From the President

A Letter from the President: April 2015

We look forward to seeing many of our members at our April membership meeting as we hear from Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and hear updates from our Scale Up Milwaukee initiative.

We’ve come a long way from the initial visit that Shel Lubar set up to Babson with UWM leadership to explore how to grow entrepreneurship and scale companies in Milwaukee. Since then, with Shel’s leadership and dedication and strong support from GMC chair and economic development committee co-chair Ted Kellner, we have launched and taken to Phase II our Scale Up Milwaukee initiative. Thank you also to our key partners – the WEDC, American Express OPEN, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the City of Milwaukee and WHEDA.

Scale Up Milwaukee recently hosted its finale on March 20th, featuring the graduating class and many supporters. The Scalerator, a six-month program taught by Babson faculty members, is open to select businesses in the Milwaukee region poised for rapid growth. The companies have a total revenue of nearly $38,000,000 and anticipate growth of up to 50% over the next year, and plan to hire more than 150 new employees in 2015!

These are huge numbers, not just for the companies participating in the Scalerator, but for our region as a whole. This shows that Milwaukee is on the cusp of major job and economic growth; Scale Up Milwaukee is just one way of encouraging that growth and supporting companies in their efforts to hire more people and grow their businesses.

The Scalerator Finale featured presentations from three Scalerator companies – Brilliance Business Solutions, Scathain, and Telcom & Data- who, along with nine other Scalerator graduates, will be on hand at the Scalerator Village preceding Monday’s membership meeting from 11:30-noon to share their success stories. Prominent community members, including Mayor Tom Barrett and Park Bank president and Scale Up Milwaukee co-chair David Werner, were also vocal in their support of Scale Up Milwaukee at the finale.

We hope you will join us before the April membership meeting on Monday, April 13th, from 11:30-noon to meet some of the dynamic individuals representing companies that are shaping the growth of our region.

Sincerely,

Julia Taylor
President
Greater Milwaukee Committee

A Letter from the President: March 2015

At the Greater Milwaukee Committee’s annual meeting in February, members heard from former Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak. His visit came at an opportune time for Milwaukee and the GMC, as we wait for the results of the arena discussions and prepare for the first official meeting of the newly-formed GMC Downtown Task Force.

One of the key takeaways from R.T.’s presentation is the need to have an overarching, long-term vision for downtown. We, as the GMC, must ask ourselves: what could downtown Milwaukee look like? What needs could it serve? Instead of looking at our city plot by plot, it’s time to look at it as a whole which is perhaps greater than the sum of its parts.

Over the next three years, we have a series of unique pivotal opportunities impacting our downtown, including $2 billion in private development, the new lakefront gateway, the Milwaukee Bucks arena, the redevelopment of West Wisconsin Avenue and the creation of a modern streetcar transit system.

The GMC recognizes the importance of active business and civic leadership and support during this critical time. Important policy decisions will be made that will define our regions for decades.

With this in mind, the GMC created the Downtown Task Force to provide thoughtful leadership and civic guidance early in the evolution of proposed civic and infrastructure projects originating from the public and/or private sector. This civic leadership group will provide input, fund research, evaluate the impact of these projects in other cities and Milwaukee, test for proof of concept, and ultimately put forward ideas and projects with in-depth knowledge and the confidence of the GMC to the general public in partnership with our public officials. The GMC pledges its support to the advancement of downtown and to provide civic and business input to promote economic vitality.

The committee, which will meet quarterly, had its first meeting last week – the members all showed great enthusiasm. We look forward to sharing the outcomes, and thank co-chairs Alex Molinaroli, Greg Wesley and Linda Gorens-Levey for their leadership, and John Daniels for originating the idea of the committee. We know that Milwaukee is at the edge of something great, and we hope you’ll join us in being a part of the positive changes being made.

Sincerely,

Julia Taylor
President
Greater Milwaukee Committee

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