it’s a movement towards creating a more inclusive, diverse, and prosperous region for all.

Why You Should Attend

This year’s summit boasts an impressive lineup of keynote speakers and panelists who are at the forefront of their respective fields. Attendees will have the privilege of hearing from:

  • Michele Thornton Ghee, Business Transformation Visionary and former CEO of Ebony & Jet Magazine, will share her insights on leadership and innovation in media and business.
  • LeRoy Butler, Pro Football Hall of Famer and motivational speaker, will inspire with stories of overcoming adversity and achieving greatness.
  • Matthew Kures, Community Economic Development Specialist and Researcher, will provide valuable data and analysis on regional economic development.
  • Brian “Woody” White, Technology Executive, will delve into the impact of AI on society, jobs, and particularly its implications for communities of color.

These featured speakers, among many other compelling presenters to be announced, guarantee a day rich in knowledge, inspiration, and actionable insights.

What to Expect

The day kicks off with a continental breakfast and networking session, offering a great opportunity to connect with other forward-thinking individuals from across the eight-county Madison Region. Following this, attendees can look forward to:

  • An opening keynote presentation by LeRoy Butler that is sure to motivate and energize.
  • A variety of engaging breakout sessions covering topics ranging from artificial intelligence to entrepreneurship, allowing participants to tailor their summit experience to their interests and professional needs.
  • A luncheon keynote presentation by Michele Thornton Ghee, offering a deep dive into the world of business transformation and media.

Beyond the plenaries and sessions, the summit provides ample opportunities for networking with business, government, nonprofit, and community leaders.

Register Now

With individual and group registration options available, securing your spot at the 2024 Madison Region Economic Development & Diversity Summit has never been easier. Whether you’re attending on behalf of an organization, with a sponsor or special code, or as an individual eager to learn and connect, now is the time to act. Spaces are limited, and you won’t want to miss out on what promises to be the most impactful summit yet.

Your registration includes access to all keynote presentations, breakout sessions, continental breakfast, lunch, and countless opportunities to network and collaborate with peers and industry leaders.

Be Part of the Change

The 2024 Madison Region Economic Development & Diversity Summit is not just an event; it’s a catalyst for change. It’s an opportunity to be part of a collective effort to drive economic growth and promote diversity and inclusion in the Madison region.

Don’t miss this chance to contribute to meaningful conversations, connect with like-minded professionals, and gain insights that could shape the future of your career or business. Reserve your spot today and join us in making a difference.

Click here to register now and secure your spot at the summit.

Let’s come together to envision and build a more inclusive, diverse, and economically vibrant Madison region. See you on May 2, 2024!

Public Comment Period: Madison Region CEDS Draft

This document, draft Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Elevate: Madison Region, is a work-in-progress and not a final version.

The information contained within is subject to change based on new data being collected from our external partners and ongoing analysis by our team.

We are actively seeking input from the public and are committed to incorporating this feedback into the final strategy. We believe that community input is vital to shaping a robust and effective Economic Development Strategy.

Please note that while we strive for accuracy, due to the dynamic nature of the data and the fact that it is still being collected, there may be updates or modifications in the final version. We appreciate your understanding and patience during this process.

We encourage you to share your thoughts, ideas, and concerns regarding this draft. Your feedback will play an essential role in refining and finalizing this strategy.

Please use this survey to provide your comments by 5:00 PM on February 12, 2024. Thank you for your participation and contribution towards building a stronger economic future.