Regional Roundup

Posted on Nov 1, 2016 :: Up Front
Sean P. Johnson
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

» Interstate 41 Corridor

Brown, Calumet, Outagamie, Winnebago, Fond du Lac Counties

Greater Oshkosh Capital Catalyst Fund to help startups

Oshkosh entrepreneurs will soon have some additional resources to help launch new businesses and products.

The City of Oshkosh reallocated $125,000 from the Greater Oshkosh Revolving Loan Fund, a fund managed by the Greater Oshkosh Economic Development Corporation, and matched those dollars with an award of $125,000 from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s Capital Catalyst Program to establish a fund of $250,000. Loans, grants and equity positions are all viable awards from the Greater Oshkosh Capital Catalyst Fund.

“This fund is the first of its kind in Winnebago County, the I-41 Corridor and Northeast Wisconsin. Greater Oshkosh’s economic development success is predicated on helping our existing businesses grow and showing our entrepreneurs that they are well-supported here in the Fox Valley,” says Jason White, CEO of the Greater Oshkosh Economic Development Corporation.

The new fund will add to the resources already in place through University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh programs such as AeroInnovate and InventureXcel, the Alta Resources Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Fox Valley Technical College’s Venture Center.

The Greater Oshkosh Capital Catalyst Fund is focused on, but not limited to, assisting startups in advanced manufacturing, agriculture, food processing, aviation/aerospace, IT/software development, medical devices, biosciences and energy. Funds will not be used for restaurant, real estate, hospitality or retail development.

Schneider National announces IPO

Schneider National has announced it will go public in 2017.

The trucking company, which has its headquarters at 3101 Packerland Drive, says it will make an initial public offering of common stock next year, “subject to satisfactory market conditions.” In a news release, the company said the goal is to allow Schneider family members to retain controlling interest of the company while continuing to be run by professional management.

The $4 billion company is Brown County’s fourth-largest employer, according to the Greater Green Bay Chamber’s May 2016 survey. It listed 2,633 employees working in the county. Schneider has more than 18,000 employees worldwide.

Schneider is one of the nation’s largest trucking companies. Its services include regional, long-haul, expedited, dedicated, final mile, bulk, intermodal, brokerage, cross-dock logistics, supply-chain management and port logistics.

The company has 166 facilities worldwide, including in the United States, Canada, Mexico and China. It operates more than 10,000 trucks, 33,000 trailers and 17,700 intermodal containers. Schneider National also operates 6.5 million feet of warehouse space.

“The objectives of the planned transaction are to facilitate continuity of controlling ownership of Schneider by the future generations of the Schneider family, while continuing forward with its long-standing, independent, and professional, corporate governance structure,” the company said Oct. 7. “This transaction will allow the company to continue its commitment to Wisconsin and the community, and to maintain further investments in its long-term positioning.”

Schneider said it would file a registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission detailing plans for what is likely to be the largest trucking IPO since Swift Transportation went public in 2010 in an $806 million offering.

» The Northwoods

Florence, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto Counties

Engine wins ‘Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin’

In the end, maybe a littoral combat ship is just too big to be considered cool.

When the final votes for Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce’s Coolest Things Made in Wisconsin contest were tallied, the big ships from Marinette fell to the fat bikes of Harley-Davidson. The three finalists, which also included Johnsonville Brats from Sheboygan Falls, were announced in September.

Voting took place online and the results were announced in mid-October.

“This was a classic Wisconsin battle of bikes, brats and boats, and the bikes won in fierce online voting,” said Kurt R. Bauer, WMC president/CEO. “We are the premiere manufacturing state in the nation and the nearly 300 nominees for the award is a testament to the strength of our manufacturing sector and the prowess of our manufacturing heritage.”

Harley-Davidson’s new Milwaukee-Eight engine, which powers the company’s iconic motorcycles, defeated Johnsonville Brats and Marinette Marine’s littoral combat ships to claim the coveted prize of “The Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin.”

In September, more than 20,000 votes were cast for the nominees. Every product received a vote, and more than 30 products received hundreds of votes.

» West Central

Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara, Marquette, Green Lake Counties

Ripon seeks to boost entrepreneurial class

Business leaders in Ripon have teamed up to offer advice and potential funding to entrepreneurs seeking a boost to get their businesses off the ground. 

The Ripon Entrepreneurial Development Program will cover topics such as Research, Marketing, Organizational Matters, Financial Planning and Projections, and Managing Growth, culminating with the creation of a comprehensive business plan for each participant. Participants will meet weekly to gain the knowledge and skills to create a plan for the success of their business.

The new program, a partnership formed by several Ripon groups and businesses, will be hosted by Ripon Main Street, Inc. The course runs from early November until mid-December and will guide entrepreneurs through a step-by-step approach to writing a professional business plan. The course is designed for those who are considering starting a business, but it can also benefit existing businesses that are interested in expanding.

All of the completed plans are automatically entered into a contest for the best business plan, with a $1,000 cash award for the first successful concept. Successful business plans also will qualify for a $35,000 low-interest loan from the Ripon Revolving Loan Fund.

» The Lakeshore

Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan Counties

Manitowoc region tests new business app

Economic and business leaders in Manitowoc have teamed with a Madison startup to introduce a new app aimed at offering discounts at local businesses while also gathering valuable market data.

The free Cheddah app — available on Apple and Android devices — provides coupons to nearby businesses based on the user’s location in exchange for answering a set of market research questions. The effort is designed to generate traffic for local businesses while also gathering valuable data about a range of topics, from consumer habits to opinions on economic development and local issues.

Manitowoc County is serving as a pilot market for the app, which was designed by the Madison startup GetCheddah. Peter Wills, executive director at Progress Lakeshore, says the project is part of a larger effort aimed at addressing how to attract visitors and new residents to the Manitowoc area.